Friday, April 15, 2016

“Digital Valley” Chapter 3 Introduction: System Wisdom

Wisdom is often abstract, and ST is the ability to think conceptually on the higher level. 

Systems Thinking (ST) by definition is a cognitive thinking process to embrace holism and nonlinearity. It’s a holistic, balanced, and often abstract thinking to understand things profoundly. ST is a good combination of analytical thinking and synthetic thinking, see the trees without missing the forest, quantify not just the hard data, but soft variables as well; go beyond the surface to dig through the root cause of problem arising, and take a scientific approach to explore the business and ecosystem. So it leads to wisdom by which the complex situations can be managed in a systematic way. ST is not just a science, but an art as well. It’s an interdisciplinary thought process with deep creativity in it.

Wholeness: The system is more than its parts. Out visualization of complex systems is a sphere nested within another sphere and another sphere, etc. Experienced System Thinkers are aware that all things are connected. There is flexibility, abstract, and pliability in the concept of a system and system of systems. These entities are comprised of humans, machines, and the environment. One must understand the interactions and interfaces of the defined system under consideration. Hence, System Analysis requires many forms of additional thinking: abstract, holistic, system, quantitative, objective, subjective, temporal, and critical thinking, etc. ST provides for better and more accurate understanding the overall situation and problems, and hence better defining the problems and subsequently how you should go about solving them in what sequence. It is indeed the wisdom to understand the “wholeness.” of the business and the world.


The purpose of Systems Thinking: Humans as intelligent beings have the ability to think! One might ask: What is the purpose of Thinking, what is the purpose of Systems Thinking, and what is the purpose of being a Systems Thinker? Practically, the purpose of ST is to solve problems and create desirable future. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively, holistically, nor comprehend dynamics, inductions or deductions, nor understand variables, interfaces, and interaction. ST is a holistic and integrated way of approaching situations and problems, frame the right questions, and handle the problems in a structural way. 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 value and understanding the issues.

Leveraging Systems Thinking in catching the true wisdom: ST is to understand the interconnectivity between parts and whole. Wisdom is the insightful quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, the inner quality of being wise. Wisdom is often abstract, and ST is the ability to think conceptually on the higher level. By practicing ST, contemporary leaders and workers have the better chance to grasp the true wisdom, not just “conventional wisdom,” build a good strategy, and make a sound judgment. In ST, the true wisdom often comes from “a willingness to let go accumulated traditional wisdom.” The reason people are struggling for wisdom because it means that one has to make a huge effort to get beyond rational linear thinking, learning, unlearning, and delearning all the time, because the true wisdom is transcendental knowledge which often comes through nonlinear thinking and abstract of insight by practicing ST or “out-of-box” thinking. ST advocate holism, interdisciplinarity, and versatility.


Wisdom is an umbrella term, at its best, it is the amalgamation of thought, analysis, planning, prediction of consequences, and so on. Ultimately, wisdom is all about making ‘distinctions’ between what works and what does not work in the real world. Systems Thinking definitely helps to reach and manage wisdom more systematically.


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