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Mastering systems thinking in practice
Mastering systems thinking in practice

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Week 3: Identifying systems of interest


In Week 2 you looked at how we describe and talk about complex situations in general. You also learned about systems of interest as having perceived complexity and that people can perceive the same situation differently.

This week you will take these ideas further by examining again the language we use to name or define systems of interest and introducing ways that you can begin to identify different systems of interest within a complex situation. In other words how systems thinking in practice includes making explicit boundaries within situations where the prime boundary is one of purpose. You will use this identification of systems of interest again in Week 4, when you will be introduced to a key tool in the system practitioners’ toolkit – the use of diagrams to represent such systems of interest and also in Week 5 on multiple perspectives where you will include other people’s views.

Watch the following video which highlights what is involved in identifying a system of interest.

Download this video clip.Video player: mstp_1_video_week3_intro.mp4
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • use appropriate language to define and distinguish systems of interest within complex situations as epistemological devices rather than actual ontological things.