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Table 1 Summary of best principles from systems science for informing the modelling process, recommendations for action by implementation scientists and contributing thought leaders and key references

From: Enhancing implementation science by applying best principles of systems science

Best principle Recommendations Thought leader [Reference]
1. Model the problem, not the system Conduct formative research; construct models collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams Sterman [34]
2. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable Use qualitative data to derive causal relationships; be guided by deep thinking and multiple perspectives Meadows [36]
3. Leverage the utility of models as boundary objects Create modifiable and readily perceptible representations of models; build trust and agreement by representing local knowledge Black [43]
4. Adopt a portfolio approach to model building Work in parallel to develop separate but related models in diverse ways; encourage exploration with ‘flawed’ models rather than aiming for perfection Metcalf [6]