Many of the things we’re interested in are complex, yet traditional analytical techniques are inadequate in helping us understand complex systems. Such techniques reduce the system to its parts in order to grow understanding of the parts. By contrast and in complement, systems thinking emphasizes consideration of the system as a series of relationships and as a whole.
Systems thinking is “contextual,” which is the opposite of analytical thinking. Analysis means taking something apart in order to understand it; systems thinking means putting it into the context of a larger whole. (Capra & Luisi, 2014)
- Capra, F., & Luisi, P. L. (2014). The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge University Press.