A Systems Model of Thinking

One way to think about our thinking is to use a systems approach.

Classically a system consists of an input, some sort of process and an output.

And a feedback loop.

Let’s then use this approach to design a systems model of thinking (see the model).


These might include such factors as:

  • Data
  • Information
  • Customer or User Research
  • Consumer or Technology Trends
  • The problem, challenge or opportunity itself

The Process

These inputs are then processed according to a thinking box.

This box is a semi-structured series of patterns consisting of:

  • past experiences
  • assumptions
  • beliefs
  • group or team norms
  • expectations

This thinking process box is fast, efficient and works well in a stable environment (i.e. little or no changes).

Which then leads to some thinking outputs such as:

  • ideas
  • solutions
  • opportunities
  • actions

There is also a feedback loop back in the system which reinforces our thinking box and what inputs we tend to see, take notice of and what weight we give these.

Together, the inputs, process, outputs and feedback form a systems model of thinking.


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