Systemic Thinking Solving Complex Problems

Systemic Thinking Solving Complex Problems-17
You can, however, try to demystify the archetypes by relating them to common experiences we all share.Here’s how you can tell you’ve gotten a handle on systems thinking: Once you’ve started to use systems thinking for inquiry and diagnosis, you may want to move on to more complex ways to model systems-accumulator and flow diagrams, management flight simulators, or simulation software.

You can, however, try to demystify the archetypes by relating them to common experiences we all share.Here’s how you can tell you’ve gotten a handle on systems thinking: Once you’ve started to use systems thinking for inquiry and diagnosis, you may want to move on to more complex ways to model systems-accumulator and flow diagrams, management flight simulators, or simulation software.

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And last, don’t worry about whether a loop is “right”; instead, ask yourself whether the loop accurately reflects the story your group is trying to depict.

Loops are shorthand descriptions of what we perceive as current reality; if they reflect that perspective, they are “right” enough. When using the archetypes, or the classic stories in systems thinking, keep it simple and general.

f you’re reading The Systems Thinker®, you probably have at least a general sense of the benefits of applying systems thinking in the work-place.

But even if you’re intrigued by the possibility of looking at business problems in new ways, you may not know how to go about actually using these principles and tools.

Systems thinking therefore allows us to make informed choices.

Systems thinking is also valuable for telling compelling stories that describe how a system works.Or you may find that adopting a systems thinking perspective and using causal loop diagrams provide enough insights to help you tackle problems.However you proceed, systems thinking will forever change the way you think about the world and approach issues.Also keep in mind that people often think that a diagram has to incorporate all possible variables from a story; this is not necessarily true.In some cases, there are external elements that don’t change, change very slowly, or whose changes are irrelevant to the problem at hand.But systems thinking is also a sensitivity to the circular nature of the world we live in; an awareness of the role of structure in creating the conditions we face; a recognition that there are powerful laws of systems operating that we are unaware of; a realization that there are consequences to our actions that we are oblivious to. As in the medical field, effective treatment follows thorough diagnosis.In this sense, systems thinking is a disciplined approach for examining problems more completely and accurately before acting.Problems that are ideal for a systems thinking intervention have the following characteristics: When you begin to address an issue, avoid assigning blame (which is a common place for teams to start a discussion! Instead, focus on items that people seem to be glossing over and try to arouse the group’s curiosity about the problem under discussion.To focus the conversation, ask, “What is it about this problem that we don’t understand?This approach includes the willingness to see a situation more fully, to recognize that we are interrelated, to acknowledge that there are often multiple interventions to a problem, and to champion interventions that may not be popular (see “The Systems Orientation: From Curiosity to Courage,”V5N9).Systems thinking expands the range of choices available for solving a problem by broadening our thinking and helping us articulate problems in new and different ways.

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