Everything and each time we predict, we’re projecting our personal view on actuality. [1] Revolutionary Systems Thinker and professor at Cornell University Derek Cabrera remarked,

“When we perceive the world as being the results of techniques of relationships, we higher approximate actuality.”

I just lately got here throughout Derek’s e book Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems and I used to be hooked! I used to be instantly transformed to the sector of Systems Thinking. In truth, I plan on utilizing Systems Thinking as my new algorithm for every part I do.

After talking with Derek, I made a decision to put in writing an article that was just like a e book evaluation, but additionally a how-to. This article will deal with Derek’s new model of Systems Thinking (v2.0), use it, and a few instruments to make use of with it. So, let’s check out what Systems Thinking v2.0 is.

The Best Way to Solve Wicked Problems

If you had to consider the issue that underlies all different issues, what would you say it’s? Derek informs us that it’s the manner we predict and till we alter the way in which we predict, we’ll discover it extraordinarily tough to sort out depraved issues. In truth, Albert Einstein would have most likely agreed. Einstein as soon as remarked,

“Without altering our patterns of thought, we will be unable to unravel the issues created with our present sample of thought.”

So, what are depraved issues?

“Wicked issues end result from a mismatch with how issues work and the way we predict or understand they work.” – Derek Cabrera

Why Systems Thinking Is the Best Way To Innovate

Personally, Systems Thinking is my “aha” or epiphany generator. It is one of the simplest ways to innovate. In truth, there are 3 ways to innovate.

  1. Invent one thing new.
  2. Make an present product higher.
  3. Combine two present issues into one thing new.

Systems Thinking can also be excellent for studying one thing in a single area and transferring it to a different. Along together with his spouse Laura, Derek discusses how Systems Thinking makes use of what is known as a Far Transfer. This is studying one thing in a single area and transferring it to a different as a way to educate your self 5-20 further issues.

Derek and Laura found Systems Thinking v2.0 after creating an equation. Yet, it was his spouse Laura who helped him translate this into the true world. Laura is an knowledgeable within the discipline of Translational Research, which helps deliver the summary into actuality. They then developed Systems Thinking v2.0 by way of 4 easy guidelines. However, let’s have a look at a few key ideas to grasp earlier than we talk about the 4 guidelines.

The Foundation of Systems Thinking

Mental Model

“All psychological fashions are unsuitable; the sensible query is how unsuitable have they got to be to not be helpful.” – George E.P. Boy

This is the muse of Systems Thinking. Derek informs us that a Mental Model is a proof of somebody’s thought course of about how one thing works in the true world. Think again to our dialogue on depraved issues. Wicked issues are current when our psychological fashions are complicated.

Derek offers the next equation for Mental Models.

Information + Structure = Mental Models

  • Information contains all materials, info, or information of any form that contribute to which means.
  • Structure contains hidden contextual construction that contributes to which means.

Complex Adaptive System

Complexity idea attracts analysis from science that examines uncertainty and non-linearity. It emphasizes interactions and suggestions loops which can be constantly altering. This is why Systems Thinking have to be a Complex Adaptive System (CAS). This present us an understanding of a system and the system’s conduct.

The Four Simple Rules of Systems Thinking

Let’s now talk about the 4 easy guidelines of Systems Thinking v2.0. These guidelines are often known as DSRP, which represents 4 cognitive features that we will need to have to type new concepts:

  • Distinctions
  • Systems
  • Relationships
  • Perspectives


Simply put, each concept begins with a definite factor or concept. Let’s see how Derek describes Distinctions.

  • They are the important thing to fixing depraved issues.
  • They determine what a factor or perhaps a downside IS and what it IS NOT.
  • They function the boundary that outline an concept.
  • The issues we see and take into consideration derive which means from different proximate issues or concepts.
  • Essentially, phrases imply what we wish them to imply.
  • Key phrases: examine, distinction, outline, differentiate.


“A change in the way in which an concept is organized results in a change within the which means of the concept.” – Derek Cabrera

Similar to distinctions, each concept or factor is a system containing components. Let’s check out how Derek describes Systems.

  • Any concept or factor will be break up into components (deconstruction).
  • Any concept or factor will be lumped into an entire (development).
  • An individual who can do each (break up and lump) is known as a “Slumper”.
  • Slumper’s are individuals who have the power to each assemble or synthesize concepts; moreover, they’ll deconstruct concepts to additional our understanding.
  • Key phrases: part-whole, chunking, grouping, organizing.

“What makes one thing an element is that it belongs to an entire. What makes one thing an entire is that it has an element. Every entire has the potential to even be an element. Your thoughts must do the work to see this. In the true world, no matter you’re looking at has components.” – Derek Cabrera


Relationships encompass an motion and response. Here is how Derek defines Relationships.

  • We can not perceive a lot a few factor or concept with out understanding the connection between or among the many concepts or techniques.
  • All kinds of relationships require that we contemplate two underlying components: motion and response.
  • Key phrases: join, interconnection, interplay, hyperlink, trigger, impact, suggestions.


“If you modify the way in which you have a look at issues, the belongings you have a look at change.” – Derek Cabrera

Let’s now check out the final rule – Perspectives. We usually determine views after we are capable of determine the boundaries of a system and decide the relationships in a system. Derek defines Perspectives by the next.

  • Sometimes views are so primary and so unconscious to us, we’re unaware of them however they’re all the time conscious of us.
  • Perspectives are made up of two associated components: a Point from which we’re Viewing and the factor or issues which can be in View (Point-of-View).
  • Being conscious of the views we take and don’t take is paramount to deeply understanding ourselves and the world round us.
  • Shift views and we rework distinctions, relationships, and techniques we do and don’t see.
  • Different views end result from altering the Point, the View, or Both.

“Perspectives can be utilized to make us broaden our pondering and embrace extra choices (i.e. divergent pondering). It will also be used to limit our pondering and trigger larger focus (i.e. convergent pondering).” – Derek Cabrera

Fill in Gaps Through Systems Thinking

“Systems Thinking requires little greater than apply in constructing cognitive constructing blocks. It is not any totally different than constructing with various kinds of Legos, or the 4 totally different nucleotides in DNA.” – Derek Cabrera

Let’s have a look at use among the instruments in Systems Thinking v2.0. The first approach we’ll have a look at is known as a Cognitive Jig. This is a robust approach, one through which Derek informs us,

“Will enhance our pace of thought.”

Types of Cognitive Jigs

  • Analogy. An analogy is the comparability of two issues demonstrating similarities. Derek informs us,

“The genius behind the invention of analogies was that they gave us a psychological mannequin of a typical manner we perceive issues (i.e. by comparability to a recognized factor).”

  • Metaphor. A metaphor is used when we have to make a comparability between two issues that aren’t alike, but have one thing in widespread.

New Cognitive Jigs

  • Perspective Circles (P-Circle). P-Circles change the purpose (a) or the view (b) which adjustments the angle. Another manner to have a look at it’s from an concept (b) from the angle of an concept (a).
  • Part-Parties. They reveal an entire made up of components. The primary concept is: 1) Break an concept or factor into components; 2) Relate the components. These can then be prolonged additional by together with perspective.
  • Barbells. You can have a look at Barbells as two concepts or issues and the connection between them. Expanded additional, we discover what is known as an RDS Barbell, the place: R = Relate; D = Distinguish; and S = Systematize. Derek calls these “algorithms for innovation.” He makes use of RDS Barbells in fixing depraved issues as complexity is hidden within the interrelationship between concepts.

Tools to Help You Adapt Systems Thinking

Lastly, let’s take a quick have a look at among the instruments Derek and Laura have created to help us in understanding and utilizing Systems Thinking v2.0.

MetaMap. This platform was created to assist us perceive precisely map our pondering course of utilizing DSRP. You may even use it to map a top level view to an essay! Best of all, this platform is free to make use of, you possibly can strive it out right here: MetaMap

ThinkBlocks. These are 3D dry erase blocks that anybody of any age can use.

ThinkQuiry. This web site makes use of what Derek refers to as “MadLib” fashion DSRP questions. These will be helpful in serving to us use the construction of DSRP to find new concepts. It makes use of the Socratic Method and focuses on the questions greater than the solutions. Start to find new concepts on ThinkQuiry.

If you possibly can’t inform already, I extremely advocate buying Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems. Derek offers us a technique to actually generate new and wonderful concepts. There are an infinite variety of ideas in our thoughts, and an infinite variety of techniques we will use to discover our ideas. Systems Thinking v2.0 offers us a robust technique to discover our ideas.

Furthermore, Derek locations everybody on a Consciousness and Competence Continuum. He describes the continuum as:

  1. We start on the unconscious incompetence stage (we don’t know what we don’t know).
  2. If we’re fortunate, somebody wakes us up and causes us to seek for one thing extra. We then transfer into the acutely aware incompetence stage, the place we understand we now have one thing we have to be taught.
  3. Once we develop some competence, we then transfer into the unconscious competence stage. Here we apply a talent with out being absolutely conscious of the talent. There is a few cognition, simply not metacognition (interested by pondering or cognition about cognition).
  4. When we lastly transfer into the conscious-competence stage, we turn into conscious of what we’re doing in order that we will adapt to the place we should be.

Successfully progressing alongside the continuum means we now have a rise in our metacognitive consciousness, which is extraordinarily vital as every part we expertise is an ever-changing psychological mannequin.

Derek’s imaginative and prescient for Systems Thinking v2.0 is to develop 7 Billion Systems Thinkers! Let me finish this article with three questions. These are the identical questions Derek used to develop his imaginative and prescient and you need to use it to develop yours.

  • Question #1: What pisses you off essentially the most?
  • Question #2: What do you see at present?
  • Question #3: What do you have to see tomorrow?

Featured picture credit score: Pixabay via pixabay.com


[1] Derek Cabrera: Systems Thinking Made Simple

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