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It’s not a problem of the parts, it’s a problem of the whole

By Joachim Sturmberg posted 10-25-2019 20:27


Our profession, like most other professions, has been trained to take things apart to understand the whole. While this works fine in the mechanical world, it has failed us largely in the living world.


Butland B, Jebb S, Kopelman P, McPherson K, Thomas S, Mardell J, et al. Foresight. Tackling obesities: future choices—Project report [1]. (Open Government Licence v3.0))


How much research has been published to “solve the obesity epidemic” that has had no appreciable impact? Has this fact altered researchers’ enthusiasm for deeper research into their particular interest part, or has it shifted policy and funding bodies’ support of research towards groups that want to address these types of wicked problems in a holistic way?
If you want to overcome a wicked problem, you need to address it as a “as-a-whole”. The obesity epidemic as-a-whole has properties that are not present in its parts. It is the interactions and the feedback loops between the parts that create the nature and behaviour of complex problems. 


Solving complex problems requires a different approach.

or put in Einstein's words: You can't solve the problems of today with the solutions that created them.

The Pre-Conference Workshop “Applying Complexity Science to Healthcare Systems, Practice and Research Design in Primary Care” provides and introduction into systems and complexity thinking and its scientific approaches.    
Join us and hear about our journeys into systems and complexity sciences, and how we apply them to clinical care, research, evaluation and health policy issues.


PR 4

Applying Complexity Science to Healthcare Systems, Practice and Research Design in Primary Care

Saturday, 16-Nov-2019
8.30am to 4.30 pm
Dockside 4