Systems thinking – quotes etc from key systems thinkers

“What Churchman does… Is to use the theoretical indispensability of comprehensive systems design as an ideal standard to force us to recognise the requirement to reflect critically on the inevitable lack of comprehensiveness in our actual designs. So Churchman is not asking for the impossible, but is suggesting a way of proceeding, given that what is necessary, if we are to be sure our designs are justifiable — that we should understand the whole system — is, in fact, impossible. We need to make the lack of comprehensiveness of our designs transparent so that we can easily reflect on their limitations. A good way of doing this is to expose our designs to the “enemies” of the systems approach and learn from what they have to say about them.


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