5 Differences between complexity & systems thinking


Often people see complexity as a subset or slight variation on systems thinking, but the author of this article draws some clear distinctions between the two concepts.

More Beyond

Over the last 10 days I’ve had the privilege of accompanying Prof Dave Snowden to various workshops and client meetings in Johannesburg & Cape Town.  It’s been almost 5 years since his last visit, so it was really great to catch up on some of his new thinking.  We also connected with other people who’ve been involved in Cynefin since the early IBM days, so that was fun!

I’ve learnt so much, it’s enough to fill several posts!  But one of the learnings I find very useful is clarity Dave brings around the differences between Complexity thinking & Systems thinking.

Often people see Complexity as a subset or slight variation on Systems thinking, but Dave has drawn some clear distinctions that I find very useful.  These aren’t the only differences, but they’re the ones that remained top of mind:

1. Ideal future vs evolutionary potential of the present

Systems…

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