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Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity - A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

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This book is a direct result of the author's work with the systems methodology first introduced by the author's partner, Russell Ackoff. It's a holistic approach to systems methodology. It deals with all dimensions of a system: structure, function and process. Peter Senge introduced Systems Thinking/practice. Interact clients asked the author to write a book to take them " This book is a direct result of the author's work with the systems methodology first introduced by the author's partner, Russell Ackoff. It's a holistic approach to systems methodology. It deals with all dimensions of a system: structure, function and process. Peter Senge introduced Systems Thinking/practice. Interact clients asked the author to write a book to take them "further down the Senge trail". This book does that by taking the reader into "real world" stories. It is based on experiences in five real companies using systems practice. It is about a new mode of seeing, doing and being in the world; a way of thinking through chaos and complexity. It speaks to those thinkers and practitioners who have come to realize that learning "to be" is as much a necessary part of a successful professional life as is the learning "to do." Natural science has discovered "chaos". Social science has encountered "complexity." But chaos and complexity are features of our perceptions and understanding. We see the world as increasingly more complex and chaotic because we use inadequate concepts to explain it. When we understand something, we no longer see it as chaotic or complex. It seems that playing the new game requires learning a new language. A language of interaction and design that will allow us to see through chaos and understand complexity. In a nutshell, this book is about systems. However, it goes beyond the simple declaration of desirability of systems thinking. With a practical orientation and yet a profound theoretical depth, the book offers an operational handle on the whole by introducing an elaborate scheme called iterative design. The iterative design explicitly recognizes that choice is at the heart of human development. Development is the capacity to choose; design is a vehicle for enhancement of choice and holistic thinking. Designers, in this book, seek to choose rather than predict the future. They try to understand rational, emotional, and cultural dimensions of choice and to produce a design that satisfies a multitude of functions. They learn how to use what they already know and also about how to learn what they need to know.


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This book is a direct result of the author's work with the systems methodology first introduced by the author's partner, Russell Ackoff. It's a holistic approach to systems methodology. It deals with all dimensions of a system: structure, function and process. Peter Senge introduced Systems Thinking/practice. Interact clients asked the author to write a book to take them " This book is a direct result of the author's work with the systems methodology first introduced by the author's partner, Russell Ackoff. It's a holistic approach to systems methodology. It deals with all dimensions of a system: structure, function and process. Peter Senge introduced Systems Thinking/practice. Interact clients asked the author to write a book to take them "further down the Senge trail". This book does that by taking the reader into "real world" stories. It is based on experiences in five real companies using systems practice. It is about a new mode of seeing, doing and being in the world; a way of thinking through chaos and complexity. It speaks to those thinkers and practitioners who have come to realize that learning "to be" is as much a necessary part of a successful professional life as is the learning "to do." Natural science has discovered "chaos". Social science has encountered "complexity." But chaos and complexity are features of our perceptions and understanding. We see the world as increasingly more complex and chaotic because we use inadequate concepts to explain it. When we understand something, we no longer see it as chaotic or complex. It seems that playing the new game requires learning a new language. A language of interaction and design that will allow us to see through chaos and understand complexity. In a nutshell, this book is about systems. However, it goes beyond the simple declaration of desirability of systems thinking. With a practical orientation and yet a profound theoretical depth, the book offers an operational handle on the whole by introducing an elaborate scheme called iterative design. The iterative design explicitly recognizes that choice is at the heart of human development. Development is the capacity to choose; design is a vehicle for enhancement of choice and holistic thinking. Designers, in this book, seek to choose rather than predict the future. They try to understand rational, emotional, and cultural dimensions of choice and to produce a design that satisfies a multitude of functions. They learn how to use what they already know and also about how to learn what they need to know.

30 review for Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity - A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    So, the rating (we start at 5 stars): +1 star for some cases included, -1 star for the cases not being MECE, not anywhere close, +1 star for quite a lot of ground covered, even if in huge leaps, maybe it's even going to a be a reread, -1 star for a lot of stuff not detalised into demonstrable detalization, -1 star for a lot of concepts left unlinked with practicalities, +1 star for insights included, there were some, even though these were very generally formulated, -1 star for the abstraction overused So, the rating (we start at 5 stars): +1 star for some cases included, -1 star for the cases not being MECE, not anywhere close, +1 star for quite a lot of ground covered, even if in huge leaps, maybe it's even going to a be a reread, -1 star for a lot of stuff not detalised into demonstrable detalization, -1 star for a lot of concepts left unlinked with practicalities, +1 star for insights included, there were some, even though these were very generally formulated, -1 star for the abstraction overused - while I love a lot of this stuff, I'm pretty sure somewhere a little management consultant cries bitter tears reading this, since this style overruns is precisely what gets professional consultants' panties in a twist, I think this would have been a plus for me years ago, before my brain got into all the don't-boil-the-ocean, SMART(-not) mode, Overall, it feels closer to 3 stars. But the grading system says it's 4 stars. Let it be 4.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hashem

    کتاب تفکر سیستمی آًقای قراجه داغی از اون دسته کتابهایی است که می بایست چندین بار خوانده بشه نه به خاطر اینکه مطلب برای فهم سخته بلکه نکات ریز و درشت این قدر زیاده که مسلما با یک بار خوندن همه رو درک نخواهیم کرد. البته پس از خواندن این کتاب نباید از منابعش گذشت چون اصل مطالب تفکر سیستمی در منابعی است که معرفی شده است و کتاب آقای قراجه داغی شروع بسیار خوبی برای ورود به این دنیاست. کتاب با این سوال اصلی شروع میشه که چرا موفقیت های ما عموما باشکست روبرو می شوند؟‌مشکل اصلی موفقیت ها چیست و دشمن اصلی کتاب تفکر سیستمی آًقای قراجه داغی از اون دسته کتابهایی است که می بایست چندین بار خوانده بشه نه به خاطر اینکه مطلب برای فهم سخته بلکه نکات ریز و درشت این قدر زیاده که مسلما با یک بار خوندن همه رو درک نخواهیم کرد. البته پس از خواندن این کتاب نباید از منابعش گذشت چون اصل مطالب تفکر سیستمی در منابعی است که معرفی شده است و کتاب آقای قراجه داغی شروع بسیار خوبی برای ورود به این دنیاست. کتاب با این سوال اصلی شروع میشه که چرا موفقیت های ما عموما باشکست روبرو می شوند؟‌مشکل اصلی موفقیت ها چیست و دشمن اصلی شون چیه ؟‌ و سپس ورود می کنه به مبحث نظری تفکر سیستمی و سعی میکنه تفکرهای کل نگر تفکر عملیاتی و تفکر طراحی را توضیح بده و ارتباط مباحث نظریه پیچیدگی و نظریه آشوب را با تفکر سیستمی را اراپه کند.بخوبی سیستم ها رو از ساده ترین حالت تا پیچیده ترین رو توضیح می دهد. این کتاب جز کتابهایی است که فکر می کنم برای درک رخدادها در هر جامعه کوچک و یا بزرگی باید مطالعه و فهمیده شود. این کتاب را به تمام کسانی که تفکر کل نگر و تفکر سیستمی را برای خود لازم می دانند توصیه می کنم.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

    Unlike the Fifth Discipline, this is a book about systems thinking that is quite difficult to read, for mainly two reasons: the brief discussion that is made by very important principles (the principles that guide a system, for example), without further examples, and the apparent lack of organization on writing it. Some of the important points: - A system is influenced by 5 "building blocks": openness (the size of its transactional environmental, or place that we can influence), purposefulness (th Unlike the Fifth Discipline, this is a book about systems thinking that is quite difficult to read, for mainly two reasons: the brief discussion that is made by very important principles (the principles that guide a system, for example), without further examples, and the apparent lack of organization on writing it. Some of the important points: - A system is influenced by 5 "building blocks": openness (the size of its transactional environmental, or place that we can influence), purposefulness (the interaction among the three most important categories for an individual: reason, emotion, and culture), multidimensionality (the use of matrixes of results, instead of dichotomies, due to interpretation of the context), emergent properties (properties that appear due to the interactions of the components, and cannot appear on the components working by themselves), and counter-intuitiveness (as the relations in a system are circular and not linear, to improve it notably we need to take counter-intuitive measures)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I wouldn't necessarily turn to this book if you're looking for a thrilling read - BUT, Gharajedaghi's work on organizational management and systems thinking is along some of the best work in the field (similar to Ackoff). Gharajedaghi manages to convey complex system analysis principles in digestible ways - which if you've ever studied systems, is REALLY helpful. I wouldn't necessarily turn to this book if you're looking for a thrilling read - BUT, Gharajedaghi's work on organizational management and systems thinking is along some of the best work in the field (similar to Ackoff). Gharajedaghi manages to convey complex system analysis principles in digestible ways - which if you've ever studied systems, is REALLY helpful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Denis Romanovsky

    This book was really great to me. Such a deep look at the sociocultural systems, connections between design, operations and holistic thinking helped to improve my understanding of organizations. Very good explanation on concepts of chaos, complexity and interdependency in systems that lead to emergent development. What I really did not like was business architecture - reasoning on concepts, diagrams and case studies seemed a bit shallow, outdated. Design thinking was also somehow kind of outdate This book was really great to me. Such a deep look at the sociocultural systems, connections between design, operations and holistic thinking helped to improve my understanding of organizations. Very good explanation on concepts of chaos, complexity and interdependency in systems that lead to emergent development. What I really did not like was business architecture - reasoning on concepts, diagrams and case studies seemed a bit shallow, outdated. Design thinking was also somehow kind of outdated. Anyway, after this book I definitely want to read more about complexity, chaos and systems thinking...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denis Vasilev

    Системное мышление это сложно

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Waddle

    Nice book about the critical need to architect companies in a way that attends to the individuals that make up the company as purposeful actors who act in the system as voluntary actors who have a need for personal agency. Organisation who do well need to constitute themselves using systems thinking like presented in this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Oks Ana

    To me its a great book of proper historical data analysis of behaviours and evidence of events. I am still reading it, it has become a table book on the work desk. I am using it as a basis for my strategy development in various organizations regardless of its nature or culture. It's a great book for those who want to understand the "nature of things and events" in organizations, and in life. While I find it fascinating, I also understand that It is also not for everyone. As it is "deep" and inte To me its a great book of proper historical data analysis of behaviours and evidence of events. I am still reading it, it has become a table book on the work desk. I am using it as a basis for my strategy development in various organizations regardless of its nature or culture. It's a great book for those who want to understand the "nature of things and events" in organizations, and in life. While I find it fascinating, I also understand that It is also not for everyone. As it is "deep" and intersected in a lot of dimensions. It explains also why old systematical analysis is no longer applicable in the organisation success. It gives a break down what "systems thinking" does to everything it is applied for. I find this writer brilliant, and his writing very applicable!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr

    It's definitely a 5 for wholeness, depth, systematicity, structuring, language, and the content itself, which provides many things to think and reason about. It really captures and provides an explanation of the sociocultural processes we encounter every day in organizations. I'm glad this book exists. But, oftentimes it's a way too abstract, lacking concrete examples, with gaps in explanation or the context of the terminology used. Moreover, almost all diagrams have own convention with cryptic m It's definitely a 5 for wholeness, depth, systematicity, structuring, language, and the content itself, which provides many things to think and reason about. It really captures and provides an explanation of the sociocultural processes we encounter every day in organizations. I'm glad this book exists. But, oftentimes it's a way too abstract, lacking concrete examples, with gaps in explanation or the context of the terminology used. Moreover, almost all diagrams have own convention with cryptic meaning of styles of components, displacement of elements, relations, direction of traversal, and entry/exit points if any. Can be a real headacke to comprehend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vicktor Michael Kemechedzhiev

    Довольно интересная и в целом неплохая книга для тех, кто интересуется системным мышлением. Автор приводит собственные размышления и идеи, которые он считает уместными в контексте применения системного мышления в организации бизнес-процессов.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was very philosophical. It had some good quotes and graphics, but overall, I was hoping for something more practical, discussing how we can use systems in our organization to help structure them better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeroen

    Difficult to read, concepts not applicable for all types of organisations

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter House

    "Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity - A Platform for Designing Business Architecture" is a powerful whirlwind tour through a number of essential topics in systems thinking, such as holist thinking, design thinking, and operational thinking. Jamshid Gharajedaghi starts the book off with a bang, taking the reader through dealing with concepts such as complexity and emergent system properties. As the book progresses, the focus shifts from explaination to teaching the reader modes of th "Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity - A Platform for Designing Business Architecture" is a powerful whirlwind tour through a number of essential topics in systems thinking, such as holist thinking, design thinking, and operational thinking. Jamshid Gharajedaghi starts the book off with a bang, taking the reader through dealing with concepts such as complexity and emergent system properties. As the book progresses, the focus shifts from explaination to teaching the reader modes of thought and action to build organization designs that will optimized to operate in a complex environment. The last few chapters of the book focus on case studies such as the Marriot hotel franchise chain and the Oneida Nation. These presciptions show what a successful design for an organization might look like to the reader. The only complaint I might have regarding the book is that it goes out with a meow in contrast to the way it entered. With a mighty roar. Despite the tapering off at the end of the book, I would recommend it for any reader with an interest in why organizations, in general, are unsuccessful in remaining viable in a world where black swan events (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_sw...) seem to occur with greater frequency than before.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian Fleischmann

    My only issue with Gharajedaghi's book is his tendency to subdivide systems and processes, describe them in detail as slight variations on each other, and then fail to integrate those subdivisions as an integral part of some greater level of understanding. To me, it seemed like splitting hairs for page counts. Like most books on complexity and systems theory, it's difficult to critique because the subject matter is generally the same but its presentation is unique (different vocabulary, ordering My only issue with Gharajedaghi's book is his tendency to subdivide systems and processes, describe them in detail as slight variations on each other, and then fail to integrate those subdivisions as an integral part of some greater level of understanding. To me, it seemed like splitting hairs for page counts. Like most books on complexity and systems theory, it's difficult to critique because the subject matter is generally the same but its presentation is unique (different vocabulary, ordering, etc.). Having already read or studied some of the background material helped; not sure I would have wanted to tackle this as my introduction to the literature. The second half of the book is application, and is interesting, but my learning curve (and interest) tapered off pretty drastically after chapter 7.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gernot

    The first part about systems and systems thinking describes some kind of method how to analyse systems. 1 - formulate the "mess" - that is he name for the current situation 2 - create target struktures in interations. The second part with the examples were somehow "dry" but nevertheless valuable examples. I will come back tp the examples and will read the book a second time, so i can recommend it! The first part about systems and systems thinking describes some kind of method how to analyse systems. 1 - formulate the "mess" - that is he name for the current situation 2 - create target struktures in interations. The second part with the examples were somehow "dry" but nevertheless valuable examples. I will come back tp the examples and will read the book a second time, so i can recommend it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    Unbelievably insightful book on how we do, can, and should think when it comes to ANYTHING organizational (work, friendships, family, software that interacts with other software, ANYTHING!). Not a super-simple read, but SO worth it! I have already used various insights and examples from the first four chapters in my consulting. So good. I just finished buying it online!

  17. 5 out of 5

    TK Keanini

    This book was written in ~1999 and is a good read if you are interested in the business applications of systems thinking. Complex logistics and supply chain come to mind if I had to pick an applicaiton.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rena

    Have to read this for my class. . . and I love it. It is an amazing way of thinking. It is slow reading for me but I want everyone to read it now that I know about it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Slade Beard

    I love Jamshid's work. He has taken the mantle of Simons and those who came before him and further developed the thinking around complexity and systems thinking. This is one of my regular references. I love Jamshid's work. He has taken the mantle of Simons and those who came before him and further developed the thinking around complexity and systems thinking. This is one of my regular references.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Incredible, inspiring, and ridiculously useful for the first 75%, but loses it a bit towards the end.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pavleras

    It took me two months due to its complexity to read until the 4th part. This book is awesome to give you the roots of social systems.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a masterpiece in developing a new outlook to the world. Understanding complexities through chaos.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Steen Sørensen

    Nice easy going introduction to systens thinking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    theory heavy, but powerful ideas put into application. systems thinking is a powerful framework for transforming culture in human systems.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bernd

    Deeply influential to my personal as well as business insights. Balances scientific insight with practical application and business vs philosophical considerations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sajid

    good

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carlos J.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt DeSabio

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ali

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