Essay on System Thinking Example

1498 Words May 15th, 2008 6 Pages
Introduction to Systems Thinking
Daniel Aronson

Systems thinking has its foundation in the field of system dynamics, founded in 1956 by MIT professor Jay Forrester. Professor Forrester recognized the need for a better way of testing new ideas about social systems, in the same way we can test ideas in engineering. Systems thinking allows people to make their understanding of social systems explicit and improve them in the same way that people can use engineering principles to make explicit and improve their understanding of mechanical systems.

The Systems Thinking Approach

The approach of systems thinking is fundamentally different from that of traditional forms of analysis. Traditional analysis focuses on the separating the
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The problem of crop damage due to insects often does get better - in the short term. Unfortunately, the view diagrammed above represents only part of the picture. What frequently happens is that in following years the problem of crop damage gets worse and worse and the pesticide that formerly seemed so effective does not seem to help anymore.

This is because the insect that was eating the crops was controlling the population of another insect, either by preying on it or by competing with it. When the pesticide kills the insects that were eating the crops, it eliminates the control that those insects were applying on the population of the other insects. Then the population of the insects that were being controlled explodes and they cause more damage than the insects killed by the pesticide used to.

In other words, the action intended to solve the problem actually makes it worse because the way its unintended side effects change the system ends up exacerbating the problem.

In fact, some studies suggest that a majority of the 25 insects that cause the most crop damage each year became problems to begin with because of exactly this cycle.

According to this understanding, the greater the pesticide application, the smaller the numbers of Insect A (the original pest) that will eat the crop. This leads to an immediate decrease in the numbers of insects eating the crop (note that this is the effect

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