What Is Systemic?

Systemic refers to an approach to problem-solving and decision-making that considers the whole system rather than just a single element or isolated part of it. It takes into account the interconnectedness of the different components within an organization, and acknowledges the need to coordinate between them. It is based on the principle of interdependence, believing that the way a system works and behaves is determined by the constituents and how they interact.

Systemic thinking puts emphasis on the complexity of the system and the often unpredictable consequences of change, as well as how multiple elements within the system affect each other. It involves evaluating the system holistically, considering its structure and the interactions between its parts, as well as the impact of external factors, such as environmental and economic influences.

Benefits of Systemic Thinking

Systemic thinking offers many advantages:

  • It allows for a comprehensive approach to analyzing systems, including the nonlinear interactions and feedback between elements.
  • It helps to discover unknown connections and relationships between elements, leading to unexpected insights and revealing patterns and trends that can't be seen just by looking at individual components of the system.
  • It enables organizations to look at the "bigger picture" and understand how different departments, processes, and teams interact and contribute to the overall performance.
  • It allows for faster decision-making and better strategies tailored to the specific requirements of the system.
  • It facilitates collaborative problem-solving and decision-making by getting different stakeholders involved in the process.

Implementing Systemic Thinking

Organizations can implement systemic thinking in several ways:

  • Conduct system mapping and analysis: This involves documenting the system elements, assessing interactions between elements, and understanding how inputs lead to outcomes.
  • Use simulations to explore system behavior: This allows organizations to analyze multiple scenarios and analyze how proposed actions might affect the system dynamics.
  • Involve stakeholders in decision-making: People with different perspectives can provide insight into possible interactions and consequences of proposed changes.
  • Utilize feedback loops: By tracking different components of the system, organizations can use feedback loops to identify areas that require improvement and alter processes to maintain desired performance.