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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

Introduction to Systems Thinking

By Louis Rowitz, PhD

Director

Illinois Institute for Maternal and Child Health Leadership

slide2

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

slide3

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
Bowl of fruit

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
characteristics of a system
Characteristics of 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

characteristics of a system7
Characteristics of 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

characteristics of a system8
Characteristics of 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

systems attempt to maintain stability through feedback
Systems attempt to maintain stability through feedback
  • Feedback provides information to the system that lets it know how it is doing relative to some desired state

Steering car and Feedback

the iceberg

Events

Patterns

Systemic Structure

Mental Models

Vision

The Iceberg
linear perspective
Linear Perspective

AB C DE

Cause = Effect

feedback perspective
Feedback Perspective

AB C DE

thinking in loops
Thinking in Loops

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)

balancing loops seek equilibrium some desired level of performance

Use of meditation

Acceptable stress level

Gap

Stress level

Balancing loops seek equilibrium- some desired level of performance

S

O

S = Same

O = Opposite

S

balancing loops
Balancing Loops

Actual Level

Desired Level

Corrective Action

Gap

questions these diagrams help answer
Questions these Diagrams help answer
  • 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?
every link in a system contains a delay
Every link in a system contains a delay
  • Physical
  • Transactional
  • Informational
  • Perceptual
slide24

?

?

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)