I A Frame of Reference for Systemic Decision Making

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Abstract The first step in addressing a problem is recognizing you have one. It is with this notion in mind that the authors begin their discussion. This chapter begins with the fundamental tenet of systemic decision making, which we term the TAO approach, a general approach for increasing our understanding about problems that is invoked throughout the text. Then, a discussion of systems errors is presented.

The TAO Approach

As we said before, we have all got problems. Some are big; some are small. Some are fleeting, while some are nagging and persistent. All could benefit from a structured way of reasoning about them. To that end, we provide a general approach for improved understanding that we call the TAO approach, for think, act, and observe. The idealized relationship between these elements is pictured in Fig. 1.1. Ideally, these steps would progress in a linear fashion in a manner that maximized understanding and minimized wasted effort due to rework. The reality is, however, that real-world decision making is rarely this smooth, as we will see as the topics in this book unfold. Our aim throughout this text is to provide information to assist the reader in completing each of the think, act, and observe stages. Chapters 6 through 11 in Part II will detail those steps necessary for systemic thinking, Chaps. 12-14 in Part III discuss systemic action, and Chaps. 15 and 16 in Part IV address systemic observation.

Knowing that we have problems and more importantly, knowing that we need approaches to deal with these problems, requires us to first understand what systematic mistakes we make that may be avoided. To this end, we turn to a discussion of systems errors.

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

P.T. Hester and K.M. Adams, Systemic Decision Making, Topics in Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality 33, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-54672-8_1

Idealized TAO approach to increased understanding

Fig. 1.1 Idealized TAO approach to increased understanding

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