Thinking in systems allows you to view problems as parts of a whole and gives you a toolset to address those problems. In this activity, you will use your knowledge of systems-thinking methodologies to analyze a scenario and map the relationships between the parts of a system.
For this submission:
- Define key terms and concepts for systems thinking
- Using Microsoft Visio, map a given system and the relationships within it
- Describe the relationships and feedback loops present within the system
Specifically, the following must be addressed:
- Define the following systems-thinking concepts in your own words:
- Systems Thinking
- Feedback Loop
- Stock and Flow Diagram
- Causal Loop Diagram
- The following scenario describes the system used for fulfilling an online order at Lost Pines Outfitters, a medium-sized outdoor clothing store. Read this scenario and create a basic map of the system using Microsoft Visio.
Lost Pines Outfitters (LPO) Online
When a customer places an order through LPO’s online portal, their order is sent directly to the warehouse, where an associate takes (“pulls”) the selected items from warehouse shelves. Warehouse associates use a single computer to track incoming orders, locate items in inventory, and pull inventory for fulfillment. Once LPO’s warehouse associates have pulled the items from inventory, they manually update the inventory tracking system. Once the item has been pulled, it is sent to the fulfilment department. In the fulfillment department, associates package the items for delivery to customers and assign the shipment a tracking number through the United States Postal Service. Once the order has shipped, an associate in LPO’s fulfillment department manually checks the tracking information and updates the order’s delivery status. Once the customer receives the order, an associate sends a card, thanking them for their purchase and requesting they leave a review of the item and their experience shopping with Lost Pines Outfitters.
- Once you have mapped this system, you will map relationships contained within the system. First, identify relationships within your system diagram that represent feedback loops, and represent those loops within your model. Then, identify a relationship within the system that could be modeled with a stock and flow or causal loop diagram, and model that diagram in Visio.
- Compose a brief, 250–500 word summary of the given system, as well as the relationships present in this system. In your summary, describe the system, feedback loops, and other archetypes you identified within the system.
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