APS Ltd.: Alan Paull Services

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Systems Thinking

What is a system and why think in them?

Most things can be thought of in terms of systems. Making a cup of tea is a system, which requires certain things (a cup, a kettle, water, tea), used in the right order to produce the required outcome. But the key with systems is how they relate to each other. Tea-making also exists in the kitchen system where the objects are kept, and which also has its own requirements. The kitchen itself is part of the wider house system, which is in turn connected to the local water and power systems which are necessary to make the tea.

By thinking about organisations and processes in terms of their wider and narrower systems, it is much easier to see that no process or organisation works in isolation. It helps to break down the "silo" mentality that often becomes prevalent in large organisations in particular.

Our expertise

As an external organisation it is often much easier for us to gain perspective on issues in terms of their interconnected systems than for someone inside the organisation. We look at connections between all relevant parts of the organisation, depending on the project, and seek out stakeholders with the knowledge and expertise we need. With our experience in technical and non-technical fields, we can often bridge gaps, and break down walls that have arisen due to differences in specialist language. As external partners we can also often be a neutral, listening party in delicate relationships between different parts of an organisation in order to foster a more positive and team-oriented approach to difficult areas.

We've worked on major projects with:

...all our clients! We use systems thinking approaches throughout our work.