Discussion board #3
Apple is one of the most successful company in the world. Its products are so simple to use, even children can literally pick them up and operate them. Reports show that Steve Jobs (the owner of Apple company) was fanatical about design and he spent countless hours obsessing over even the most minute design detail as a way to simplify it and make it easy to use. According to him, Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Personally, I think his statement is supportive of systems thinking. Because Complexity confuses people. It undermines their confidence and is not just any enemy of accomplishment, but it is one of the fatal enemies of success. The simpler we can make things, the more understanding and belief our teams will have which will help improve their efficiency and effectiveness which generate better results5.
It seems that “simplicity” is very hard to achieve, but the principles enabling it are not at all complex. To be simple, one needs to put real efforts. For example, we all know that to summarize complex ideas in simple words is very hard, as it requires a lot of practice to decide what to include and what to leave out. Next, Lack of vision and creativity make things complex. Moreover, to be simple one needs to have a deep understanding of subjects that he is practicing. Shallowness leads to babbling, resulting in imperfect solutions and making it much harder for us to manage problems. Next, complexity is a result of lack of collaboration between working entities, each trying to do his own thing. This destroys the much-needed synergy between them, making the overall situation very difficult. In addition, to be simple one needs to maintain consistency. Unpredictability prevents the mind from attributing the activity for easy implementation. It decreases productivity by driving us in situations which are difficult to manage. It increases the risk of transacting business, as we cannot be sure of the upcoming rules, thereby eroding investor confidence. Finally, honesty is the biggest reason for complexity in our lives. Life can be far simpler if we are honest with each other. We tend to hide things from each other with an intention to either cheat or gain competitive advantage. This prevents us from trusting business partners and companies1,2,3,5.
High levels of dynamic complexity adversely affect human decision-making. Indeed, often the decisions do not generate optimal, or even reasonable outcomes. Furthermore, experiments have shown that the performance of humans decreases dramatically in the presence of high levels of dynamic complexity1,4.
There are many reasons for such under-performance in dynamically complex situations, but two reasons are significant.
a. Bounded rationality: The principle of “bounded rationality” stipulates that humans suffer from two bounds of rationality. The first is due to the limited information processing capabilities of the human mind. The second bound of rationality is due to the cognitive skills and memory limitations of the human mind.
b. Misperception of feedback: The principle of “bounded rationality” applies in all types of decision-making. But its effect is amplified in dynamic situations. It has been observed that humans perform very poorly, relative to their potential, in situations involving dynamic complexity1.
In conclusion, complexity drives randomness and uncertainty, whereas simplicity promotes certainty and clarity, resulting in enhanced productivity and growth.
1. Rifat, A. (2012). Health systems, systems thinking and innovation. Journal of Health Policy and Planning, 27 (4): Pages 4-8. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czs088.
2. Best, A., Holmes, B.J. (2010). Systems Thinking, Knowledge and Action: Towards Better Models and Methods. A Journal of Research Debate and Practice, 6(2):145-159. DOI: 10.1332/174426410X502284
3. Peters, D.H. (2014). The application of systems thinking in health: why use systems thinking? Journal of Health Research Policy and Systems,12:51. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4505-12-51
4. Gilson, L., Elloker, S., Olckers, P. et al. (2014). Advancing the application of systems thinking in health: South African examples of a leadership of sensemaking for primary health care. Journal of Health Research Policy System, 12: 30. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4505-12-30.
5. Stroh, D.P. (2015). Systems Thinking for Social Change. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont.
Systems thinking has transformative implications for both policy and practice, and for research. For policy and practice, it highlights:
? the importance of coordinated and effective interventions across multiple levels of change (e.g. individual, organizational, community);
? the need to ensure readiness and suf?cient capacity before launching major KTA initiatives;
? the importance of distributed, collaborative leadership and accountability throughout the system
? the critical role of strategic communications to catalyze, coordinate and support change
In sum, systems thinking holds much promise for knowledge to action, providing a framework for new ways of re?ecting, acting and evaluating to transform research–policy–practice processes.
Systems thinking tools have a wide variety of applications. Some tools are intended as means of facilitating groups of people to have a common understanding about an issue to prompt further inquiry and action.
There are number of other tools that are used to map out events or how things are connected. Network mapping, social network analyses, and process mapping involve a range of tools to illustrate and analyze connections between people, organizations, or processes in both qualitative and quantitative ways.
Topic: Smoking initiation among African-American youth in Baltimore-city