System Thinking

Saman Naqvi
3 min readJun 28, 2023

I am so glad I got a chance to learn about system thinking by taking up a short course and it changed my perspective a lot about how to deal with complex situations in personal life or work life and come up with a solution. System thinking is analyzing different systems and processes in your business and how they are influenced by different elements effecting it. Basically, this is a critical approach to understand a system in a more vivid way. This helps us to see the things as they are instead of making stressful scenarios in mind. It says a lot about how we can broaden our perspective in the face of narrow vision. If the traditional thinking says that there is a cause of problem and there are solutions so the system thinking largely believes that there can be many causes to a problem but solution is only one which suits the situation best.

We live in a VUCA world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Things are moving forward very fast. There are more interconnections which make everything. This is the reason system thinking matters.

System can be taken as a football playground which consists of players, a football and net on both sides and all of them serve a different purpose. They do compete and complete in order to fulfil the purpose of the game. Every thing happening in the world has a domino effect and it changes one or the other thing around it.

Every simple or small step can be a pioneer for the bigger picture. As soon as we start considering how we fit into larger whole of a world, it makes us more aware of our role in order to make the difference at a larger scale. In this case, we have to be more liner, ordered and mechanistic in our approach. The main goal of learning about system thinking is not only how to act in a particular situation but also how to react and solve a problem you are coming up with. There are four steps which must be followed one must take into account in the face of any problem:

Observe the real world
Build a mental model
Test your model
Get feedback

Problem identification is the first step in order to make the whole process working in the right direction. Then we have to go after the solutions belonging to that particular issue existing in the real world. It is really important how we receive and organize information from the real world. This is called cognition. Based on that, we all create a mental model. There is an important formula for mental model given below:

Mental Model = Information + Thinking (how we structure it)

Based on that particular model, By making distinction between and among ideas we need to Organize ideas into part or whole system and recognizing relationships among ideas. We also have to measure and consider different perspectives. By taking up these steps, we enable innovation, brain storming and forecasting.

The top three things systems thinkers do are: be aware of your mental models, seek out feedback on how well you’re doing, and evolve your mental models to better fit reality!

How does it help us?

We can actually reduce the risk of mistakes as it minimize the effects of missteps. This can be very effective to make processes more streamlined and leaders can get a lot of benefit and can handle multiple projects at a time as it can integrate different projects at a time aiming into a business.

It definitely improves efficiency and problem solving quality. You get to know your mistakes, how to eradicate them and make potential changes to make it worth it.

One most important point I learned and admire a lot about system thinking is we should never be afraid to make changes when something is going wrong either in work or personal life. Change is always difficult in the start but we see good results by the end of the day.

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Saman Naqvi

I am struggling to grow each day by unlearning the things becoming hurdle in my way!