Thinking about the system

Systems Thinking is a way of thinking about life, work, and the world based on the importance of relationships (interconnections). Systems Thinking also provides a language and a scientific technology for understanding and dealing with complexity and change.

Systems Thinking has three aspects. These aspects can be used individually or in combination. They are:

  1. A way of thinking (paradigm) about the world and relationships. The Systems Thinking Paradigm consists of a set of principles and theories.
  2. A language for understanding change, uncertainty and complexity. The Systems Thinking language uses diagrams to explain non-linear cause and effect relationships.
  3. A methodology for modeling complex situations underlying business, economic systems, scientific, and social systems. Systems Thinking modeling tools can be used to create powerful simulation models of organizational situations such as strategy development, process design and re-engineering, and team and organizational learning. Modelling create ability to create models that address specific problems, hell to maximize capability and potentiality, leverage potential, understand variety engineering.

What exactly is a system? 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 human body, F1 racing, the ecosystem, economic and political systems. Ecological systems and human social systems are living systems oriented towards system purpose; human-made systems such as cars and washing machines are nonliving systems which are oriented towards system function.

Systems thinking is an approach to thinking that includes the interactions and interrelationships among multiple and sometimes conflicting contexts. The basic idea of systems thinking involves moving away from a reductionist approach to learning and thinking to an approach that constantly refers to the “whole” system as the fundamental point of reference.

This implies that, the performance of the system depends on how well the parts fit together, not how well they perform individually. Thus, the best parts do not necessarily make the best whole; they have to fit together (for example football team) or a country political and economic system, or a business organization.

Simple analogy: Formula 1 Racing is system (enterpise) which has specific purpose to  generate entertainment, generate revenue , encourages technological innovation by bringing to together teams (also systems that have system purpose to win as many races) that provide racing cars that have specific system function.