Systems Thinking for Problem Solving

“To manage a system effectively, you might focus on the interactions of their parts rather than their behavior taken separately”. – Russell Ackoff

As organizations aspire to stay afloat in a continuously disruptive environment, there is a need to integrate business enablers to quickly adapt and transform. There is tremendous value in encouraging relationships over isolated behavior.

Looking around us we observe our actions to solve problems creating newer challenges, occasionally compromising on the previous solution. Inventions like air conditioners, plastics and combustion fuel engines have resulted in long term damage to our sustenance on this planet. Often, we are delighted with short-term results, but the long-term outcomes are not anticipated and clearly comprehended.

Drawing a parallel to the human body, lack of systems thinking approach while administering any type of therapy will result in side effects causing more illness or in some cases chronic.  Another example is commonly observed in upcoming metropolitan cities where new infrastructure developments cause bottle necks eventually compromising the solution applied.

The common definition of systems thinking is –

“Holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems”.

It is important to understand the current reality, ascertain the issues and challenges faced by the organization; and examine the measures before implementing a holistic approach. Improvements in silos is more chaotic than the original state of being.

This interconnected approach to problem solving yields better results. The business strategies should aim for synthesis of ideas to optimize the value chain rather than innovating in silos.

deepthi paliyat

Deepthi Paliyath is an experienced Scaled Agile certified coach and transformation specialist. She has successfully led agile transformations for over a decade across healthcare, insurance and banking domains and trained hundreds of professionals. She enjoys coaching & mentoring, often including her experience as an entrepreneur as well.


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