A Different Approach to a New Year: the Ham Systems Think!

What is the most important aspect of life?  Having fun! (Of course!).

Perhaps it is unusual to wax philosophical in an amateur radio forum, but I am going out on a limb to share a perspective that hopefully is refreshingly new and full of life:  Systems thinking — an amateur radio approach.

What I’m sharing herein, I find very intenseinvigoratingchallenging, and motivational! The more I think about amateur radio with this perspective–the Systems Thinking perspective–the more fun I’m able to define, and then accomplish.

In my opinion, this approach to life is REVOLUTIONARY! Why isn’t this knowledge distributed far and wide?  Why aren’t these precepts taught in the schools for young children, so that they can be equipped for a life full of accomplished purpose?  Perhaps it is due to the deceptive simplicity of approaching life with the perspective of Systems Thinking.

SYSTEMS THINKING AND AMATEUR RADIO

Systems Thinking and Ham Radio

Amateur Radio as a Service – a System, not a Collection

What is Systems Thinking?

In a very simplistic sense, a system is any group of parts that make up one complex whole.  Each part cannot function as the whole, and each part interacts with other parts, such that this behavior affects that end result which is expressed by the whole.

Think about a motorcycle.  Let’s play with that thought: I disassemble my motorbike in your living room.  Once the bike completely taken apart and the parts are scattered all over your living room floor, can any one of those parts support my riding it out to the countryside, and back again?  No.  Only the bike can act, when it is made whole again, as a motorbike.  But, even if the individual parts, doing their part well, try to be the bike all by themselves, but fail, in the end realize that the parts are very important.  Each part has a place and a job.  Each part belongs.

By now, as you think about this, you probably realize that there is a difference between collections, and systems, of course.  A bag of rocks is not a system.  A motorcycle is a system.  A bag of motorbike parts is not a motorbike.  The assembly of the motorbike parts does make a motorcycle.

What does this have to do with amateur radio?

The amateur radio service (hobby) is a system, not a collection.  There are many parts–and one of the most important component of the amateur radio system is you and me.  We interact with each other, exchanging knowledge, reports, friendships; we each function, lending our functioning the the autonomous self, the amateur radio service.

It takes more than one of us to make up the amateur radio service.  It would take at least two amateur radio operators, at the most extreme emaciated existence as a public service. It is obvious that one ham, all by herself, does not make the amateur radio service.  No one of us is the amateur radio service, by ourselves.  We need each other in order to have a ham radio community–the amateur radio service.  Ourselves, our radios, antennas, computers, knowledge, schedules, and so on, are all parts of the big system with which we participate in our community.

Let that sink in.

Ponder the long-term repercussions of this revelation:  We need each other, and we need our resources (time, skills, knowledge, radios, etc.).

How do we shape our System?  What will elevate our System so that it is effective?  And, so we begin to do this, SYSTEMS THINKING.

Please read, and ponder these thoughts, as you read through this article:

https://thesystemsthinker.com/a-lifetime-of-systems-thinking/

Additionally, you should check out this video–it is  great!

Bonus (not necessary but still VERY good deeper dive):

In my estimation, Dr. Russell Ackoff is amazingly wise, and inspiring!

SYSTEMS THINKING

At the moment, I am studying and trying to implement system thinking.  It is the topic I am mostly studying right now.

The following is an introduction to Systems Thinking:

https://thesystemsthinker.com/

Download this useful paper that helps you understand system thinking:

http://nw7us.us/systems-thinking/Introduction-to-Systems-Thinking-IMS013Epk.pdf

I would very much like to hear your thoughts on all of this.  Seriously.  Take your time.  But, let’s start wading through this pool of refreshing water…

Happy New Year!

Tomas Hood
NW7US

Addendum:  I do not necessary agree with every perspective, conclusion, or point made by Dr. Russell Ackoff.  Never-the-less, the overarching idea of systems thinking seems valid, and is worth considering.

 

Visit, subscribe: NW7US Radio Communications and Propagation YouTube Channel

3 Responses to “A Different Approach to a New Year: the Ham Systems Think!”

  • ZL1GWE:

    I studied Soft System Thinking methodology with the Open University in the 80′ and 90’s. You should look up Peter Checkland the University of He also taught the subject within the Master of Science degree I did in the 90’s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Checkland

    73

    de ZL1GWE

    JOhn

  • John:

    many thanks for the information regarding Soft System Thinking, and Peter Checkland.

    I’ve had some negative responses to my thoughts on this. But, I strongly maintain that our approach to amateur radio (collectively from a policy perspective, from a promotional perspective, and from an educational perspective) should think of the hobby and activity as an expression of humanity coming from the “system” of individual amateur radio operators all who have distinct skills, interests, issues, limitations, ideals, etc. We are NOT a collection of individuals, but a complex community. And, we need each other — it is a hobby about communication. Communication requires more than the single participant, if a QSO exists.

    Now, I am rambling. I’d love to chat about it, with you.

    Cheers and 73 de NW7US dit dit

  • Addendum:  I do not necessary agree with every perspective, conclusion, or point made by Dr. Russell Ackoff.  Never-the-less, the overarching idea of systems thinking seems valid, and is worth considering.

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