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Introduction to Systems Thinking. By Louis Rowitz, PhD Director Illinois Institute for Maternal and Child Health Leadership.

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Introduction to systems thinking l.jpg

Introduction to Systems Thinking

By Louis Rowitz, PhD

Director

Illinois Institute for Maternal and Child Health Leadership


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Systems Thinking is a way of seeing and talking about reality that helps us better understand and work with organization and communities to influx the quality of our lives.

Modified by Kim


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A system is any group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent parts that form a complex and unified whole that has a specific purpose


Which are systems and which are collections l.jpg

Bowl of fruit interdependent parts that form a complex and unified whole that has a specific purpose

Football team

Toaster

Kitchen

Database of client

Cornerstone

Tool in a toolbox

Marriage

Local public health agency

Community

Which are systems and which are collections



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Characteristics of a System transform a collection to a system

  • Systems have a purpose that defines it as a discrete entity that holds it together

    • Purpose of an automobile……

Take you from one place to the other


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Characteristics of a System transform a collection to a system

  • All parts must be present for a system to carry out its purpose optimally

    • Automobile without its spark plugs……

Car doesn’t work


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Characteristics of a System transform a collection to a system

  • The order in which parts are arranged affects the performance of a system

Automobile with the driver in the backseat and the tires in the front seat


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Systems attempt to maintain stability through feedback transform a collection to a system

  • Feedback provides information to the system that lets it know how it is doing relative to some desired state

Steering car and Feedback


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Events transform a collection to a system

Patterns

Systemic Structure

Mental Models

Vision

The Iceberg


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Action Model transform a collection to a system


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Linear Perspective transform a collection to a system

AB C DE

Cause = Effect


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Feedback Perspective transform a collection to a system

AB C DE


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Thinking in Loops transform a collection to a system

Sales are down

Marketing Promotions

Orders Increase

Sales are up

Sales are Down

Marketing Promotions

Backlogs

Marketing Promotions

(B)

Backlogs

(D)

Orders

Increase/Decrease

(C)

Sales are Down/Up

(A)



Reinforcing loops compound change in one direction with even more change in that direction l.jpg

Saving Balance processes

Interest Payments

Reinforcing Loops compound change in one direction with even more change in that direction


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Greater your weight processes

More you eat


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? processes

?

Give Examples


Balancing loops seek equilibrium some desired level of performance l.jpg

Use of meditation processes

Acceptable stress level

Gap

Stress level

Balancing loops seek equilibrium- some desired level of performance

S

O

S = Same

O = Opposite

S


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Balancing Loops processes

Actual Level

Desired Level

Corrective Action

Gap


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Questions these Diagrams help answer processes

  • Which gaps are driving our system when and by how much?

  • How accurately do we know what each of the gaps is?

  • How are we monitoring the gaps?

  • What are the different ways in which we can close the gaps?

  • How long does it take for perception to catch up to actual quality?


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Every link in a system contains a delay processes

  • Physical

  • Transactional

  • Informational

  • Perceptual


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Put the Pieces together processesArchetypes


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? processes

?

Limits to Growth Template

Balancing Loop Target

Limits or constraints

Growing action

Growth Process

?

?

Corrective Action

Limting Process

Actual performance

(that you can measure or observe, that you can see growing)



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