In our latest podcast, coach Simon Gough explains what is Systems Thinking and how it makes Design Thinking projects more successful.

What is a System? Photo by Mike from Pexels

A car is a system. All parts need to work to make the car work. Photo by Mike from Pexels

Simon Gough is an experienced design consultant, facilitator, trainer, speaker and writer with clients ranging from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies to central government. He also teaches our Systems Thinking three-day course. In the latest Design Thinkers podcast, Simon starts by defining what exactly is a system.

“When we think about something like a car, we have to imagine that there’s something which needs all of its parts to work together in order to function. So it’s a useful definition, you know, [a system is] a set of kind of parts that have relationships that work together that allow something to function.”

So what is Systems Thinking?

Simon Gough says Systems Thinking is the power to see how systems work together and affect one another.

“Systems Thinking is a way of seeing the whole, in other words, how parts work together in order for us to [have a] better understanding of what will happen if we make a change.”

“So… we start to get this perspective on things, which allows us to see the parts, how they work together, more importantly, and how whole systems kind of interact with each other and fit within each other.”

How Systems Thinking and Design Thinking work well together

Systems Thinking therefore allows us to look at what happens if we change something, how it may affect other areas, for the better, or even the worse. So apart from helping come up with more effective solutions, and avoid negative unintended consequences, how else can Systems Thinking help Design Thinking?

“We can kind of increase our toolkit and portfolio of things that we can do… to collaborate better, to get different perspectives from different people to understand exactly what these systems look like, that gives us a really good starting point for Design Thinking projects and any kind of improvement project.”


Systems thinking allows better collaboration

Project teams can benefit from different perspectives on systems.


The Podcast


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