Week 8: Systems Thinking and Critical Thinking

I am to contrast systems thinking and critical thinking however, I’m finding that they are connected and essential to each other.  I searched the internet for a few hours and watched many videos on system thinking.

Making Systems Thinking Sexy

This talk by Eli Stefanski provided me some insight into the systems thinking process, embedded norms, collaborative innovation, and how to experiment all the time.  Her comments reminded me of the paper we read on Chaos Theory and Complexity.

Eli talks about global giving.  Global giving is a platform for crowd funding to solve wicked challenges in the world today.  She shared how modifications to the platform, making it more user centric, made it a compelling solution.

In listening to her talk about the messiness of innovation, I found myself connecting with this sloppy, innovative process.  I see my PhD journey as a sloppy innovation, the creation of something new.  I’m noticing patterns in my work, behaviors, study habits, and how those relate to the larger process of learning.

TEDxDirigo – Eli Stefanski – Making Systems Thinking Sexy

Critical Thinking: What I’m learning about my own learning: emancipatory learning is often a difficult and painful process. 

I have struggled with thinking past the “obviousness” of systems thinking.  Look at the big picture, break it down into its parts and think about how the parts relate to the whole.  This is meant to help us better understand what it will take to change or modify systems.  I don’t mean that Systems thinking is obvious to everyone, but rather that it is “how” I think.  I’m very analytical and have to understand the big picture before I can get into the details.  I don’t have time for the wrong details and so that drives my thinking.  I think of every little cog turning the larger machine and I see this visually as I’m discussing concepts.  I will typically draw pictures on the white board in my office in order to share ideas with others.  This is also the approach that I take to critically think about actions, policies, project plans with interdependencies, how to manage my staff, and leading change in organizations.

Using Banathy’s environmental systems thinking approach, I analyzed the online instructor as a microsystem.  In doing so, I felt that I was stating the obvious.  I was certain that this approach was to simplistic and would not add value.  However, I was incorrect in my thinking.  When I shared this paper with a colleague at the office, I learned that it was a worthy piece and produced some interesting facts.  It may be necessary to state the obvious every now and then because what is obvious to some is not obvious to all.

I learned a little more about my learning journey and it reminds me of the video below.