Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking Jonathan Poland

Systems thinking is the practice of analyzing the entire system, rather than just its individual parts, in order to understand the relationships and connections between those parts. It involves considering the end-to-end impacts of potential strategies and taking into account all the factors that might affect the system, including complexity, opportunity costs, and unintended consequences. This approach is often contrasted with strategic thinking, which focuses on a smaller set of metrics without considering the complexity and interdependence of the system as a whole. Systems thinking is particularly useful when dealing with large, complex systems such as economies, industries, businesses, and ecosystems, where there are many interconnected factors that can impact the overall system.

Systems thinking often involves finding surprisingly simple solutions to complex problems. For example, the concept of a circular economy suggests that many environmental issues can be addressed by not releasing non-food substances into the environment. This simple solution addresses a complex problem in a holistic manner, which is characteristic of systems thinking. Some techniques and considerations that are commonly used in systems thinking include:

  • Identifying and analyzing the key components of a system, including the inputs, processes, outputs, and feedback loops that influence its behavior
  • Recognizing the interdependence and interconnectedness of the different parts of the system
  • Considering the long-term impacts and unintended consequences of potential solutions
  • Examining the system from multiple perspectives and levels of analysis, including the individual, group, and societal levels
  • Using tools such as causal loop diagrams, system archetypes, and stock-and-flow diagrams to visualize and analyze the system.
Learn More
Operational Risk Jonathan Poland

Operational Risk

Operations risk is the risk of financial loss or other negative consequences that may arise from the operation of a…

Data Breach Jonathan Poland

Data Breach

A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive, protected, or confidential data is accessed, disclosed, or stolen. Data…

Environmental Challenges Jonathan Poland

Environmental Challenges

Environmental issues are detrimental changes to the Earth’s natural surroundings that negatively impact the current quality of life for individuals…

Design Thinking Jonathan Poland

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a process that uses design principles and techniques to solve complex problems, create new ideas, and develop…

Capability Analysis Jonathan Poland

Capability Analysis

Capability analysis is the process of evaluating the capabilities of an organization, system, or process in order to identify its…

Trade Secret Jonathan Poland

Trade Secret

A trade secret is a type of carefully guarded information that gives a company a competitive advantage in the market.…

Restructuring Jonathan Poland


Restructuring is the process of reorganizing or reshaping an organization in order to improve its efficiency, effectiveness, or competitiveness. It…

What is a Flagship? Jonathan Poland

What is a Flagship?

A flagship is a product or service that represents the best a company has to offer and is intended to…

Overchoice Jonathan Poland


Overchoice, also known as the “paradox of choice,” is a phenomenon in which having too many options or choices can…

Content Database

Alliance Marketing Jonathan Poland

Alliance Marketing

Alliance marketing refers to a strategic partnership between two or more organizations in which they agree to collaborate on marketing…

Competitor Analysis Jonathan Poland

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is the process of gathering and analyzing information about competitors in a market in order to understand their…

Reverse Distribution Jonathan Poland

Reverse Distribution

Reserve distribution is the process of distributing a reserve, which is a reserve amount of money or other resources that…

Research Topics Jonathan Poland

Research Topics

Research topics are the subjects that are chosen for study, investigation, and analysis in a research project. When choosing a…

Marketing Experimentation Jonathan Poland

Marketing Experimentation

Marketing experimentation involves making changes to various aspects of a company’s marketing efforts, such as its products, prices, promotional strategies,…

CVR Partners Jonathan Poland

CVR Partners

CVR Partners, LP (UAN) is a publicly-traded limited partnership that primarily focuses on the production of nitrogen fertilizers. The company…

Aftermarket Jonathan Poland


The aftermarket refers to the market for products and services that are used to upgrade, customize, repair, or maintain durable…

CEMEX Jonathan Poland


Cemex S.A.B. de C.V. (CX), founded in 1906 and headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico, is a leading global building materials company…

Advanced Economy Jonathan Poland

Advanced Economy

An advanced economy is a highly developed economic system that provides a high level of economic well-being and quality of…