Thursday, September 3, 2015

What is the Purpose of Systems Thinking

The voice of Systems Thinking, to communicate within the spiral of conscious awareness, is a story.

Humans as intelligent beings have ability to think! One might ask: What is the purpose of thinking? Does primitive and sometimes fairly sophisticated forms of 'thinking' take place with other species or do we humans confine it to homo sapiens? What is the purpose of Systems Thinking and what is the purpose of being a Systems Thinker? Would you agree that every human mind is a complex system designed to perceive the systematized world in a systematic way, enabling it to perform the simplest of tasks to highly complex engineering?

The purpose of Systems Thinking is to solve problems and creating desirable futures. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively, or holistically, nor comprehend dynamics, induction or deduction, nor understand expensive variables, interfaces, and interactions. System Thinking can not be completely acquired from a theory, or book, or from formal schooling. System Thinking is gained via experience during professional practices. Those who find their way into Systems Thinking, or indeed to a more holistic and integrated way of approaching situations and problems, may do so because of a set of cognitive competencies, or preferences that they possess. Whether our psychological styles and preferences have come about through genetic (innate in some way) or environmental factors is an argument that pervades psychology and beyond.

System thinking can be applied to an entity. A “system” is a source of abstraction. System axioms all equate to context. Experienced System Engineers may be aware that it is all connected. There is flexibility, abstraction, and pliability in the concept of a system and system of systems. These entities are comprised of humans, machines, and the environment. In an oversimplification, one must understand the interactions and interfaces of the defined system under consideration. Your System Thinking abilities can be limited based upon the knowledge of applied system engineering axioms. Unfortunately, many have a limited understanding of complexities within integrated systems comprised of hardware, software, firmware, the human and the environment. One has to understand interfaces and interactions associated with complex systems. We cannot oversimplify thinking about failures and functions. Not everything is stochastic or probabilistic. System Analysis requires many forms of additional thinking: abstract, holistic, system, quantitative, objective, subjective, temporal (life cycle), and critical.

The true purpose of Systems Thinking is to understand and to integrate oneself into the General System. It’s the way that keeps reducing inconsistencies between the actual flows of the System, and one's understanding of the System and its flows. True Systems Thinking practitioners are those who have integrated Systems Thinking so thoroughly that they see themselves too as being already integrally in flow within the rest of the dynamics of the General System, ever alert to the other system dynamics flowing around and through them on a continuing basis. The purpose of a Systems Thinker is determined by the role she or he undertakes in the system she or he perceives as the one she or he inhabits. Who else can determine the purpose other than the systems thinker? Everyone has internal motivations that may conflict with the systems in which we purportedly operate.

Systems Thinkers are experts in helping people and team get the complete and full pictures. Once we fully understand that any act that we have made is having an effect on everything around us, we can truly understand the value and the importance of "Systems Thinking," until then many may not understand the voice of the Systems Thinkers- in order to gain insight and understanding. Within a team, observations come from different viewpoints, different mindsets, life experiences, educational backgrounds. A team must be grounded in the same value paradigm, which in turn assures the integrity of individual contributions, provides certainty of 'intentions' by individual contributors. Systems Thinking sees the essential components interconnected and interdependent, co-creating lifetimes of shared desirable consequences both intended and unintended, as a way of being modeling the way in every present moment committed to embracing uncertainty, co-leading, and shaping patterns doing the right things right in a world and universe where we are all inclusive. The systematic structure provides the shell within which individuals can collaborate to create transparency to problems. Once a state of transparency has been reached, collaboration turns into cooperation, as multiple approaches to finding solutions require efforts only guided by intentions, based on common values.

Systems Thinking is searching for meaningful relationships both within these subsystems and between them; monitoring and observing links and feedback systems. That is complex. One description of purpose, for an efficient and flexible living system is to thrive, (safe conditions, energy inputs, and reproduction), to sense objects distal or proximal, and to adapt to environmental deviations. The living system achieves this through taking the path of least resistance. Those interested in Systems Thinking are either drawn to or interested in the variability of nested interactions. The interactions are required to maintain or be enabled in returning to a thriving condition.

The voice of Systems Thinking, to communicate within the spiral of conscious awareness, is a story. Metaphors that appeal to 'common sense' understandings of situations that require solutions. ST is about agility of decision making in the unfamiliar and rapidly changing environment. Solve problems in a lasting way without creating other and more problems, or, at least, optimize the solution via understanding the trees without missing the forest.


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