System Thinking

What Is System Thinking?
“Systems Thinking” is a framework for:

Looking at something as a “system” and understanding how all the components of that system contribute to achieving whatever result it is supposed to accomplish.

For example, the process of washing clothes in a washing machine depends on:

  • The type of detergent,
  • The type of fabric softener,
  • The need to operate the washing machine properly, and
  • The need to clean the washing machine drum periodically, etc. to achieve the desired result of having fresh-smelling clothes.

Why Is Systems Thinking Important?

An Example
Here’s a dialog I had with my wife that illustrates this:
Wife: I will never buy another Brand X washing machine again!
Me: Why is that?
Wife: The clothes don’t smell fresh!

What’s wrong with that picture?

People often rush to judgment like that without fully analyzing a situation. Sometimes they make a hasty assessment based on personal bias that’s not very objective. Think about it – in this situation,

  • There are many things that might cause the clothes to not smell fresh
  • So, it’s probably premature to blame the washing machine and all models of washing machines built by Brand X so quickly
  • But people do that all the time.

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