Are people already systems thinkers without knowing it?

by | 19 Jul 2021

People already have an intuition about complexity and systems thinking.

Systems thinkers often bemoan the lack of applied systems thinking. Yet, people have a natural tendency to understand these things, even if they can’t quite articulate it. As those who are trying to communicate complexity and systems thinking, we must tap into this intuition.

School seems to dampen the innate feeling for systems.

But it is still there, buried, and we must awaken it.

Western education systems seem to grind a sensibility for complexity out of people. They become excellent analysts, scientists and people who fit with rules, processes and hierarchies. A few still bear the creativity and awareness of connections that they had when they were small. But many have succumbed to the reductionist methods of teaching.

People have forgotten how to learn.

But it is not too late.

The world is becoming ever more complex and interconnected. Slowly, people are waking up to the fact that linear, physics-envy-driven social and economic theories will not solve our problems. Not even the scientific ones.

We have an opportunity to dig under the reductionist wall that has been erected and punch a hole. A hole that will let people see the beauty and paradoxical simplicity of complexity and systems thinking. The spread of these ideas is happening. But we need to take the awareness, understanding and behaviours beyond academic study and consulting practice.

People need to be living, breathing and practising complexity and systems thinking.

They feel it deep down. Give them a chance to revive it and act with purpose.

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

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