Yearly Archives: 2016


Loss of essential services during a statewide blackout

Although extremely rare, major power blackouts do occur. When they do, it is imperative that there is no loss of essential services. Major power blackouts in advanced economies are extremely rare, but they do occur. In these circumstances it is imperative that essential services continue to operate. However, during the South Australian power blackout on [...]

By |2016-11-01T11:26:39+10:30October 20th, 2016|System Failure, System Safety|0 Comments

Systemic failings end in tragedy

A deadly mistake at a Sydney hospital ended in tragedy after two babies were accidently administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen. An accident at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital has ended in tragedy leaving one baby dead and another with suspected brain damage. The babies were accidently administered nitrous oxide following an installation bungle, which led to [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:26:13+09:30August 29th, 2016|System Failure, System Safety|5 Comments

Reductionism and holism – The yin and yang of systems thinking

Reductionism and holism are complementary thinking styles. One seeks meaning from an investigation of the parts, while the other seeks meaning from an investigation of the whole. They are the yin and yang of systems thinking. For over three hundred years we have relied on reductionist thinking to make sense of the world. Reductionism [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:25:06+09:30July 28th, 2016|Systems Thinking|1 Comment

Gun control laws – A tale of two countries

Australia's gun control laws have stopped mass shootings and reduced gun related homicides. Why is the US struggling to introduce gun controls to do the same? Systems thinking may provide some insight. Just two weeks after the Orlando nightclub shooting, the bloodiest in the recent history, when a gunman killed forty nine people and [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:23:37+09:30June 24th, 2016|System Failure, Systems Thinking|2 Comments

Re-emergence of black lung disease after thirty years

Black lung is an insidious but entirely preventable occupational lung disease. It was thought to have been eradicated in Australia but it has now reappeared with several cases being reported. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis or black lung was thought to have been eradicated but it reappeared when four Queensland coalminers were diagnosed with the disease [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:22:16+09:30May 24th, 2016|System Failure, System Safety|1 Comment

Workplace wellness initiatives – For what purpose?

In Australia workplace wellness initiatives are commonplace, yet only half have measureable outcomes. Without them their fitness for purpose is questionable. In a recent news article the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) considered the effectiveness of Australian workplace wellness programmes. It reported that around half of all Australian companies offered some kind of health promotion [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:20:03+09:30April 26th, 2016|Purpose, Systems Thinking|0 Comments

Cockpit security – the threat from within

Cockpit security arrangements introduced after 9/11 failed to consider the threat from within. The fatal crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 caused by the suicide of its copilot Andreas Lubitz, can be directly attributed to the cockpit security arrangements introduced after 9/11. These arrangements were designed to prevent unauthorised access to the cockpit but they [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:18:55+09:30March 25th, 2016|Systems Thinking|2 Comments

Dmitri Mendeleev – systems thinking and the periodic table

Dmitri Mendeleev applied systems thinking to understand the properties of the then-known atomic elements to predict the nature of undiscovered elements. February 2016 marks the 182nd birthday of Dmitri Mendeleev. He was a systems thinker and is considered to be the father of the modern periodic table. He applied systems thinking to understand the [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:17:40+09:30February 26th, 2016|Systems Thinkers|0 Comments

Microbeads in cleansing products to be banned in the US

The United States is set to ban exfoliating cleansing products containing plastic microbeads because of their toxic effect on the marine environment. The United States is set to ban soaps and other exfoliating personal care products containing plastic microbeads. The United States Senate has passed legislation to phase out their use, by banning their [...]

By |2018-05-03T15:15:25+09:30January 22nd, 2016|Systems Thinking|1 Comment