Saturday, December 21, 2019

Three Perception Shifts to Deepen Understanding of Systems Thinking

 System Thinking is a tool in implementing the ultimate goal. Almost always defined with respect to a specific purpose.

Systems Thinking is about understanding interrelationships between parts and the whole. It helps digital leaders and professionals discover the interconnectivity and interdependence of the digital business ecosystem, help them get behind the "surface" validity and give them deeper insight into the nuances of why and how, and ensure that the digital business as an organic system growing and evolving with its environment in harmony. Here are three perception shifts to enforce understanding of Systems Thinking.

A shift from what a system "IS" to what it "DOES" to its context: A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole. Systems Thinking, much like the scientific method, is an approach to how we view things or nature. Systems Thinking looks at the whole picture, the interaction and relationships holistically, and involves the sequential alignment of a series of steps in already identified strategic approaches.  At a high level, Systems Thinking is an awareness of an entire system, and how changes to any part of that system impact the other parts of the system and the whole.

Fundamentally, the purpose of Systems Thinking is to solve problems and creating desirable futures. A shift from what a system is to what it does to its context is truly about applying Systems Thinking to either framing the right problem or solving it effectively. Leverage Systems Thinking to understand what a system does to its context, use the sense of reality to understand the business and solve the problems it presents us with, and make effective decisions consistently.

The essence of Systems Thinking is to observe and analyze actual patterns of interactions without the judgment of the interconnected components or systems in a particular context, in order to understand what happens objectively. Thus, Systems Thinking can be used as an effective tool to make decisions or solve problems effectively.

A shift from seeing a system as a set of interconnected components to seeing a system as a set of interwoven threads: Systems Thinking is an orderly, interconnected, and sometimes complex arrangement of principles linked to form a coherent doctrine. Systems such as digital businesses are not just a set of interconnected components, but a set of interwoven threads. In systems, networks or clusters are all about interactions and relationships. There is flexibility, abstraction, and pliability in the concept of a system and system of systems. These entities are comprised of humans, technologies, and the environment. Think of systems as nodes along a timeline, a change in each node will have some effects internally on that node but also with other nodes along the same and even other timelines.

There is also a significant shift involving universality in Systems Thinking which means it cuts across multiple approaches and methods to advocate holistic problem-solving. In reality, many people and organizations do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively or holistically, nor comprehend dynamics. Systems Thinking provides a framework and the systematic structure offers the shell within which individuals can collaborate to create transparency to problems and solve them collectively.

A shift from seeing a system via stillness to seeing a system as a state of flow, more focused on the wider indirect sociological influences: Systems Thinking involves identifying systems and studying their dynamics to identify where decisions and actions are having an adverse impact on the outcomes via consciousness, social behaviors, or business connectivity, etc. 

Systems Thinking progression is to be sensitive to emergent trends and keep balanced views, not via stillness, but through the state of the flow with the harmony of interconnectivity and interdependence. The interactions are required to maintain or be enabled in returning to a thriving condition or 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. 

Thus, it’s important to leverage Systems Thinking for gaining understanding of interconnected and interdependent components of the fluid business ecosystem, co-create shared desirable consequences, as a way of being modeling the way committed to shape patterns in doing the right things right in a world where we are all inclusive, and focus on making the wider sociological influence.

Keep in mind, System Thinking is a tool in implementing the ultimate goal. Almost always defined with respect to a specific purpose. From a business management perspective, Systems Thinking advocates the concept of “business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. It's a positive and often the tool to solve human-centric problems. You need to understand humans and how they change. All these perception shifts appears in keeping with a wider ideological shift back towards faith in our cognitive abilities to solve crucial problems systematically and making collective progress smoothly.


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