Integrated Systems

 

 

‘Dynamics’ signifies the coordination of processes at the systems level.

All natural systems have processes that integrate dynamics at the systems level. In terrestrial ecosystems fire events can cause changes in species composition that favor more future fire events, starting a positive feedback loop that amplifies fire frequency. Small adjustments over many iterative cycles  can lead systems to adapt considerably over time to events like climate change or soil fertility decreases. What role do systems dynamics play within systems?  Think about what it would be like within an organisation if there was no way for feedback to be given or received by anyone. How would this effect the ability to adjust operations to suit new conditions? How does feedback operate to either enhance or diminish a process within a system? What effect does making small changes over many cycles have versus making a dramatic change over a relatively short period of time? How could you balance existing Dynamics or integrate new ones into a system in your life to improve how it is organisied? How do Dynamics serve to coordinate systems?

Pattern:

The arrows leading around a coordinated circuit illustrate the integration and coordination of processes at the systems level. The two inner shapes represent ‘parts’ which are encompassed by the larger oval into a ‘whole’ system.

The Dynamics Pattern is closely related to and serves as an aspect of the Source Pattern, the most foundational organising principle within PatternDynamics.

Definition:

Any process that coordinates processes at the systems level.

Description:

The Dynamics Pattern represents integrated and coordinated systemic functioning. Systemic dynamics work to refine and adjust the coordination of elements and processes and their relationships through feedback mechanisms, iterative refinements, synergies and spontaneous adaptations. Small changes to systemic dynamics can have great effect and overuse may throw systems out of balance.

Principle:

The principle of systemic refinement: the enduring health of a system depends on the appropriate balance and integration of the use of refinements to adjust the coordination and integration of system processes, for a given context.

Composition:

The Dynamics Pattern is a major aspect of Source, the most foundational organising pattern of all systems. Click here to view Charts illustrating Pattern composition and their relationships.

Examples:

Organism: The human nervous system is constantly taking measurements of ambient temperature which then feeds back to adjust activity levels and the body’s metabolic rate. If the iteration period of cycles of adjustment is left too long the system will swing wildly from extreme to extreme. If the cycles are too frequent the system will become stressed from the constant activity of adjustment.

Ecosystem: Coral Reefs are formed by a symbiotic relationship between a calcium carbonate secreting polyp and a photosynthetic algae which lives within its tissues. This dynamic synergy allows these tiny creatures to build vast reef systems. If the individual organisms give up too much autonomy the reef system will lose adaptability. If the different organisms do not cooperate fully enough a reef system will not be possible.

Organisation: Adjustments to business systems over many cycles helps improve organisational performance. If the cycles of adjustment are too frequent, too much energy is used up in making adjustments and not enough is available for productive activity. If the cycles are too infrequent, the organisation may drift off course and lose market share.

Economy: Central banking institutions provide feedback that adjusts the rate of growth in the economy through the manipulation of interest rates. If the central bank cuts prime lending rates too much the economy will overheat as businesses borrow money and expand their operations. If the bank is too slow to cut rates during a slowdown the economy may go into recession.