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Systems Theory

3 Examples of a Systems Perspective

A systems perspective is the use of systems theory and systems thinking to formulate ideas, solve a problem or make a decision. Systems are things that have many parts that interact in complex ways such as a society, market or ecosystem. These systems tend to be more than their parts such that they can't be understood with basic approaches such as analysis. The following are illustrative examples of a systems perspective.

Chaos Theory

Chaos theory is the ability for a single element to completely change the future of a system. This is one of the reasons that systems can't understood with analysis -- the process of breaking things down into their component parts to try to understand them. For example, a single American youth could someday become president of the United States such that they may transform the future of the world in some way. This makes systems difficult to predict such that changes to systems are also difficult to predict.

First Principles

First principles are theories with broad explanatory power that you know to be true or hold to be true. For example, the principle that environmental restoration involves returning an ecosystem closer to its original pristine state. This may seem obvious or simplistic but is broadly applicable in solving environment problems.


Elegance is the simplicity on the other side of complexity. The ability to see elegant solutions is a hallmark of systems thinking. For example, a solution to ocean plastic such as making all firms that produce plastic products or packaging responsible and accountable for retrieving and recycling those materials. This is known as extended producer responsibility.
Overview: Systems Perspective
The use of systems theory and systems thinking to formulate ideas, solve a problem or make a decision.
Related Concepts

Systems Theory

This is the complete list of articles we have written about systems theory.
Chaos Theory
New Complexity
Quality Of Life
Slippery Slope
Sum of Parts
Systems Perspective
Systems Theory
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Systems Theory

The definition of systems theory with examples.

Sum of Parts

The definition of sum of parts with examples.

Positive Feedback Loop

The definition of positive feedback loop with examples.

System Opposite

A list of antonyms of system.

Systems Examples

An overview of systems with a list of examples.

Spontaneous Order

An overview of spontaneous order.


The definition of self-organization with examples.

Systems Thinking

A guide to systems thinking.

Examples of Problems

An overview of common types of problems.


The definition of context with examples.

Working Backwards

Full examples of working backwards.

Physical System

An overview of physical systems with examples.

Real World

An overview of the real world with examples.

Complex Things

A list of complex things.

Is Complexity Good

An overview of complexity and its pros and cons.

Common Sense

An overview of common sense with examples.

Fluid Intelligence

An overview of fluid intelligence with examples.


A general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem.
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