Introducing situations cleanly

In Systems Thinking in Practice, we tend to refer to the ‘object’ of our inquiries as ‘situations’.  There are variations on this term such as problematic situations, situations of interest or situations of concern which I have discussed in previous posts such as the ones in this search result.

In everyday situations, we tend to introduce situations with quite a long explanation.  We often talk about how we think the situation came about, what the impact is and so on.  We may even force a certain framing on the situation through phrases like “by saying x I mean y angle, not really z”.  The difficulty I experience when people do this is it can be hard to really understand the focal point of their concern because they are bringing in lots of different angles.  I also think that the person themself may not actually have got to the point where they have actually distilled the focal point of their concern.  When this way of introducing situations is done, it also mixes up the introduction with the start of an analysis or understanding of the situation – an understanding that may have come about without using systems concepts and approaches as epistemic devices. Continue reading