FROM DILIP MUKERJEA

"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."
Showing posts with label Peter Senge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Senge. Show all posts

Friday, March 26, 2010

UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMS THINKING

While watching the award-winning movie, 'A Beautiful Mind', a particular scene at the early stage caught my immediate attention.

In a nut shell, the movie, directed by Ron Howard, was an entertaining as well as intelligent biographical account of the life of the mathematical genius, Dr John Nash.

A group of mathematicians, including Dr John Nash (played with finesse by Russell Crowe) was hanging out at a bar. A group of young women had entered the bar. One was a beautiful blonde. She had apparently caught the men's admiring glances.

Obviously, from the men's conversations, it was clear all of them were very interested in the blonde.

That's when Dr Nash pointed out to them:

"If we all go for the blonde & block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. So, then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no one likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes for the blonde? We won't get in each other's way & we won't insult the other girls. It's the only way we all get laid."

Wow! That's what I like to call "systems thinking". The suggested approach illustrated "leverage", a vital "systems thinking" concept.

What do you think?

For me, & also to recap, "systems thinking" is a disciplined way to seeing with a wide-angle lens, talking about, as well as understanding, the dynamic relationships between things, events or situations as a whole (or holistically) so that we can make better choices & avoid unintended consequences.

"Systems thinking" is becoming increasingly relevant when dealing with even everyday challenges that occur around us.

Just as food for further thought, I like to append below OD scientist/LO pioneer Peter Senge's own description of "systems thinking":

“A cloud masses, the sky darkens, leaves twist upward, and we know that it will rain. We also know that after the storm, the runoff will feed into groundwater miles away, and the sky will grow by tomorrow. All these events are distant in time and space, and yet they all connected within the same pattern. Each has an influence on the rest, an influence that is usually hidden from view.

You can only understand the system of a rainstorm by contemplating the whole, not any individual part of the pattern.

Business and other human endeavours are also systems. They, too, are bound by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out their effects on each other. Since we are part of that lacework ourselves, it’s doubly hard to see the whole pattern of change. Instead, we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved.

Systems thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that has been developed over the past fifty years, to make the full patterns clearer, and to help us see how to change them effectively.”