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Why is Systems Thinking Important to Innovation?

Systems Thinking is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole; it is essentially the system of thinking about systems. Integrating innovation and systems thinking principles to influence how we mature great ideas has four major benefits:

1. Rapid Learning : Understand the Big Picture

No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service–Make them all work together seamlessly. Tug on the string. Think past execution phase. Does this solution seamlessly work within the larger system?

2. Rapid Impact : Solve Real Problems

Difficulties in solving problems often stem from the fact that problems do not occur in isolation, but in relation to each other. Offer real value and avoid creating more problems or unintended consequences. “Small changes can produce big results–but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious.”

3. Rapid Adaptation : Identify Patterns

Systems thinking is a powerful approach for understanding the nature of why situations are the way they are, and how to go about improving results. Historical perspective is important in understanding the evolution of a situation and in identifying patterns of behaviors over time.

4. Rapid Innovation : Eliminate Bloat

The best solution could be one that does not build anything new; The best solution may be as simple as the right person making a better policy decision and enforcing it consistently. Eliminate the unnecessary. Each unnecessary function or procedure adds a layer of complexity that costs you money and time.

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Kishau Rogers is the editor and founder of The bigThinking Project. The bigThinking Project is a resource center and collaborative innovation project which promotes the principles of systems thinking. Our mission is to empower the next generation of innovators to think bigger, to think better and to create solutions which make significant impact in the areas that matter. Kishau Rogers is an award-winning entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in the computer science industry. She is a serial entrepreneur having founded and co-founded companies such as Websmith Group, TimeStudy, PeerLoc Inc., and Websmith Studio.

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