Describing Economic Systems

Summer 2014 | Locus Analytics

Locus Analytics is an economic research think tank pioneering the field of Systems Economics, focused on developing a model with which to study and relate all economic data. At its core Locus utilizes a structural model, categorizing the component parts of economic systems and the relationships of these parts both to eachother and to the system as a whole.

As a part of Locus Analytics' first formal coalescence of a design team, I worked to create material and methods for communicating and teaching systems economics theory.

Above: A selected set of images from a animation illustrating resource staging within the Locus model.

I also created a set of reference documents for Locus concepts, which compile classification terms and explanation. A sample page of is shown below.

Curriculum Development

At Locus, one of the main concerns about transitioning from purely think tank to a user-facing startup was teaching and communicating Locus' copious body of theory. I worked to re-design and re-structure the teaching curriculum Locus uses to train incoming interns, with the goal of using this revamped curriculum as a foundation for further currciular development.

Because Locus takes on large numbers of summer interns, I was able to compile a great deal of feedback about the existing instruction methods. From these I looked for specific insights and points for potential improvement.

I developed a plan for a teaching curriculum (workbook format) that would introduce systems economics concepts through a contructed ecosystem, while referring out to real world analysis for all practice/problems at the end of each section. This allows for narrative continuity throughout the curriculum, as well as streamlining the presentation of new concepts. This structure is shown schematically below.

Below: A stylized representation of the teaching ecosystem, and selected logos of the 'companies' present with in it.

This teaching system centers around Platypus Apparel, a company that produces bucket hats. It is highly abstracted, but each element within it is modelled on some real company or interaction. These somewhat whimsical companies and representations serve to make what can be (rather) dry information engaging and memorable.