Tool: Second-Order Thinking

Second-Order Thinking is a general category of thinking tools that focuses on deeper dynamics of complex organizations, drivers of certain system behaviors and qualitatively new properties that emerge as a result of change. Second-order thinking is the extreme opposite to Easy Pill and Isolated Thinking anti-patterns.  Following are some examples of Second-Order Thinking tools:

Second-Order Thinking tools are typically not required in simpler systems. However, modern organizations entail substantial inherent complexity and therefore are neither deterministic, nor linear in their behavior. Moreover, qualitatively new behaviors emerge at the system level that cannot be observed at examination of the organizational components. This requires thinking to cross the simplistic boundaries of visible factors and consider indirect relationship and connections in the system.

 

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