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What is systems thinking? Unit 1 Tools for Systems Thinking.

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Presentation on theme: "What is systems thinking? Unit 1 Tools for Systems Thinking."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is systems thinking? Unit 1 Tools for Systems Thinking

2 Systems thinking is: A set of tools for problem solving A non-linear visual language A framework for looking at issues as systemic wholes

3 Principles of systems thinking: Thinking of the “big picture” Balancing short-term and long-term perspectives Recognizing the dynamic, complex and interdependent nature of systems

4 Principles of systems thinking (continued) Taking into account both measurable and non-measurable factors Using the knowledge that we are all a part of the system, and that we influence the system, even as we are being influenced by it

5 The “big picture” When stressed, we tend to narrow focus to the most immediate problems To discover the sources of problems requires stepping back to see more context

6 Long-term, short-term In any decision, a good approach balances best long-term options with best short-term options The key is to be aware of both long and short term impacts of any chosen strategy

7 Dynamic, complex, and interdependent conditions Because things change all the time and things are messy and everything is connected you must... Resist the tendency to oversimplify, create comforting but meaningless order, and to work on problems in isolation.

8 Measurable vs. Non-measurable Data Both kinds of data have value. Be aware that we tend to see only what we measure. Measurable data (like statistics) and non-measurable data (like morale) used together create the most robust picture.

9 We are a part of the system We play a role in the problem. The system affects us. We affect the system... and

10 We affect the system Through unintended consequences The problem plaguing us today may be an effect of yesterday’s solutions. And through assumptions Our assumptions are powerful drivers of decisions, and wrong assumptions can lead to faulty decisions.

11 We effect the system (continued) And through values and beliefs Deeply held values and beliefs can imprison us into counterproductive ways of making decisions.

12 Systems thinking as a language Emphasizes wholes rather than parts Stresses the role of interconnection Is a circular, rather than a linear, language

13 Systems thinking as a language (continued) Offers visual tools, such as causal loop diagrams and BOT graphs Opens a window on mental models to expose subtle, but meaningful, differences in our perspectives

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