Daily Reading Notes

Thinking in Systems

Day 5

Posted on 2019-11-24

Systems work well because of three characteristics: resilience, self-organization, and hierarchy.

Although there are always limits to resilience, a resilient system can recover from unexpected events or damages.

A system gains resilience by having multiple feedback loops that can restore the system balance through different circumstances.

The system can gain more resilience by having backup loops, loops that can rebuild other feedback loops, or loops that can learn, grow, and evolve.

Resilience requires a level of chaos diminishes predictability and short term efficiency.

Because people desire predictability and optimization of a single outcome, they cause systems to lose their resilience.

Self-organizing systems can make their own structure more complex. This leads to systems that can evolve to find new and improved ways of going about their task.

Like with fractals, self-organization of a system produces complex results by following a set of simple rules.

Self-organization is often taken for granted, and because of this it gets sacrificed for the same reasons as resiliency.

Hierarchies naturally form in systems from the bottom up when a higher level system can help a lower system.

If any subsystem goal dominates the goal of the whole system, then the entire system becomes sub-optimized.

Thinking in Systems