Systems thinking

Systems thinking is a heuristic that I am considering for my research. But let me see if I can succeed in making it palatable to you in this blog, using the simplest terms possible.

I will first start by telling you about my very good friend Q (not his real name). Q is an anarchist and that is why I enjoy listening to him because his ideas are totally opposed to mine. He challenges convention at every turn and lives his life on his on terms. He is a free spirit who believes that all human beings should happily pursue their dreams. He owns very few things and shares generously whatever he has.

So Q and I were once on the train, and we noticed the numerous advertisements in the form of little posters pasted all over the inside of the train. All these ads, without exception, were by doctors who offer a variety of services, (reader discretion is adviced, explicit content ahead), the most common being the enhancement of male genitalia by Dr. David. The second most common ad was that of the termination of pregnancies by Dr. Hope. A third doctor, Dr. Hassan claimed, among other things, to be able to 'bring back a lost lover within a day'.

As we discussed these various ads, Q cleverly pointed out that all these services were related. He went on to explain that, enhanced male perfomance will lead to more pregnancies, and if these are unwanted, then Dr. Hope, who terminates them, gets more business. And of course, if Dr. Hassan can 'bring back a lost lover' then he can provide business to Dr. David, given that the re-united lovers may want to make up for lost time.

So even though the ads may seem random, they each refer to nodes in a system of services. The importance of connecting these nodes is that it allows one to map out the bigger picture in order to understand flows within the system. If a pro-life group, for example, wanted to close down Dr. Hope's business they might have to also target Dr. Hassan and Dr David first.

And that is why I hang around with Q, because he helps me understand my theories better.