UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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UNIVERSITY

OF

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA




Systems Thinking


SAE 599



Jim Hines
,
Gerald Nadler
















Systems Thinking




"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of
thinking we used when we
created them."























Albert
Einstein



With rapid changes in science, technology and the internet, the amount of information made
available
doubles every two to five years.
1

How does one keep current with an overload of data?
How does one decipher, process, organize, and structure that data into learned knowledge that
can be used to solve problems and make decisio
ns? Engineers must deal with these concerns
when developing solutions to technical challenges. Additionally, in an environment of increasing
global competition and frequent development program failures, engineers are pressured to be
more innovative in thei
r solutions.


Too often, however, engineers solve problems by utilizing overly narrow, comfortable, and quick
reductionist approaches that inadequately deal with today's complex, dynamic and diverse
problems. Reductionist problem solving methods focus on
collecting data to improve system
components and assume the overall system will improve as a result. However, that strategy often
misses important interactions between system components and emergent, "big picture" system
-
level effects. As a result, reducti
onist approaches often perform inadequately when applied to
problems of high complexity.SAE 599 Systems Thinking presents an alternative to reductionist
methods. It will introduce students to fundamental concepts of learning, problem solving,
decision
-
maki
ng and thinking patterns, with a focus on systems thinking. Students will learn to
approach problems holistically, looks for patterns and balance interrelationships between system
components to achieve creative and effective solutions. Emphasis is placed o
n systems thinking
fundamentals: defining problem situations from a systems perspective, describing and modeling
problem situations, and designing and improving upon system solutions. Upon completion of the
course, students will have a framework of concept
s, methods, and tools that have been
successfully applied to develop complex systems across a variety of industries including
aerospace, energy, transportation, health care, and security.



1.
Abdullah, M.L. “
Productivity Improvement in the Service Sector
”, Asian Productivity Organization,
Jan.2005

2. Murnane, R. and Levy. F. “Teaching the New Basic Skills Principles for Educating Children to Thrive
in a Changing Economy”. New York The Free Pres. 1996




Course Learning Objectives


After completing this co
urse students will be able to:



Provide an overview
on

cognitive psychology aspects of

learning and thinking (
concept
formation problem solving, and decision making
)



Discuss h
ow engineers

architect


and design solutions



Understand the history and evolution of systems thinking



Get a perspective on complexity

and
chaos and on
solving
those type of

problems



Establish a basic understanding of
various
systems thinking
methodologies (hard, soft
,

meta) and processes
.



Examine sy
stems architecting & engineering methods



Identify

various tools to facilitate forming concepts, solving problems and making
decisions



Evaluate when it is appropriate to apply
analysis
thinking methods, i.e. reductionist
methods (ex. data collection, scient
ific method,
etc.) as opposed

to applying systems
thinking methods (ex.
Systems Engineering,

Breakthrough Thinking/
Smart Questions,
etc.)



Describe and model solutions that will enable system thinking
(
ex.
m
ind maps, feedback
& causal loops, behavior over t
ime diagrams, etc.)



Apply
the Smart Questions phases

to various problems. (
socio
-

technical, supply chain,
value chain /

lean, etc.)



Translate system thinking objectives into a problem statement that can be solved by
traditional engineering disciplines
(EE, ME, CE, CECS, ISE, Sciences etc.)


Biographies:

Instructors

Jim Hines:
Adjunct Associate Professor;

Over 30 years of industrial experience working for
Alcoa, Colt Industries, LTV Aerospace and the Boeing Company.

Mr. Hines recently r
etired
from the Boeing
after
~20 years. Prior to retiring he was

the
systems engineering
director of the
Huntington Beach site
and
the
Boeing
enterprise systems engineering skill leader.

Mr. Hines

has
Engineering Master
Degrees

in Ceramic Science, Metallur
gy, Engineering Management, and a
MBA
.

Dr. Gerry Nadler:
Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering and

IBM Chair Emeritus in Engineering Management
. Academically, Dr. Nadler has been an
instructor at Purdue, Professor and department chair a
t Washington University, University of
Wisconsin
-
Madison, and USC and served in five invited (four abroad) visiting professorships.
Professionally on three advisory boards in areas of planning and design methods and
management, president of international I
nstitute of Industrial Engineers, chair of four national
conferences, over 800 lectures and keynote addresses, over 25 international and national awards,
including election to the National Academy of Engineering, author of 14 books and over 225
articles
.
Master’s

and
Doctoral degree
s were

awarded from Purdue University

Guest Lecturers

Dr. Heidi Davidz:

Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Manager at Pratt & Whitney
Rocketdyne at NASA Stennis Space Center. ACE is the operating system used to drive
contin
uous improvement and business results
. She has previously worked for Aerospace
Corporation and GE Aircraft engines.
H
er doctoral degree
was awarded
in the Engineering
Systems Division (ESD) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with sponsorshi
p
from the Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI)

Michael Hogan:
Boeing Engineer.

W
orks to help engineering teams at the Boeing Company
continuously improve their product development processes.

His experience has crossed all
phases of the Systems Engineering lifecycle from concept developm
ent through customer
validation. Previously Mr. Hogan worked on the Army’s Future Combat System

Program
.

Michael is also the acting Western Region Vice Presi
dent for the Institute of Industrial
Engineers
. He holds Master and Bachelor degrees in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the
University of Southern California.

Dr.
Richard John:

Associate Professor of Psychology
,
Chair of the

University Park Institut
ional
Review Board (UPIRB) and affiliated with CREATE
-

Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of
Terrorism Events
, has present numerous conference papers and written several book chapters
and journal articles in field of quantitative psychology
. Doctoral d
egree was awarded from
University of Southern California.

Paul Newton:
Senior Operational Concept Analyst for
Boeing's Research & Technology
organization where he is part of an internal consulting group

that

applies
the
feedback thinking

of system dynamics
, via

computer
simulation
,

to business strategy

across the Boeing enterprise.
He holds an M.S. in structural engineering from N.C. State University
, and is ABD for a

M.Phil
in system dynamics from the University of Bergen in Norway
.

Theodore K. Mayeshiba
:
Lecturer in the USC Daniel J. Epstein School of Industrial and
Systems Engineering and a Principal of Action Consulting & Training, a nationwide consulting
firm based in Irvine, CA.

Ted has taught and implemented Lean events for companies as diverse
as Gil
lette, Tennaco, Disney, Johnson Controls and Boeing.

Mr. Mayeshiba has his MBA from
the University of Southern California.


Grading:


Midterm



2
0
%

Class Project


40
%

Exercises


4
0
%




Text Book
s
:


1.
Adams, J.L.
,

Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide
to

Better Ideas
, Third




Edition
,
Basic

Books; 1990

(Book)

2.
Kim, D. H.,
Systems Thinking Tools: A User’s Reference Guide
, Pegasus Communications,
Inc. 2000 (Book)

3.
Nadl
er. G. and Chandon,
Smart Questions: Learn to Ask the Right Questions




for Powerf
ul Results
, John Wiley and Sons, 2004
(Book)

4
.
Co
urse reader will
also
be assembled for this course.
This will expose students to a variety of
resource

materials including course slides



Website:

USC URL www.usc.edu/dept/engineering/Distance _Learning



Blackboard
https://learn.usc.edu


Administrative:



DEN Exams and Proctoring


Denexam@usc.edu
, (213) 821
-
3136



fax: (213) 821
-
0851



Technical Support

webclass@usc.edu




Online Services, Webcast Problems, Software Questions or General Technical


Departmental, Program and Student Advice:




(213) 821
-
1321



Mary Ordaz
, ISE Student Services Advisor
, 213
-
740
-
4886


Academic Integrity Statement

-

"The School of Engineering
adheres to the University's
policies and procedures governing academic integrity as described in USC Campus. Students are
expected to be aware of and to observe the academic integrity standards des
cribed in USC
Campus, and to expect those standards to be enforced in this course.


Students with Disabilities:

"Any Student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register
with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each s
emester. A letter of verification for
approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to
me (or to TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30
a.m.
-

5:00 p.m., Monday thro
ugh Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213)740
-
0776."







Course Structure:





Week


Topic


Assignment


Week Due


1


Thinking Concepts and Systems Thinking Terminology





2


What and Why Systems Thinking: A View from the Past to Present


Exercise
1


3


3


Dealing with Complexity and Chaos


Exercise 2


4


4


Processes & Methods I:

Types of Systems Thinking


Exercise 3


5


5


Processes & Methods II:

Systems Architecting & Engineering


Exercise 4


6


6


Processes & Methods III:

System Dynamics


Exercise 5


7


7


Systems Thinking Tools


Exercise 6


8


8


Midterm

& Project Selection





9


Smart Questions Case Study I:

Describing and Understanding the Problem


Project Part I:

Problem Statement


10


10


Smart Questions Case Study II:

Future
Solution


Project Part II:

Future Solution


11


11


Smart Questions Case Study III:

Living Solution for Today and Tomorrow


Project Part III:

Living Solution


12


12


Systems Implementation


Project Part IV:

Implementation


14


13


Research Needs
Regarding Future Systems Thinking and Next Steps






14


Class Project: Game Day


Project Part IV:

Presentation


15


15


Class Project: Presentations









Texts & Course Reader:
A course reader will be assembled for this course. The course reader
will expose students to
a variety of resource publications
with different perspectives.



SYSTEMS ARCHITECTING AND ENGINEERING PROGRAM RESEARCH PAPER
GUIDELINES


SOURCES
:

Students

must p
roperly reference all sources
. SAE Program uses

the turnitin.com service to look for matches with existing books, magazine and
newspaper articles, journals, prior student papers, and all Internet sources.



If

a student
directly quote
s text from a source,

they

must properly designate
quoted material “in quotation marks”
or in italics
, and give a citation for each
quotation via a footnote or a numbered reference. Please do not use in
-
text
(author
-
date) notation for citations. The amount of quoted text relat
ive to the total
text in your paper should be kept to a minimum
--

if excessi
ve; this will detract
from the
paper’s grade.


WARNING
: Failure to properly designate copy
-
and
-
pasted text will be
considered as a violation of academic integrity (see University
Policy Statements
at the beginning of this syllabus).
This includes quotations from your prior papers
(e.g. from SAE 549 or other classes)!


Remember students can build on their

own work from other classes, and from
other authors’

works, as long as they

pr
op
erly cite those references. The student

must not directly copy text

from those sources (unless properly marked and cited
as a quotation). Instead, you must add value by restating such work in your own
words plus your own enhancements, such that the com
bination has enhanced
relevance to this class.


The student

can directly copy gra
phics, tables, or figures if they

give a citation for
each copied item via a footnote or a numbered reference. Although there is no
limitation on
the amount of copied items,
the student’s

own artwork
--

however
crude yet clearly legible and illustrative
--

is always acceptable.


LIMITS
: The SAE Program

cannot accept a request to limit access to abstracts

or
research papers. Although the plan is not to disseminate student’s work

without
their permission, The SAE Program

cannot guarantee that other people (including
non
-
US citizens) will not view or handle your submitted materials. Thus
student

must not use classified, proprietary or company limited
-
distribution materials

in

the
ir coursework. If a student’s
employer requi
res review and approval for their

submitted materials (e.g. Public Affairs Office or Ex
port Compliance Review)
then the student

must obtain such approval within the deadlines listed in this
syllabus. As the appro
val practices in many companies may be time consuming,
the best practice is not to use company material at all.



Reference: Ken Cureton



Bibliography


1.

Russell L. Ackoff

(1999)
Ackoff's Best

NY: Wiley

2.

Virginia Anderson and Lauren Johnson (1997)
Systems Thinking Basics: From
Concepts to Causal Loops (
Pegasus)

3.

Robert Axelrod and Michael D. Cohen ( ) Harnessing Complexity

4.

Bela H. Banathy

(1996)
Designing Social Systems in a Changing World

NY: Plenum

5.

Bela H. Banathy

(2000)
The Guided Evolution of Society

NY: Plen
um/Kluwer
Academic

6.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy

(1968)
General System theory: Foundations, Development,
Applications
, George Braziller New York

7.

Barron, J.


2008, Th
inking and deciding, 4th ed.


Cambridge Univ Press

8.

Peter Checkland

(1981)
Systems Thinking, Systems Practice
. (Wiley)

9.

Peter Checkland

Jim Scholes (1990)
Soft Systems Methodology in Action
. (Wiley)
ISBN 0
-
471
-
92768
-
6


10.

Peter Checkland

Jim Sue Holwell (1998)
Information, Systems and Information
Systems
. (Wiley)
ISBN 0
-
471
-
95820
-
4


11.

Joseph O'Connor
,
Ian McDermott

(
1997
)
The Art of Systems Thinking: Revolutionary
Techniques to Transform Your Business and Your Life

HarperCollins.

12.

H.L. Davidz,
Enabling Systems Thinking To Accelerate The Development Of Senior
System
s Engineers
,
Doctor Of Philosophy In Engineering Systemsat The
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, February 2006

13.

Flood. R.L., Carson, E.R., Dealing with Complexity: An Introduction to the Theory
and Application of Systems Science, Plenum Press, N.Y., 19
90

14.

John Gall

(
1978
)

Systemantics

Pocket Books

15.

Jamshid Gharajedaghi
Systems (2005) Thinking, Second Edition: Managing Chaos
and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture (
Butterworth
-
Heinemann
)

16.

Charles L. Hutchins

(1996)
Systemic Thinking: Solving Complex Problems

CO:PDS
ISBN 1
-
888017
-
51
-
1


17.

Hitchins, D.K., Advanced Systems Thinking, Engineering, Management, Artech
House, Boston, 2003

18.

Michael C. Jackson ( ) Systems Thinking; Creative Holism for Managers

19.

Bradford Keeney

(1983)
Aesthetics of Change

Guilford Press

20.

Keeney, R.


1992, Value focused thinking.


Harvard Univ. Press

21.

Daniel H. Kim

Introduction to Systems Thinking (
Pegasus Communications Inc.)

22.

Daniel H. Kim (1995) "Systems Thinki
ng Tools: A User's Reference Guide" Part of
the Toolbox Reprint Series. (Pegasus Communications Inc.)

23.

Draper Kauffman ( ) System One and System Two

24.

M. Davidson, Uncommon sense: The life and thought of Ludwig von Bertalanffy,
Father of General Systems The
ory (J. P. Tarcher, Inc)

25.

Gerald Nadler, Shozo Hibino (1999) Creative Solution Finding: The Triumph of
Breakthrough Thinking over Conventional Problem Solving Prima Publishing

26.

Gerald Nadler, William Chandon ((2004) Smart Questions: Learn to Ask The Right
Qu
estions For Powerful Results John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

27.

Tom Ritchey (2002)
General Morphological Analysis: A General Method for Non
-
Quantified Modelling


28.

Mitchell Res
nick ( ) Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams

29.

Peter M. Senge

(1990)
The Fifth Discipline
-

The Art & Practice of The Learning
Organization

(Currency Doubleday).

30.

Senge, Kleiner, Robert
s, Ross and Smith The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

31.

Sherwood, D.,

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: A Manager’s Guide to Applying
Systems Thinking
,

Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London, 2002

32.

Lars Skyttner (2006)
General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspective,
Practice

(World Scientific Publishing Company)
ISBN 9
-
812
-
56467
-
5


33.

Gerald
M. Weinberg

(
1975
)
An Introduction to General Systems Thinking

(1975 ed.,
Wiley
-
Interscience) (
2001

ed. Dorset House).

34.

Brian Wilson (Systems)

(1984)
Systems: Concepts, Methodologies and Applications
.
(Wiley)
ISBN 0
-
471
-
92716
-
3


35.

Brian Wilson (Systems)

(2001)
Soft Systems Methodology: Conceptual Model
Bu
ilding and its Contribution
. (Wiley)
ISBN 0
-
471
-
89489
-
3


36.

Midgley, G., Systems Thinking, Volume IV, Critical Systems Thinking and Systemic
Perspectives on Ethics,
Power and Pluralism, Sage Publications, 2003

37.

Skyttner, L., General Systems Theory: Ideas & Applications, Chapter 11: The Future
of Systems Theory, World Scientific, N.J., 2001

38.

Adams, James L.,
Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas, Third Edition
,
Addison
-
Wesley, 1990

39.

Cabrera, D., ”Patterns of Thinking: Essential Skills for the 21
st

Century,” 21
st

CENTURYTHINKER series, Nov. 15,2007

40.

English, L., Lesh, R., and Fennewald, T., “Future Directions and Perspectives for
Problem Solving Research and Curri
culum Development, ICME, 2008

41.

Paul, R.,
Persson, A.,
Boyadjain
,
B.,
Create Fun @ Work: Improve your productivity,
quality of life, and the morale of those around you
, Knowledge Capture & Transfer,
1999.