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How to be a Systems Thinker: simple steps

On , Marco Genovesi replied with an interesting contribution to my article: Minimize unintended consequences by thinking in systems.

Marco said:

 […] Sometimes, it’s quite easy to imagine the consequences of our actions, and yet we decide to ignore what common sense suggests or history has eminently taught us.
Sometimes it takes time and extensive researches. So, what’s the best way to broaden our views and increase the complexity of our system thinking without stumbling into paralysis by analysis or an exaggerated, numbing relativism?

Marco Genovesi

I share Marco’s sincere and straightforward curiosity. Being a better Systems Thinker is all nice and good but how do you manage to do it in our chaotic lives?

It was a great opportunity to try to find some direction and, here it follows

Be pragmatically curious—research questions before trying to get answers. Talk about what concerns you rather than pushing it back. Expand your network of thinking people, the more diverse, the better.

And map what surrounds you with the same passion and excitement an explorer could have on an adventure looking for the ultimate truth. Knowing that it will never end. It all sounds romantic and maybe too far-fetched. But simple things could lead the way.

  1. Ask questions. More. And listen.
  2. Capture interesting knowledge in a permanent and accessible medium.
  3. Review your thoughts and connect interesting ideas.
  4. Share your findings within your network to increase their value.
  5. Plan experiments at all levels: dining on the floor to see how the family reacts, up to taking the wrong road to office, what did you notice?
  6. Reflect on your observations and change experiments.
  7. Iterate.

It would be nice to know if any of you tried any of my suggestions. What did you learn?

What's next? Another chance.
What’s next? Another chance.
Senior Experience Designer. 25 years designing, developing, writing, speaking, facilitating and teaching.

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