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#SystemsThinking World Users – Google Maps

February 28th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , ,

For all people interested in Systems Thinking, please don’t hesitate to join the wonderful Linked In discussion group “Systems Thinking World“: there are lots of deeply interesting and challenging discussions, fueld with passion.

Then, you might want to make you visible on the dedicated Google Map here: Systems Thinking World Users – Google Maps.

See you there!

Reblog: #SOLUTIONFOCUSED CHANGE: The word ‘talent’

Here is an excellent and well researched blog article: SOLUTION FOCUSED CHANGE: The word ‘talent’. There are reports on the fact that talent and intelligence may be grown and that confidence in this growing possibility actually make it more effective.

This is in line with other work on systems thinking and systemic therapy (from Palo Alto’s mental research institute and the work of, for instance, Gregory Bateson and Paul Watzlawick).

Of course, Solution Focus is an approach with roots in these works, so the article on this blog should not come as a surprise :-). I’m currently reading that book, by the way and created the corresponding category on the blog, because I think I’m going to invest more time in this!

What also strikes me is the link with experience. Aren’t we in the field of Constructionism? Isn’t it what the Thinking Production System (aka Toyota production System, TPS or Lean) is also all about?

  • Plan an experiment to learn something
  • Do
  • Check the result and seek to understand the results
  • Act / Adjust as a consequence

So, not only did Taiichi Ohno enforced doing and having experiences, he also enforced thinking out the results to ensure learning did occur (this is hansei in japanese). In effect, this probably raised intelligence of workers and he didn’t know it at that time (though he probably knew that people not doing things were indeed dumb, given the low opinion he had about most managers! 😉

May certainty help #PDCA and #Lean?

January 27th, 2011 Posted in Lean, Systems Thinking Tags: , , , , , ,

It occurred to me that uncertainty may hinder continuous improvement because it prevents action.

Consequently, people who are somewhat certain of their opinions are more willing to act and thus experiment and learn which are two root causes of improvement.

Of course, that implies that certain people are also willing to admit their errors when they act and things don’t happen as they expected. This is the purpose of Checking one’s actions and Adjusting if things went wrong (as in Shewhart/Deming‘s Plan-Do-Check-Adjust PDCA). (When things go well, it’s then time to turn the action into a new standard and diffuse it to whoever might benefit from it – in Lean, this is yokoten.)

Socrates said that you need to act to know if you’re right or not, for if you don’t act you’ll never know.

So, make up your mind, decide and act!

But always remember that you should be knowing just one thing: that you never know (until you act!)

How come #systemsthinking discussions diverge so often?

Pondering on the often out of topic discussions on the LinkedIn Group Systems Thinking World, I came up to this diagram during coffee with colleagues. I guess they’re not going to take coffee with me anytime soon :-/

As you can see, there are only reinforcing loops. The sole balancing loop is in fact preventing the initial topic from being further investigated. The explanation goes something as follow:

  • B1: when the initial topic is discussed, it triggers comments from people given their personal centers of interest, which of course, because the centers of interest are so different, this makes the discussion diverges, which reduces the focus on the initial topic.
  • R1: this first reinforcing loop describes the fact that the more there is divergence in the discussion, the more this triggers further personal centers of interest being mentioned in the discussion, which makes the discussion diverges further and thus make more people to react.
  • R2: Sometimes, someone in the discussion tries to come back to the initial topic, though, most often, through some personal path. So we have a new path which can trigger further comments from other personal topics of interest (I did not show that the new path, although related to the initial topic, could trigger other centers of interest – this is embedded in the new description of the initial topic; a case of fixe the fails, I think).
  • R3: the comments from different personal centers of interest increase the systems thinking view of things (provided there has been some initial interest, but even then, interest can be awaken), which reinforces the link to other centers of interest, which further the comments from different points of view. This loop somewhat describes the self-reinforcing curiosity of systems thinkers.
  • R4 shows the fact that these other centers of interest can also add to the divergence in the mind of the people participating in the discussion

Hopefully, some group rules are being researched that could help in maintaining a discussion going in the initial intended discussion (create a web place where regular summaries of the discussions could be posted, do some Dialogue Mapping, perhaps using InsightMaker which added this functionality just recently).

#systemsthinking view of lack of decision making from #management

January 18th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , ,

I had a morning coffee discussion with colleagues about some lack of commonly decision taking occurring in companies. We proposed that it might be a cultural bias of people here not to easily trust people, but I feel the system at play could be the same for every country. Only if we would develop a more thorough model, with quantitative value, we could probably have different coefficient corresponding to different cultures.

Anyway, here is the systemic diagram I came to, which you are free to comment below, of course!

The explanations Read more »

Questions we should ask ourselves to raise awareness of #systemsthinking

January 14th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags:

I’ve asked this question during december 2010. People in the systems Thinking World LinkedIn group proposed questions and then voted for them at SurveyMonkey.

I’ve finally managed to collect results and sort them based on answers to the survey. Here are they. I plan to ask these questions, top to down, during the next weeks in order to try to advance the subject on the LinkedIn group.
Comments welcomed!
Questions are ordered from most preferred to less preferred. I’ve grouped them by 5 only for clarity.

Donella Meadows: #vision is a necessity before any other #systemsthinking method (sort of #AppreciativeInquiry)

Reading through the Systems Thinking World LinkedIn Group, Gene Bellinger (SystemsWiki owner and group owner) posted the link below to a video of Donella Meadows talking about Vision.

Meadows is a renowned systems thinker whose main work is the “Limits to Growth” book about how our continuing use of non renewable resources will bring a brutal stop to our growth.

In the video posted (http://www.uvm.edu/giee/beyondenvironmentalism/Meadows.mov), Meadows talks about the very importance of always having a vision in mind before trying to do something and how this helped her discover things that she thought she wouldn’t have otherwise. Read more »

Don’t Try This At Home! Top 5 #SystemsThinking Target Areas At Work

January 6th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags:

Time for new years resolutions (for those that do them – I don’t).

Anyway, here are some nice places where you can use your Systems Thinking skills (on the Work Systems Affiliates blog).

They propose to use ST on:

  • Customer Experience
  • Cross-Functional Cooperation
  • Project Management Offices
  • Field Services Offices
  • Solution Sales Shift

Don’t Try This At Home! Top 5 Systems Thinking Target Areas At Work.

Personally, I tried to apply my newly acquirred ST skills at work to model IT Capacity Management and the corresponding pieces of the organization I work in. I used Viable Systems Model and Systems Dynamics for that. I found the exercise really interesting, but I’m still waiting for a reaction from my management (apart from “Hmm, this is interesting…”).

Funnily, WSA also advocates NOT using ST skills at home with spouses. I’ve been told the same for Lean!

Which makes me wonder what systemic situation is probably at play underneath… Hmmm

Modelling at home > increase own passion for ST > spouse feel less passion for him/herself in comparison > more resentment > more problems > more desire to model these problems > More modelling at home.

Yeeks! Reinforcing loop!

Don’t use Systems Thinking at home!

What questions do we need to ask to raise awareness of #SystemsThinking?

I recently asked this question on the LinkedIn group Systems Thinking World.

My objective was to try to conduct an Appreciative Inquiry into what works for successfully explaining and making people use Systems Thinking. Few people connected to that initial inquiry, so I went for the question above (blog post title).

I got some interesting answers that I grouped by topic and assembled into a SurveyMonkey survey.

You’re invited to participate in the survey by clicking here.

I plan to publish the results by the beginning of 2011.

Meanwhile, I wish you some happy Christmas and end of year holidays!

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