19 February, 2009

Systems Thinking

. 19 February, 2009

Systems Thinking : One of the better ways to deal with our most difficult problems.

So many important problems that stalk us today are complex, involve multiple actors. These are at least partly the result of past actions that were taken to alleviate them. Dealing with such problems is notoriously difficult and the result conventional solutions are often poor enough to create discouragement about the prospects of ever effectively addressing them.
Systems thinking are one of the major tools of system analysis. The approach of systems thinking is fundamentally different from that of traditional forms of analysis. Traditional analysis focuses on individual pieces of what is being studied, whilst system thinking in contrast, focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system – a set of elements that interact to produce behavior – of which it is a part. It is a way of helping a person to view systems from a broad perspective that includes seeing overall structures, patterns and cycles in systems, rather than seeing only specific events in the system. This broad view can help a person to quickly identify the real causes of issues in organizations and know just where to work to address them.

There are many definitions of system thinking written by many authors such as Richmond (1993), Ward (1999), Senge (2000), Bellinger (2004), and Wikipedia (2005) which essentially means the same. I would quote that of Senge since this is the most relevant to what I am viewing over the nature’s system. Here in Senge’s definition of systems thinking :
"Systems thinking is the ability to understand (and sometimes to predict) interactions and relationships in complex, dynamatic systems: the kind of systems we are surrounded by and embedded in." (Senge, 2000)
One of the key benefit of system thinking is its ability to deal effectively with just these types of problems and to raise our thinking to the level at which we can create the results we want as individuals and organizations even in those difficult situations marked by complexity, great numbers of interactions, and the absence or ineffectiveness of immediately apparent solutions.
By seeing the whole system, one is able to think new possibilities that he/she had not come up with previously. The broader perspective of systems thinking creates the understanding necessary for better long-term solutions.

Site includes definitions, contextualization of the issue, issues to consider for future applications, and a bibliography of the research so far :
A well-developed approach to understanding systems thinking from a business model, this is an excellent place to start one's research. http://www.systems-thinking.org

To non systemic situations such as problems situations in which there is a high social, political and human activity component, there is the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). One of the links to SSM is http://www.12manage.com/methods_checkland_soft_systems_methodology.html

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10 February, 2009

Manners in Releasing Judgment

. 10 February, 2009

It has been years - particularly after political reform in my country - I saw people, adult, young adults and children perform anarchism in almost all aspects of life. Young adults and teenagers easily adopt what their peer leader, teachers or their idols do ; and they easily accept – sometimes blindly – what their peer leader states, judges or comments about something.
False doctrine and statements will damage their way of thinking, ruin their bright future and exploratory life that they deserve as youth. I can’t imagine what this country will turn out to be in the next few years when these kind of youth who used to be anarchy lead the country. As an educator, it is of our responsibility to educate pupils to not be tense and anarchist in judging or commenting on something which they do not comprehend very well.

There are 4 kinds of people in this world,
- Those who know that they know
- Those who know that they do not know
- Those who do not know that they know
- Those who do not know that they do not know

For teachers, it is of their moral responsibility to awaken up those who do not know by letting them know what they do not now. In the context of teacher or educator, it is the responsibility of the teachers to either transfer and share their knowledge to their pupils. However, teachers should only transfer knowledge of what he/she knows very well, the knowledge in which he/she is an expert or specialist in, within the area of his/her field.

We, as teachers should not release statements or judge on things outside our field, mainly when our statement is to be published and spread out widely. Except, of course we do this within our peers or community, for internal discussion or sharing opinion and the like. Spreading information which is not based on the deep relevant knowledge ("deep" here means deep understanding about things, comprehend the things from many different points of view), will led people to a worse understanding. We should only comment on the things which we really are expert in.

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