Systems thinking, a holistic approach to problem-solving, is gaining traction in public policy. This approach considers the interconnectedness of parts within a system and how they interact to create the overall behaviour of the system. It allows for a broader perspective, tackling multiple issues simultaneously and anticipating potential pitfalls. Yet, there’s a balance to be struck between embracing systems thinking and not losing sight of common sense.

Common sense, the ability to make sound judgements based on a simple perception of the situation, is often overlooked in favour of more complex models. The danger lies in overcomplicating solutions and losing sight of the human element. It’s essential to remember that behind every system are people, whose behaviours and decisions can’t always be accurately predicted by models.

The challenge is to combine systems thinking with common sense, integrating complex models with an understanding of human behaviour. This combination can lead to more robust and effective solutions, avoiding the pitfalls of focusing too much on either side. It’s not a question of choosing between systems thinking and common sense, but rather integrating them to create a more comprehensive approach to problem-solving.

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