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What does systems thinking mean to you?

As I continue to explore and learn about systems thinking and how to apply it to the research and development work I do, I have started a short and self-taught course with the Open University on System Thinking in Practice.

I found quite interesting the question that is posed in the introduction of the course:

What does systems thinking mean to you?

As I am formulating my answer, I read the answers of some of the previous students which I have copied below. At the same time, if you have some minutes to spare, I am really interested to hear your answer to that question.

So, over to you now: what does systems thinking mean to you?

Let me know by answering using the Leave a Reply section below the post and thank you for taking the time to answer 🙂

Here are some of the answers posted on the OU course pages:

Frances: ‘Systems thinking is important for me because it helps extend my apparently natural way of thinking, providing tools for handling the complexity more adequately and helping deepen understanding; particularly regarding interactions – where once I would have known they were there but remained unsure of quite how some were operating and affecting the basic ‘central’ scenario. Also, by understanding more of the complexity I find this aspect helps me to retain an open mind on most topics, aids reducing prejudice and helps me work to what I feel may be a more balanced viewpoint.’

John: ‘It [systems thinking] allows me to tackle problems not only in a scientific way but in a holistic way which demonstrates a caring approach to all persons at all levels connected with the problem or system(s) involved.’

Sarah Smith: ‘Systems thinking is important for me because it has given me a new and better way to view complex situations, both in organisations and personally.’

Bob Saunders: ‘I recognise the need to take a holistic view of situations in my field of expertise – project management. So many projects fail because consideration of the human element is omitted, or badly covered by the project manager. “Systems” has helped me to grapple with the complexities.’

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