I think this is a crisp, clear and inclusive description of systems thinking.  Respect!

http://www.core77.com/blog/sustainability_in_seven/sustainability_in_7_nathan_shedroff_explains_systems_thinking_19068.asp

 

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It’s the insights that matter not the model.  It’s the better understanding of how you and others see the world, especially the ‘hidden links’ and understanding the elements with the capacity to spring an ugly surprise.  It’s knowing the bits that are really sensitive to change and the vast areas that don’t really matter.

 

That’s what system modelling offers – and most of the value lies in formulating the model itself.

 

Those have been the views from the Systems Dynamics Society (http://systemdynamics.org.uk/) annual gathering that I’ve attended over the last few days and which have come out from repeated conversations over coffee and meals.  Presentations have covered modelling of the drivers of value in a company, modelling the UK economy, modelling scenarios for the future of gold prices and mines, and modelling in support of asset management policy selection.  I’ve been surprised by the formal presentations’ emphasis on the models rather than the generation of insights.  I wonder if this is why the community collectively struggles to get wider recognition of the power of their capabilities.  On the other hand, this was a practitioner-to-practitioner talking shop.

 

Nice tools, nice case studies, excellent insights – but a pervasive sense of frustration that there’s so much more value to be realised.