What’s your System Thinking of the World?
Updated: Jun 3
Interdependent Thinking is a true system view of the world.
One of the significant characteristics of the emerging digital era is interdependence, due to the latest digital technologies such as social and mobile, the business and world have become hyper-connected and interdependent, it does make a smaller world, but also makes businesses and the world super complex and full of uncertainty and ambiguity. Hence, in order to solve both strategic and technical problems facing in business and overcome the challenges facing mankind, interdependent thinking shall be practiced, it is about how you apply system thinking to view the world and an interconnected and interdependent whole; and how to follow systems principles for solving problems under complex, uncertain and ambiguous circumstances?
Any "Thing" we study can be thought of as either a "System" or a "Component."
Everything and everyone is part of one huge system: our universe. and things are also interdependent in the system. System Thinking implies that we realize that everything really is a System when we get down to it. For a certain specific context, we may decide to treat the Thing as a Component. Often, we make the decision implicitly, also unknowingly, and sometimes unwisely because we think of those things as independent component; rather, when you can think of the system as a whole, every component is interdependent with other components, and then the decision can be made more thoughtfully, and wisely.
System = Pattern, Thinking = Reflection, World = Context.
Systems don’t exist independently and that there are interactions between systems such as system overlaps and real in- and output dependencies. System = Duality of interaction between structures and actors as described in the structuration theory. Thinking = Endeavor to finding ways to rationale a system. World = Universe that holds systems in different contexts across different times and spaces. System = something. Thinking = coherent (logical and operational) construction of a selection of aspects, judged relevant by the thinking agent, with the purpose to predict with selected observable aspects of the system, and hopefully open enough to question the selection. World = an interdependent and hyperconnected system with interactive and overlapping components.
There is a two-way road for depicting interdependence in a business context
There is typical interdependence that leads to conflict: Sales wants to sell more. Production cannot produce at the pace Sales manifests. Another type of interdependence is symbiosis: Big companies need small strategic initiatives for engaging in disruptive innovation, and those small strategic initiatives need big company's culture, values, and financial backup. Some organizations have been working on a biomimetic approach to approach the question of "interactions between systems such as system overlaps and real in- and output dependencies." There is now a well-established practice in using biomimicry in the engineering discipline as well. They are getting pretty good results using a similar approach for the communication ecology and systems.
Interdependent thinking has been applied to develop varying business management and talent development models; such as the Human Factors spectrum model includes more detail about referential interdependent factors, organizational / governance, human-machine-interfaces, transitional factors, organization of work, procedures, etc. And Employee Behavior circle includes the following interdependent components 1.) Values, 2.) Attitude / intention, 3.) Actual behavior/habits, 4.) positive and negative consequences directing number 1.) again. TOP model: with three interdependent elements: Technical, Organizational, and People factors.
If an independent mind encourages such a critical thinking ability to point out blind spot, compliment diverse viewpoint, and make constructive criticism to make a better world; then, an interdependent thinking practices system thinking, holistic thinking and pattern thinking to connect, understand and harmonize the world, in order to make the system (the world) as a whole optimal than just sum of pieces.