Short intro to Systems Thinking LO2282

Mon, 31 Jul 1995 07:43:10 -0500

Replying to LO2255 --

Hi....I do a brief intro to Systems Thinking and include the following
(all accompanied by transparencies....some with humor...if you would like
a copy of the transparencies, please let me know...)

--what is systems thinking?
--how do I apply it?
--how do I know I am thinking systemically?
--what is in it for me?

Essentially, it is a "what is it, why use it and application of it" kind
of thing. Because my work is in health care, (psychiatry primarily) I
spend some time likening the process to psychoanalytic thought and also
bring in the relationship to physics and a "quantum" notion of the

I find that suggesting reading Senge (Wheatley, Quinn, Capra...) helps
before or after the introduction and also a conceptual framework of an
organization in terms of functions and services as opposed to "management"
hierarchy....for exercies, I use the "right answer exercise".....(5-6
geometric shapes posing to the participants a question as to which one
does not belong....differs from the others) and also the PDC(s)A card are probably familiar with both of these. Also, a looping
exercise is helpful....hooked on heroics is readily recognized and I use a
cartoon about a person waiting for a bus and becoming impatient and
complaining about the services, leaving the bus stop only to have the bus
arrive shortly thereafter complaining about no's a great
looping exercise clearly demonstrating the action/reaction/proaction/
reinformcing and balancing and delay paradigm. Let me know if you want
more from me...happy to share....Myrna

>>> Mathew Jacob <> 07/28/95 01:15am
Folks, This msg. comes your way from Mauritius - and to help those who
might be rushing for their atlases - we are off the East African coast -
and you may need a rather large map to find as the whole country is just
1800 square km.

I need a little help. I intend to conduct a short introductory session (3
hours) on systems thinking for a bunch of senior managers who've had no
formal exposure to the concept prior to this. I'd value ideas from you on:

- what should be covered in the session

- more important, ideas for short exercises 5 minutes to 30 minutes that
can be used to convey systems thinking concepts

- Any source for pre-readings that provide a simple introduction to the

You can respond through the list or direct ( -
either way I'd be happy to provide a summary to this list.

Thanks and regards,
Mathew Jacob

General Manager - Quality
Currimjee Ltd.
6, Sir William Newton Street
Port Louis   Mauritius (Indian Ocean)

tel: 230 - 4248551 fax: 230 - 2086336