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Understanding the environment: A systems approach
Understanding the environment: A systems approach

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1.2 Intuition and visual modelling

One of the techniques on which I focus early in the course is working with intuition. There is a limit to our ability to keep track of systemic relationships, especially when they are dynamic and therefore change unpredictably over time. Most people quickly develop a feeling of being overwhelmed when trying to analyse increasing amounts of detail pertaining to a complex situation. But humans have a subconscious way of processing this complexity through intuition, which draws more strongly on some of the non-verbal modes of intelligence we have available to us. In other words, we can constructively engage with complexity without having to consciously reason through it. Instead, we need to learn to use a range of techniques which allow us to subconsciously integrate a vast range of potential relationships in order to identify the key feedback processes in operation within a complex situation. Unfortunately, our modern society's emphasis on rational and mechanical interpretations have downplayed this wonderful intuitive ability to integrate and process complexity. Systems thinking reinstates intuition as a significant skill in understanding complexity through, for example, the use of visual modelling. Thus, the first two sections of this course will focus on the essential task of building up your intuitive skills and visual modes of modelling and communicating.