THINKING IN SYSTEMS
Systems thinking is one of the most powerful tools we have to understand and change the world around us. The original application of systems thinking in organizational management and change started to evolve in the 90’s, with the need to reconfigure efficiency and productivity within organizations.
Today, many industries leverage the power of systems thinking, from healthcare to advanced technological applications. Redesigning how we can sustainably deliver products and services also requires a systems thinking approach.
This ensures that we meet human needs without negatively impacting the natural systems that sustain life on Earth.
Organizations employing a systems approach to sustainability and organizational change gain a more evolved understanding of how things are interconnected.
This helps develop creative, divergent, and effective ways to rapidly build solutions that have positive impacts.
Here are seven exciting outcomes that you gain from applying systems thinking to personal and professional activities:
Optimization: With a deeper understanding of the dynamics within a system, optimization is an emergent outcome of systems thinking. It allows organizations and individuals to take full advantage of any element within their system.
Problem Loving: Rather than avoiding complexity, systems thinking helps individuals discover the exciting opportunities that problems offer for innovation and creative development. Employees become problem lovers, not problem avoiders.
3-Dimensional Perspective: A systems approach looks at the whole organism or ecosystem, not the individual parts. This means moving beyond the siloed ‘departments’ and developing a trans-disciplinary understanding of the macro and micro in an interconnected, dynamic way. The world is not flat – developing a wholistic systems view unlocks the power of creativity.
From Linear to Circular: Human-produced systems are largely linear. We take things from nature, manufacture them into usable goods, and then dispose of them back into holes from where resources were extracted. This approach is reductive and inefficient. A systems approach allows for the circularizing of all products and services so that we design out waste and inefficiencies, plus create more value.
Failure is Fun: Since there is no blame in a system and everything is interconnected, systems thinkers get excited about discovery. This is especially true when it's learned through ‘failure,’ as it helps gain new perspectives that build our creative capacity.
Interconnectivity: Everything in nature is dynamically interconnected and interdependent, just as humans need each other for success. Creativity and productivity depend on interconnectivity, and systems thinking provides the tools to integrate this into everyday practices.
Creativity: The more you develop a dynamic understanding of the world, the more creativity your brain starts to develop. Conformity kills creativity; to overcome this crisis, systems thinking activates new neurological development and enables dynamic, divergent thinking.