Saturday, November 30, 2019

System Thinking vs. Design Thinking

Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in leveraging varying thought processes to solve business problems and generate property of constituencies seamlessly.

Systems Thinking is important for the management to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole. It provides the tools and methodologies to define problems under uncertainty and offers a better and more accurate understanding of the overall business and its ecosystem. To improve the organizational maturity from functioning to delight, design is largely considered a byproduct of solid engineering discipline with an artistic touch, not just about wire frame or visual delight, As an organization's maturity about design increased, design moves from a superficial afterthought to a type of advanced thinking and real competitive business advantage.

Integrate Systems Thinking and Design Thinking to solve problems creatively and shape desirable future effortlessly: Business problems today are often complex and dynamic, you can drive mechanically thinking about a problem in normal traffic and linear logic. However, if the situation is very natural and fluid, with a lot of inter-dependencies and uncertainty, it calls for Systems Thinking to understand the interconnected business relationships and design thinking for re-imagining and creating a desirable future.

Systems Thinking helps to understand interrelationships of the large problem rather than isolating things, seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots. It’s also critical to leverage design thinking that provides a counterpoint to the analytical, to help solve problems holistically and creatively. In fact, design thinking is nonlinear and not dedicated to perpetuating the status quo.

The art, design, engineering are all interconnected, at the core of problem-solving, With "VUCA" digital new normal, it's critical to encourages different types of thinking for solving problems creatively. Business solutions need to be made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking via single dimensional lens.

Systems thinking and systematic structure provide the shell within which individuals can collaborate to manifest design and create transparency to problems: Design is uniquely challenging because the products of the creative design must fit inside very strict constraints and need to be done under extreme pressure of time, cost and functionality. In practice, there are a lot of reasons why the design results is something different than intended, like gaps existing in the design because there are no processes to handle uncertain situations, unrealistic design that could not be implemented in the organizational system.

Thus, it’s an importance of applying Systems Thinking to provide the shell for enforcing cross-disciplined understanding of nonlinearity - the scope of change and interdependent business relationships. A systematic structure is important to help apply a set of well-defined principles, leverage scientific methodologies, weight in design factors, use efficient tools, take consideration of the range of options to solve problems both creatively and systematically.

Strike the right balance of design thinking and systems thinking to manage an iterative problem-solving continuum: Design thinking is often bottom up, synthetic to build things up; Systems Thinking is usually top down and big picture driven. Systems Thinking does not need to look at the details of the design such as low-level business processes to discover patterns of behavior. It helps digital leaders and professionals discover the interconnectivity and interdependence of the digital business ecosystem, and brings balance and flexibility to manage an iterative problem-solving continuum. 

While leveraging design thinking to do actual work or solve problems, you do need to understand that those solutions may come through the back doors and side windows. It’s critical to be open minded to consider all sorts of possibilities. Always be careful about examining the potential points of engagement, rather than jumping to the “we'll fix this" mentality. You have to look at the problem domain holistically and apply the “simplicity and flexibility” principles to architect and design tailored solutions. 

Leverage Systems Thinking to understand the interdependence of the problems, explore dynamic perspectives, fresh insight, and balanced views to gain the in-depth knowledge of problems that occur, combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive solution to larger problems with less side effects. From the business management perspective, great leaders with cultural design lens ought to be concerned not only with the here and now but prayerfully with their legacy to future generations - a better future, delightful business solutions, and brighter workforce.

In the digital era with rapid change and innovation, design, when done with rigor, discipline and focused approach in the right way, can be developed into a strategic business capability rather than just a service. Systems Thinking offers a better and more accurate understanding of the overall situation and problems, and hence, better defining the problems and subsequently, how you should go about solving them and in what sequence. Thus, businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build a digital fitting workforce and leverage varying thought processes to solve business problems and generate property of constituencies seamlessly.


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