How systems and strategic thinking work together to improve interventions in complex enterprises

A story in the strategy literature likens the goal of an integrated framework for strategy and execution to the parable of four blind men getting to know an elephant¹. It suggests we may never see it. On the other hand, case studies in the systems literature tell stories of building complex systems dynamically while requirements continue to develop. In that sense, strategy and execution live as one. Their parable is one of building the aircraft 'in the air', and many of these stories are made real for very tangible yet complex systems every day.

So, how to combine learning from the systems world into the management world to improve systemic interventions for complex enterprises? This is the keynote question.

The keynote will outline a framework for systemic intervention in complex enterprises with a mix of hard, soft and critical systems methodologies. The stories that make the systems framework real come from the health domain. Well ahead of other health services a decade ago, New Zealand investigated the capacity and capability of the NZ Health system to respond to serious and unusual emergencies.

Will the framework apply more generally? It appears to.

Keynote abstract IEEE 9th International System of Systems Engineering Conference

[1] Mintzberg, H., B. Ahlstrand, J. Lampel (1998) Strategy Safari – A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management The Free Press, New York