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Analysing systems failures

Our answers to the last three questions are given below. Was the decision-making subsystem effective? Clearly the decision-making was flawed on this extreme occasion. More specifically, there was control room …

Introduction

Week 1 introduced the basic ideas of systems thinking including the use of systems diagrams for representation, analysis and modelling. Week 2 begins by defining the Formal Systems Model. This …

Global Systems Science

Policy is the art of achieving a desired outcome in the presence of constraints and differing priorities. It is largely a coordination problem, and data and systems models can help …

Complex Systems Science

By themselves, the traditional sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, psychology, economics, etc. cannot be applied to complex systems. This is because policy-relevant systems tend to cut across many …

Designing the future

The study of systems thinking and complexity is motivated by the desire to understand and design a better world. This can mean designing better products, but it also includes designing …

Complex and complicated systems

What makes a system ‘complex’? There is no agreement on how the word ‘complex’ should be defined, but there is wide consensus that complexity can arise in systems that have …

Conclusion: Systems Thinking and Complexity

This article concludes the Systems Thinking and Complexity course by showing how the ideas we have considered are designed to be used for policy and action. This course began with …

Unintended consequences

In the 1950s the WHO sprayed part of Borneo with DDT to combat an outbreak of malaria that was affecting the Dayak people. According to this video, a chain of …

Holism and connectivity

The sign graph above [1] gives our summary of the video in the previous step. Collapsing roofs and an infestation of rats were unintended consequences of the DDT spraying problems. …

GSB command and control as a system

System Map of Gold-Silver-Bronze Command and Control The figure above shows the Gold-Silver-Bronze command and control (GSB C&C) represented from a systems perspective. The three levels of command are seen …

The Formal Systems Model

The diagram above, which you first saw in Week 1, shows a generalizable model of a robust system capable of purposeful activity without failure. It is called the Formal Systems …