Your brain evolved two thinking modes: a fast one that is biased and wrong a lot and a more accurate one that is slow. But, research shows that we can choose a third option through metacognition and practice. Being aware of and practicing daily ("daily reps") the four DSRP* cognitive structures can get you in the habit of thinking fast and right, much like an athlete or soldier trains for fast, autonomic responses in volatile, uncertain, complex, and unpredictable situations. Learn and practice DSRP* and you'll think fast and get it right more often. Whether you want to increase your personal or professional skills or develop your team of high performers, learning and practicing these four simple rules will transform thinking across all domains. In fact, the World Economic Forum's “Future of Jobs Report” lists the Top 10 skills employers will demand in the global economy. DSRP* Thinking is foundational to these ten forms of thinking skills.
1. Analytical thinking and innovation
2. Active learning and learning strategies
3. Creativity, originality, and initiative
4. Technology design and programming
5. Critical thinking and analysis
6. Complex problem-solving
7. Leadership and social influence
8. Emotional intelligence
9. Reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation
10. Systems analysis and evaluation
Whether we are training special forces, top-flight athletes, scientists on the cutting edge, or executive teams, we use a concept that originated with the Navy SEALS: "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." This means two things: (1) in order to get fast, you must break thinking down into behaviors that can be improved (smoothed) and sped up with practice, and (2) sometimes our desire to move too quickly ends up slowing down the operation. Thus, developing an awareness and daily practice with the four DSRP patterns of thinking will lead to System 3 (fast and right) thinking.
You can learn the basics of DSRP in minutes and practice them for a lifetime. Watch this award-winning, short-film on DSRP and then start to ask the five questions (below) bout any topic, problem, or system.
Empirical research shows—with high statistical significance—that asking DSRP questions increases cognitive complexity. There are many more advanced questions from DSRP, but these are the best ones to get started doing systems thinking.
Research shows that asking these 5 "DSRP" questions of an idea, issue, or concept increases systems thinking
What things am I choosing to see and not see? (D)
How are these things organized into part-whole groups? (S)
How are these things related (and not related)? (R)
Do these relationships have parts? (RDS)
From what or whose perspective? (P)
The 2022 International Cornell University Systems Thinking Conference was May 12-13 (online). This year's theme was “Any Person, Any System” which conveys that systems thinking is for everyone (novices and experts) and is applied to a range of physical, natural, social, technical, and policy systems. This year's conference drew from over 100 countries and 49 US States and was the largest systems thinking conference in the world. Stay tuned here for the announcement of next year's conference dates and theme.
An internationally known author and systems scientist and serves on the faculty of Cornell University and the Board of Advisors DSE at the US Military Academy at West Point...
An expert in translational research methods and systems thinking, Laura serves as faculty of Cornell University where she teaches systems thinking, mapping, and leadership...