Russel Ackoff’s Properties of Systems which give rise to rules of thumb which inform my work.
Rule of thumb: Work on the whole even over the parts.
A system is never the sum of its parts; it’s the product of their interaction.
The performance of a system doesn’t depend on how the parts perform taken separately, it depends on how they perform together – how they interact, not on how they act, taken separately. Therefore, when you improve the performance of a part of a system taken separately, you can destroy the system.
Rule of thumb: Experimentation even over planning.
When you analyze a system you learn something but you don’t get understanding. The result of analysis of a system is knowledge. And for the first time, in the 1950s, science distinguished between knowledge and understanding, and recognized that all the work of science has produced is knowledge – but not understanding. Understanding requires a different method of thought.