Systems and complexitySystems thinking and modelling

Applied Understanding: Victims of the System or Systems of the Victim [Systems thinking & modelling series]

This is part 18 of a series of articles featuring the book Beyond Connecting the Dots, Modeling for Meaningful Results.

American business is in its seventh decade of management fads. In some organizations the fads have worked, in most they have not, and in some they have even made matters worse. Many reasons have been advanced for the failure of fads; none of them quite complete. The fault lies not with the fads, but with our attempt to use them to change things for which we have insufficient understanding.

Experience has taught us well to react to events and to respond to patterns of behavior. Yet, there is a deeper level of understanding possible. An understanding on the level of structure. There are underlying structures responsible for the patterns of behavior and the events. Our lack of awareness of these structures often makes us the victim of them, even though many of the structures are of our own creation. The structures are not hidden, they are simply not obvious. We have never developed a way to see and understand the structures we operate within. Once we become aware of structures, know how to look for them, and understand them, they become readily apparent all around us. A “Home Heating System” will be used to demonstrate how easy it is to be caught in our own short shortsightedness.

Interactive model: Home Heating System

How an understanding of a home heating system improves our ability to deal with dilemmas.

Home Heating System

Need help? See the Model instructions

Yes, we’re being very redundant though the message we’re trying to convey is essential. Models are a critical component of developing understanding and we have to keep asking AND? And what else is happening here that’s relevant and essential to include for the understanding we’re trying to achieve?

Next edition: Applied Understanding: Managing Time in Time Management.

Article sources: Beyond Connecting the Dots, Insight Maker. Reproduced by permission.

Header image source: Beyond Connecting the Dots.

Scott Fortmann-Roe and Gene Bellinger

Scott Fortmann-Roe, creator of Insight Maker, and Gene Bellinger, creator of SystemsWiki, have written the innovative interactive book "Beyond Connecting the Dots" to demystify systems thinking and modelling.

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