Systems Thinking is an approach for studying and managing complex feedback systems, such as one
finds in business and other social systems. In fact it has been used to
address practically every sort of feedback system.
SD is more or less the same as Systems Thinking, but emphasizes the usage
of computer-simulation tools.
The term System means an
interdependent group of items forming a unified pattern.
refers to the situation of X affecting Y and Y in turn affecting X
perhaps through a chain of causes and effects. One cannot study the link
between X and Y and, independently, the link between Y and X and predict
how the system will behave. Only the study of the whole system as a
feedback system will lead to correct results.
The Steps in the SD methodology are roughly as
a dynamic hypothesis explaining the cause of the problem,
a computer simulation model of the system at the root of the
the model to be certain that it reproduces the behavior seen in
the real world,
and test in the model alternative policies that alleviate the
Often these steps
have to be reviewed and refined going back to an earlier step. For
instance, the first problem identified may be only a symptom of a still
based on Systems Thinking, but takes the additional steps of
constructing and testing a computer simulation model.
The SD field developed initially from the book
Industrial Dynamics of Jay W. Forrester.
applications of SD
can be found in:
management and policy
energy and the
development in the natural and social sciences
Book: John Sterman - Business D.: Systems Thinking and
Modeling for a Complex World -
Compare with System Dynamics:
| Scenario Planning
Five Disciplines |
OODA loop |
Game Theory |
More management models