As a matter of fact, system thinking is not an abstract idea or common thinking, but a very concrete and structured tool for the continuous improvement of practices in business, engineering and management. The system approach 2.0 allows us to separate and analyze administrative and engineering activities – by not only considering the "work" from project and process management or case management, but also by considering "practices" that are directly related to people's competencies and used work technologies.
Such new methodologies as Lean 2.0 (version for developers, not for conveyor mechanical engineering production), agile in software engineering, or the theory of Goldratt constraints are considered as "practices." Old known classical software engineering and the machine learning in nowadays world are represented as practices in the creation of information systems. New technologies are emerging and breathe new life into some long-established practices. So the practice of accounting in today world completely transforms into the technology of blockchain - the technology of distributed accounting.
But it must be understood very clearly that each of these very different practices, like any medicine, saves only "from its' illness." The world is full of trendy practices . It is important to learn how to manage not only projects and processes, but also practices, as well as technologies that support these practices. System thinking allows us to orient ourselves in the tangled world of new and old methods of work.
This kind of understanding of what is included in the specific activity of a professional or in the activity of the whole enterprise, as well as the ability to follow the numerous best practices can be seen as the first step on the way of setting in stone system thinking. These skills would be enough to become a qualified customer for future changes, correctly set tasks for consultants and employees, and most important not to make silly mistakes, not to waste time and money, including when choosing new management methods and introducing new technologies. This level of understanding of system thinking would also be enough for any employee to become noticeable in any team due to system thinking about the development of the enterprise or project.
The next stage of development of system thinking cannot occur without shift from understanding to the skills. And that is where you need to train the ability to see each enterprise as a combination of different practices and implement this kind of combination that will guarantee company the maximum success. For example, one enterprise can have simultaneous work of BIM with 3D design, benchmarking, agile and the Goldratt constraint theory all together. This combination of practices is a unique genome of the enterprise, consisting of separate practices-genes. System thinking helps to improve the genome: to understand how practices are combined with each other, which new practices should first be built into the functioning part of the enterprise, and which ones to stop perform immediately. It is quite risky to adopt new practice and technology without understanding how it will be combined with existing practices and with the current genome of your enterprise. The skill of system thinking allows to "build" an enterprise consciously, not by intuition or by using experience or the "everyday" understanding of the term "systematic".
Unfortunately, system thinking cannot be built into the brain for practical use in a few days. Moreover, there is no hope for traditional training courses. Learning system thinking is more like learning advanced math course. Modern civilization is based on advanced mathematics, but everyone realizes that it is not possible to master it in a week or two. There is no easy way. It takes considerable time, knowledge of the theory, habit of solving practice problems. Moreover, for the best result you would need to have a mentor who can help notice and correct mistakes in thinking. Not everyone is able to master advanced mathematics, just like not everyone is able to master system thinking. But just like in mathematics, anyone who has decided to change their thinking about management and engineering, can choose needed and approachable level of understanding, competence and skills of system thinking suitable for them personally.