Growing Wings on the Way: Systems Thinking for Messy Situations Paperback – May 31 2011
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A Systems Thinking primer! This easy-to-read book makes systems theory accessible to those who do not have time for intensive study but need help in structuring and solving complex problems - richly illustrated with thought-provoking quotations, easy-tounderstand diagrams and practical real-life examples. A resource masterpiece!A" Mike Haynes, Consultant and Practitioner ... a veritable feast of aha moments, challenging concepts, questions that cause you to think, quotes that make you laugh, diagrams that make you ponder and stories that bring ideas to life. I highly recommend this book to any potential or budding systems thinkers and practitioners whether you think you are one or not.A" Nicky Ison, Environmental Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures - a book for anyone consciously acting in today's problematic and inter-connected world - It is immediately useful to individuals, to groups of people sharing an interest, to externaladvisors and consultants and to internal managers and members.A" Sue Holwell, Systems Practitioner, Academic, UK Systems Society board member
About the Author
Rosalind Armson is a systems practitioner, scholar and teacher, having worked for many years as Senior Lecturer in Systems at the Open University in Milton Keynes (UK). She has extensive experience of using systems ideas to support individuals and organisations facing complex and uncertain situations. She also supports students and others in learning Systems Thinking. Rosalind and her colleagues have designed and delivered Systems Thinking courses to thousands of Open University students. She has a long-standing interest in how our thinking both enables and limits the opportunities we can see and take. She has worked with individuals, organisations and institutions seeking to survive and thrive in a world that presents enormous challenges. She is an independent consultant using her systems-thinking skills to enable others to work out what to do and how to do it. She aims to 'leave the skills behind' at the end of each consultancy engagement by building managers' systems-thinking capability.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is an introductory text to systems thinking. The author draws on her extensive experience as a teacher, consultant and problem solver as she introduces her approach to understanding and making progress with, what she describes as, "messes". Unlike the problems presented in maths, science and economics lessons, "messes" are multifaceted and there are no clear cut answers. The best we can do is follow general heuristics to improve the outcomes.
Reading and reflecting on the messages, I find Rosalind's approach useful; particularly, her emphasis on the use of hand drawn pictures and diagrams as the problem solver seeks to understand and act in a "mess".
One chapter that I have found particularly helpful deals with "traps". Following an introduction to the theory of "traps", she explains how to escape from common traps. This is helpful. How to escape? Be prepared to re-evaluate your options at the fundamental understanding level; and find a way to walk away. Another useful hint; watch out for addiction to the stress and excitement of the trap itself.
There is much more here. Rosalind introduces a systematic approach to understanding and improving messiness using six visual diagrams: rich pictures, systems maps, influence diagrams, input-transformation-output models and human activity systems diagrams. By using these approaches progress can be made. She adds, that with an open attitude: enthusiasm, humility, curiosity and respect - for the mess and the people in the mess - then a plan can developed; the mess improved.
I have one quibble, other books introduce and use stock-and-flow diagrams, this would be a useful addition.
There is much, much more in this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who is stuck in a "mess".
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