SYSTEMS THINKING

Navigating an increasingly complex and ever faster changing world requires a systems perspective. Understanding individual phenomena as discrete objects or events is no longer enough; one must be able to see context and patterns of context.

Cities, ecosystems, economies, countries, the globe as a whole, associations, individuals, the cells of our body, and much more are systems, but what does it mean to be a system? How do these systems interact, and what does it mean for systems to become more and more complex? Can one even speak of a system as a “thing,” is it not a process? How does one view the world if it is not “things within things” but “processes within processes”?

Luckily, there are patterns that are recurring across systems and there are general features about complex, self-organizing, open systems that allow a general understanding of them.

Once you understand the world as processes within processes and see the world from a systems perspective, you become better at navigating and making decisions the world that is already out there.