Make The System Visible

219. Make The System Visible

To make decisions, we need to know where we are acting and what the consequences could be. Then, we decide to pursue our goals, choose to do some actions, or ask somebody else to perform some activities for us with the final goal of achieving what we desire or what we are required to complete.

We might have personal skills independent from the context. Intuition, expertise, or previous knowledge of similar situations may inform our decision-making capability. We definitely look to mitigate risks and avoid damage and losses even when explicitly acting for a direct benefit or a profit.

What’s the most important thing to know to make the best decision? Understanding how the system works. Such knowledge comes from having the most accurate inventory of all interactions between the system’s components. The more we know about the context, the actors, the forces, the constraints, and the boundaries of the system we are making our decisions, the more we will acquire the knowledge needed to make the best decision.

That’s why making the system visible is a design and discovery principle at the foundation of understanding how a system works and how making specific choices generates different scenarios and possible consequences.

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