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What is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking studies the relationships of the components and the feedback loops in systems. Feedback loops are the bonds of individual cause and effect relationships that can act in a positive manner or a negative manner. 

In short
Systems thinking: the science and practice – is for those that wish to revolutionise the way they live and work: to challenge the conventional mechanistic view of the world that has fuelled climate, biosphere, and societal problems. To herald a new, exciting, and productive phase that delivers insights of life at all levels of living systems that have a profound impact upon business, politics, health, education – indeed, everyday life. 

Why System Thinking?
The essence of systems thinking, and its practical implementation is to understand how you see things affects the way you approach situations or undertake specific tasks. Systems thinking helps you to define a system and how to use some of the key concepts such as feedback loops. As a result, you become enabled to visualise and compute an array of decision options by visualising the relationships between interdependent system components. These competencies are essential to optimise problem-solving skills, eco-innovation, eco-finance, productivity, inclusion, and zero-waste strategies. How to use better what we have already. Systems thinking will enable you to become outcome focussed, able to think in three dimensions and understand the effect of decisions over time.

Feedback Loops
The common ‘2D’ approach to thinking and acting in the world is imagining action and reaction, cause, and effect, as a linear chain of events, each of them with a clear beginning and end. We at PAF, replace 2D with an interactive ‘3D’ space of activity (a sphere) where, over time, any action is simultaneously connected to a multitude of other actions in the same spherical space, connected through feedback loops.

As a result, feedback loops replace the notion of singular cause-and-effect-chains since instead of taking single data points, systems thinking understands the real world is a network of data points that are all interrelated to each other. As a result, systems thinking, and the sphere economy, is prerequisite for development of more inclusive, integrated solution-building.

When we make decisions and act in a way that does not take account of the relationships between the multiple components of the system, we break the feedback loops. This action can lead to poor well-being, marginalisation, climate change, and degradation of the biosphere amongst many other things. We want ourselves, our families, friends, businesses, and our communities, to be strong and resilient. But the current proposed method to achieve this, is the continuation to focus on improving siloed parts of the system one at a time. But what makes a system strong is the connections! Optimising individual parts will not necessarily optimise the whole. Imagine a building held together with sticky tape. Would you want to see the view from the top?

To help improve the whole we have System Thinking and the Sphere Economy:

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