Systems thinking provides a perspective that various components affect each other in various ways. To adopt a systems approach, one needs to be persistent and curious. People become system thinkers not because it is cool, but because they discover that linear thinking is incapable of answering their questions. For instance, Albert Einstein started playing with the quantum theory which he did not like. After spending years trying to disprove it, he realized that the Newtonian physics could not answer his questions. The only choice he had, therefore, was to become a quantum thinker. Though this by no means implies that he entirely disputed Newtonian theory, it meant that there were occasions where he had to use quantum instead of the approach elucidated by Newton.
Systems theory has the following core concepts.
Problem: A problem may be a question that is in need of an answer, a new idea that needs to be considered further or an existing situation or system that is not operating properly. Speaking of a problem does not mean that we are rejecting or saying that something is bad, it simply means that something needs to be understood in another dimension and the solution found.
System: A system, from the text, is a group of related elements that work as one in a specific environment to carry out the required functions to fulfill the system's objectives.
Goal seeking: A system by definition, is goal seeking. When a system is defined by the role played by its components towards achieving a common objective it implies that a system is working towards to a certain goal. For instance, when Albert Einstein started to play with the theory of quantum physics, he never liked it. His goal was to disapprove it. In the end, the physics of Newton failed to provide answers to his questions. He, therefore, had to become a quantum thinker.
Input/output: The inputs refers to what is introduced into a system. They entail the resources that are required to run a process. The outputs entail the results generated by running either be the entire or only a section of a process. In other words, they are the by-products of an activity of a system taken back to the environment. Examples of outputs are the specific results and tangible products, goods or services produced by a system or just the results of an effort made on a system.
Throughout: Throughout entails the conversion of input into an output. It is the process through which the energy input is changed into a readily usable product or a service or an output by the system.
The input-throughout-output illustrated in the text involves the use of DDT to kill mosquitoes. The output was that it produced some side effects which were never anticipated. Under throughout, the mosquitoes underwent mutations giving rise to DDT resistant mosquitoes (output).
Open/closed systems: An open system interacts with its surrounding by obtaining inputs from and dispensing outputs to the outside. Open systems have in their possession permeable boundaries that allow for absorption of new ideas or information. Closed systems, on the other hand, does not incorporate new ideas that are not within its scope making it hard to serve its environment.
Boundaries: From the text, boundaries are behavior patterns that provide systems with identity and defines relationships. It can be regarded as a point where data moves from a particular system to the other.
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