Systemic Thinking

Systemic Thinking by Gary Bartlett provides a nice introduction to systemic thinking compared to analysis. Analysis is very useful however, the strong tendency to focus on only breaking apart systems to analyze components does result in missing insight into improvement opportunities (that can be gained by looking at the system as a whole).

Conventional thinking techniques are fundamentally analytical. Systemic thinking is different – it combines analytical thinking with synthetical thinking.

That tool is synthesis – seeing how things work together. Synthesis is more than putting things back together again after you’ve taken them apart: It’s understanding how things work together.

Analytical thinking enables us to understand the parts of the situation. Synthetical thinking enables us to understand how they work together.

Related: articles by Russell Ackoffblog posts on systems thinking

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