Saturday, July 27, 2013

What is Systems Thinking?

"Systems thinking is a way of understanding reality that emphasizes the relationships among a system's parts, rather than the parts themselves."

Why Is Systems Thinking Important?

"Because it can help you design smart, enduring solutions to problems. In its simplest sense, systems thinking gives you a more accurate picture of reality, so that you can work with a system's natural forces... It also encourages you to think about problems and solutions with an eye toward the long view—for example, how might a particular solution you're considering play out over the long run? And what unintended consequences might it have? Finally, systems thinking is founded on some basic, universal principles that you will begin to detect in all arenas of life once you learn to recognize them."

What Are Systems?

"A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. Systems are everywhere—for example, the R&D department in your organization, the circulatory system in your body, the predator/prey relationships in nature, the ignition system in your car, and so on. Ecological systems and human social systems are living systems; human-made systems such as cars and washing machines are nonliving systems.

Most systems thinkers focus their attention on living systems, especially human social systems. However, many systems thinkers are also interested in how human social systems affect the larger ecological systems in our planet."

Systems have several defining characteristics:

• Every system has a purpose within a larger system.

• All of a system's parts must be present for the system to carry out its purpose optimally.

• A system's parts must be arranged in a specific way for the system to carry out its purpose.

• Systems change in response to feedback."

~The Systems Thinker Newsletter~

Text source: Link