Systems thinking and intelligence


Quoting a research paper’s abstract.

“Better performing subjects attempted to gain an understanding of the system structure before they proceeded to develop strategies and take action.

The findings revealed a cyclical thought pattern that was consistently followed by better performing participants. This pattern, termed the CPA cycle, consists of three distinct phases of conception, planning, and action.

This research contributes to the fields of systems thinking and complex decision making by integrating knowledge and methodology from several disciplines including psychology, management and IT.

The managerial and organizational implications of the research are compelling and invite further research in this nascent field.”

(Whittman and Hattrup, 2004).

Great but what does that mean for an innovator?

Well, products and features that enhance the user’s ability to use systems thinking may be of value as systems thinking gains recognition on the wider social spectrum.

Services that take on a holistic perspective of their services and user experience should improve and discover new value.

Educators may want to focus on including this type of thinking in their critical thinking and problem-solving syllabus.


Wittmann, Werner W. and Keith Hattrup.(2004). The Relationship Between Perfomance in Dynamic Systems and Intelligence. Systems research and Behavioral Science. 21, 393-409.

Highly recommended:

Wikipedia’s “Thinking Portal”  >>

Related in this blog:

The bipolar culture (how either/or logic is used to limit our thought and a diagram of fractal logic networks)

200+ types of human intelligence >>

Fractal logic >>

How to think like Einstein >>

An open thought system? (diagram) >>

Synectics >>

Horizontal and Vertical thinking >>
information architect

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