Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Monday 10 September 2018

Changing our concept of the world

In Ackoff’s Best His Classic Writings on Management (1999), he shares a way of thinking that as fascinated me for years. It can be used for problem solving and has helped me manage database systems for years. It is about looking at things in a holistic way.  This way of thinking, synthesis, often yields contradictory or conflicting results to traditional analytical thinking. Systems thinking, as it is known, helps expand your viewpoint considering the holistic nature of the environment. Ackoff shared the difference between the two modes of thinking: 

Machine Age Thinking (Analysis)
Synthesis (Systems Thinking)
Analysis precedes synthesis
Synthesis precedes analysis
Focuses on structure
Focuses on function
Reveals how things work
Reveals why things operate as they do
Yields knowledge
Yields understanding
Enables us to describe
Enables us to explain
Looks into things
Looks out of things
Iteration of the parts of the thing to be explained
Iteration of the parts of the thing to be explained, interactions between things in its environment and with its environment itself concerned with functional interaction of the parts of system
Break down large complex problems into solvable or manageable parts outputs assembled into a solution of the whole
Some of the best solution obtained from the parts taken separately is not the best solution of the whole.
The best performance of the whole can be reduced to the sum of the best performance of its parts taken separately
Asserts this is not possible
Reduces the focus of the investigator
Expands it focus of the investigator

As a result, I never look only at the immediate problem but consider all of the interconnecting parts.

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