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Introduction to Systems Thinking

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

  2. 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

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

  4. 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

  5. Whenever you add people to a collection you almost always transform a collection to a system

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Events Patterns Systemic Structure Mental Models Vision The Iceberg

  11. Action Model

  12. Linear Perspective AB C DE Cause = Effect

  13. Feedback Perspective AB C DE

  14. 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)

  15. All systemic behavior can be described through two basic processes • Reinforcing • Balancing

  16. Saving Balance Interest Payments Reinforcing Loops compound change in one direction with even more change in that direction

  17. Greater your weight More you eat

  18. ? ? Give Examples

  19. 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

  20. Balancing Loops Actual Level Desired Level Corrective Action Gap

  21. 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?

  22. Every link in a system contains a delay • Physical • Transactional • Informational • Perceptual

  23. Put the Pieces togetherArchetypes

  24. ? ? 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)

  25. Leaders work on the system not in the system