The RoundView was originally developed to act as a supplement to ecological design processes, to serve as a guide as to whether ecological design ideas were actually making improvements in terms of sustainability. Recently, it has been taught on permaculture courses as a way to deepen participants’ knowledge of sustainability and to help them develop skills in how to test ideas against the big picture (or how to ‘take a round view’).
The RoundView does not replace other environmental management tools, but is a supplement to support them. It can be seen as offering a compass to see if we are going in the right direction, and acts as a framework for decision making. Other environmental management tools may, for example, help in integrating processes and procedures into work practice or developing detailed ideas in particular contexts.
This is very similar to The Natural Step, a key building block for the RoundView. A difference between the RoundView and The Natural Step is that the RoundView has a set of positive Guidelines that describe what we wish to move towards, in addition to a clear idea of what we are doing that is unsustainable.
Other tools and approaches will of course be necessary when seeking to apply the understanding gained from looking at things from a RoundView point of view. The RoundView provides a frame, a language, a set of broad constraints, within which we need to apply our design and change management tools to produce innovative solutions.