Friday, September 7, 2018

Systems Thinking: 4 Resources to Get Started

Photo by Jayden Wong on Unsplash

Just getting these sources organized (in no particular order) and out there 
#1) Seeing Whole Systems (video) — (Nick Liow)
  • really starts @ ~19:00 min
  • Reinforcing (positive) loop vs. Balancing (negative) loop — 21:19
  • Chaos — 23:19
  • Attractors — 26:51
  • Emergence as term — 43:49
  • Elements of emergence (selection via positive & negative feedback loops, variation via chaos, dense network of interactions — 49:34
  • Importance of increasing variation — 51:40

#2) Systems One: An Introduction to Systems Thinking — Draper L. Kauffman, Jr.
5 categories of systems: mechanical, human/mechanical, biological, ecological, social
10 characteristics of complex systems: self-stabilizing, goal-seeking, program-following, self-programming, anticipation, environment modifying, self-replicating, self-maintaining an repairing, self-reorganizing, self-programming
28 rules of thumb for systems, including:
#2 You can never do just one thing
#9 Nothing grows forever
#10 Don’t fight positive feedback; support negative feedback instead
#11 Don’t try to control players, change the rules
#13 There are no simple solutions
#18 Every solution creates new problems
#28 Foresight always wins in the long run

#3) How Complex Systems Fail — Richard I. Cook
18 explanations, including:
#1 Complex systems are intrinsically hazardous systems.
#5 Complex systems run in degraded mode.
#7 Post-accident attribution to a ‘root cause’ is fundamentally wrong
#10 All practitioner actions are gambles.
#18 Failure free operations require experience with failure

Places to Interview in a System (in increasing order of effectiveness)
12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards).
11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.
10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures).
9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change.
8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against.
7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops.
6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information).
5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints).
4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.
3. The goals of the system.
2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.
1. The power to transcend paradigms.