Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Systems thinking summary - check, plan, do

I've just found this helpful summary of what systems thinking is and I've copied and pasted it below. You can find the original on the University's system thinking pages, there are also some pages on containing information and resources from last week's Why systems thinking conference (that I blogged about here).

We've done 1 and 2 of check but there's still plenty more to (plan and) do...


This involves the following stages:
  1. Identifying purpose of the system (e.g. admissions) from the student's perspective ('Make me a student')
  2. Analysing demand, e.g. value demand - 'I want to find out more about a course' and failure demand - 'I can't apply online', to identify what matters to the student
  3. Looking at our capability to respond to that demand
  4. Studying the flow of work; identifying value work and wasted work (e.g. duplication, handoffs)
  5. Identify what are the system conditions which prevent us from doing value work (e.g. process design, IT system, training)
  6. Look at the thinking behind the system conditions


This includes:
  1. Identifying the value steps (against what matters to a student)
  2. Identifying new operating principles and measures


This involves an experiment. The team who did the check will take a small number of students out of the current system, and using the newly identified operating principles will try and test new ways of working, solving problems along the way. The experiment allows a clean flow of work to be established. More will be rolled into the experiment and tried and tested. The experiment allows us to be clear about what capacity is required for a new way of working, what resources, roles and structures. At this point decisions are made about further roll-in.

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