Applied Systems Thinking

Welcome to the SEMS Systems Thinking Blog.  The goal of this blog is to promote the use of systems thinking concepts and methodologies in engineering management research and practice.  We will cover systems thinking theory and applied methodologies.

When talking about systems thinking it is important to make a distinction between systems science and applied systems thinking methodologies.  Systems science (a.k.a. systems thinking) provides the theoretical and philosophical foundations for all systems practitioners.  Authors like von Bertalanffy and his General Systems Theory,  Maturana and Varela and the concept of Autopoiesis, Trist’s Socio-technical Systems, Churchman and Ackoff’s approaches to social and organizational systems have provided much of the foundations for systems science.

On the other hand, we have applied systems thinking methodologies.  They arise when systems science foundations are applied into particular problem contexts. Classical examples include Forrester’s System Dynamics, Senge’s Fifth Discipline, Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology and Beer’s Viable System Model.

We will explore also the work of Flood and Jackson and their approach at integrating the body of knowledge of all applied systems thinking methodologies.