Systems Thinking



Permaculture is a systems science, 
so it is a good idea to explore a little what that means.

Donella Meadows is a pioneering systems thinker 
and the book she team-led the writing of, 
"Limits to Growth" was influential in the birth of Permaculture.


What is Systems Thinking


Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole. 

In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which various elements such as air, water, movement, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. 

In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization healthy or unhealthy.


Systems Thinking has been defined as an approach to problem solving, by viewing "problems" as parts of an overall system, rather than reacting to specific part, outcomes or events and potentially contributing to further development of unintended consequences. 


A Set of Habits & Practices

Systems thinking is not one thing but a set of habits or practices within a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation. 


Systems thinking focuses on cyclical rather than linear cause and effect.


In science systems, it is argued that the only way to fully understand why a problem or element occurs and persists is to understand the parts in relation to the whole.[3] Standing in contrast to Descartes's scientific reductionism and philosophical analysis, it proposes to view systems in a holistic manner. 


Consistent with systems philosophy, systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entirety of the system.


Science systems thinking attempts to illustrate that events are separated by distance and time and that small catalytic events can cause large changes in complex systems. Acknowledging that an improvement in one area of a system can adversely affect another area of the system, it promotes organizational communication at all levels in order to avoid the silo effect


Systems thinking techniques may be used to study any kind of system — natural, scientific, engineered, human, or conceptual.



The Systems Science portal

There's a whole mini-wikipedia just on this subject which you can explore...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Systems_science






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