Systems Thinking: Observing System Behavior
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Systems Thinking: Observing System Behavior

An Accessible Introduction to Systems Thinking by Observing System Behavior This book is an accessible introduction to Systems Thinking by observing the behavior around you. It is practical advice for you to begin using today.

About the Book

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This book is an accessible introduction to Systems Thinking by observing behavior. It is practical advice for you to begin using today. That said, it will help you prepare to learn the formal side of Systems Thinking when you are ready.

Systems Thinking is found in many different professional domains such as healthcare, education, business and many more. It has been used to build realistic goals, develop feedback controls, and manage alignment to business Vision, Mission, and Values. It has become a critical part of sustainability planning and efforts.

Your vision or perception of reality colors your opinion. Does that mean you can change your reality if you change your perception of a situation? Yes. How and why? You need to learn a way of structuring your perceptions, your observations, into an understanding of your situation. With that perspective, doors will open to alternate solutions. You become more open to another person’s perspective of a situation that gives you the tools needed to build consensus.

Change from the word "situation" to the word "system" and you are on your way to observing the consistent behavior in chaos. This is the world of Systems Thinking. Yes, it sounds complicated because the typical way of learning it is complicated. This book sets out to make learning Systems Thinking easy by introducing you to a technique of observing a system to learn its behavior, something you do each and every day.

Bench vs. Trench is a popular phrase to express the difference between learning via theory and learning from experience. This book is in the trenches. It stays in the trenches where you will accelerate building your experience. Only then will benefit from another book on theory and modeling.

This book introduces the concepts of Systems Thinking that you can apply on a daily if not hourly basis. Consultants think Systems Thinking is a project with the goal of building a model. Danella Meadows, one of the leading voices in Systems Thinking, suggested simply "Thinking in Systems". Changing how you view the world from a systems perspective will help your career.

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
      • Introduction
      • Understand
      • Insight
      • Predict
      • But how?
      • Growing into Systems Thinking
      • Insightful Observing
      • The Big Picture
      • Many Schools
  • The Fundamentals
      • See the Whole World
      • Elements: It’s What’s Related
      • Interconnections
      • Interactivity
      • What is a system?
      • Function or Purpose
      • Boundaries
      • Behavior, Function, Boundaries
    • The Devil in the Details
      • Open vs. Closed
      • Emergent Behavior
      • Iceberg: Normal Behavior?
      • Bounded Rationality
      • Making a model
  • Introduction to Modeling
    • Observe First
      • Causal Loop Diagrams
      • Stock and Flow Diagrams
      • Sand on Road
      • Levers of change, Places to Intervene in a System

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