Systems Thinking: The Essence and Foundation

Systems Thinking: The Essence and Foundation

“It is the most holisticly integrated organizing framework available”


The Systems Thinking Approach® is synonymous with Systems Thinking and Strategic Thinking. In essence, Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking view individuals and organizations within the context of their environments.

As such, people and an organization do not exist as an island unto themselves, but as part of a larger network, web or matrix of systems that all function, more or lessindependently, yet interdependently.

We, at the Haines Centre for Strategic Management, like to use the analogy of getting a “Helicopter View” of situations, because from a height of 5,000 feet (or more) it is much easier to see the bigger picture.

This allows a more effective perspective on defining and achieving the purposes and results that maximize an individual’s and an organization’s presence and success in the marketplace.


Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking is based on the work of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the father of our Systems Thinking Approach®. His pioneering work in forming The Society for General Systems Research conceived the Science of Systems Thinking as a Unity of Sciences.

It is directly applicable to the way all human beings, teams and organizations function, much as natural systems do. Underlying these systems are complexities (represented in our studies by the Rubiks Cube) that have, at their heart, simple, fundamental foundations.

By grasping the fundamentals and essence of how an organization works, as a system within a set of larger systems, it is possible to work through the complexity and arrive at real, effective solutions to difficult individual, business or organizational problems. In The Systems Thinking Approach®, we see this as“Simplicity on the Far Side of Complexity”.


Systems Thinking Press

  • For a more detailed description, analysis, and in-depth set of resoures, please refer to our sister Business Unit, Systems Thinking Press, for the most comprehensive portal to Strategic Thinking and Systems Thinking products, disscussions, and resources in the world at our World-Wide Portal (over 200 sites).
    • All of the materials and presentations offered by the Centre are based on the Science of Systems Thinking: “the Natural Way the World Works.”

Simplicity of Systems Thinking

  • Click Here for Top 10 Every Day tools for Systems Thinking

“The Systems Thinking concept was introduced to the leadership team at our company by Eric and Jeri Denniston (Haines Centre). Although deceptively simple in concept, the rigor it introduces to the planning process is both powerful and clarifying. The template is adaptable to both short-range and long-range planning and has become the guide for strategic and project planning in our company.”
— Bruce W. Hueners. President, Palomar Technologies