Systems Thinking the move for Digital Transformation

Systems Thinking is a method that involves the belief that problems can be answered or new ideas generated by considering them as a System. A System is a product composed of objects or components that form a whole. A System can include objects, people, places or events. Each component is interlinked in some way and influences the other components. Meaning, if we change one element, the other parts will be affected, and therefore, they will need to be adjusted. 

To transform our businesses, to embark in the Digitalisation Roadmap, we need to use the Systems Thinking methodology ultimately. We need to look at the process as a whole and remember that this transformation will affect all aspects of our business. It will impact our operational processes, people, customers, and even the current business model. 

We can indeed start with small steps, trying to affect the least amount of areas at once. We will need to experience it, learn as we go, and then adjust it as we go. But in the end, the business of the future will need to address all aspects of the organization, definitely our customers, processes and the business model. 

Besides, Systems Thinking should allow us to zoom out and let us take a look at the bigger picture. It is not just bounded on how it will impact our business. We also need to see how these changes will impact our environment, our society, and our values. Systems Thinking is beyond the boundary of the business, and we will need to consider every stakeholder, every person, and organization that is affected by our transformation. 

“Systems Thinking is like playing Chess”

(Shelton, 2013)

After reading Ted Shelton’s book, The Business Model for Social Mobile Cloud, it convinced me, that “Systems Thinking is like playing Chess”. As a regular chess player, I also train myself to play chess. In the same way, we also have to prepare ourselves for Systems Thinking. It is a process that we start by seeing the end-game, and using the tools and Information that are available to us to helps us make the right decisions. (Shelton, 2013)

Big data, and Artificial Intelligence and other Information technologies are providing us with the tools to collect Information and even behaviour patterns that will support us to be able to do better Systems Thinking. The appropriate Information can assist us in creating a 3D model, and the right data visualization, which will help us solve our problems.

As a takeaway from Ted Shelton’s chapter on Systems Thinking, from his book, Business Model for Social Mobile Cloud, we can conclude that for Systems Thinking we need to start with the end in mind. The clearer the business objectives are, the middle and the beginning will become more evident. Success will come in defining the right Information needed to make the right decisions. It will help us find the adequate technology to collect and analyze the data. It will clarify what tools are required to display the results. The right decision will be made by how good we utilize the Information for reaching our ultimate goal.


Shelton, T., 2013. Systems Thinking. In: Business Model for the Social Mobile Cloud: Transform your Business using Social Media, Mobile Internet, and Cloud computing. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc., pp. 141 – 148.

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