Example of emergence: Central Heating System. Components are radiators, boiler, water, thermostat and pump. Collection of components provide no functionality. When organised and interconnected in specific way they form a system with emergence of heat and hot water. The thermostat is the control mechanism, inputs from the environment are how warm it is and how hot the water is. Switches […]


Hierarchy determines the graded levels of systems and sub-systems. Need to decide how many levels of hierarchy to analyse: too few results in any overly simplistic analysis resulting in interconnections and complexity being misunderstood too many results in any overly complicated analysis resulting in too much detail obscuring key interconnections Example: Consider a school as a system Within the boundary […]

Environment and sub-system

Environment is context in which system operates and is major influence on system behaviour. System receives inputs from and provides outputs to environment. Systems change overtime. “What does the system interact with?” – no absolute answer. Depends on perspective taken. The same applies to the boundary too. Stakeholders have one view but asking whole group helps identify those elements that […]


Identifies limits of the system. Definition of boundary relates directly to system’s purpose. Inside boundary are elements/components that make up system and are within system’s control. Outside boundary is environment and the elements/components that are outside of the system’s control. Elements/components both inside and outside boundary can be used as system inputs and can also be influenced by it’s outputs. Analysing […]


When the system is able to control itself. May use feedback received to match against goals and objectives. If any discrepancies detected, system takes corrective action by changing outputs which, as a result, change the inputs. This occurs on a continuous basis depending on the feedback. Control is over-arching term that includes feedback. Control loop sometimes talked about rather than […]

DLM Dashboard from Redgate

This post will briefly explain what DLM Dashboard is, how to install it and initial configuration. Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) Dashboard from Redgate (available here) allows you keep an eye on your databases to ensure that they are in the desired state and that database drift is identified as early as possible. Database drift is how Redgate term the process […]


Feedback is an important Systems Thinking concept, it allows systems to keep a balance, or equilibrium. A system produces output in the environment which have an affect on the environment. This effects are reported back to the system by inputs. This feedback mechanism allows the system to manage itself so it can stay in a state of dynamic equilibrium. The […]

10,000 views – THANK YOU!

Just a short post to say thank you to those who have taken the time to visit my blog, I have now just passed 10,000 views which I find quite amazing! It is interesting to look over some of the stats for the past few years… Country most visited from is India followed by United States for both 2015 and 2014 […]

Input & Output

Open system takes inputs from environment and produces outputs to same environment. Example: manufacturing organisation takes inputs such as human resources, physical resources, capital and technology. Output would be such as a product.


System has a purpose – to achieve this, system will have goals and objectives. Goals and objectives are specific & achievable outcomes against which the system can be measured. Examples include sales figures, market share and profit margins.