Alan Shiell's blog

“Footy's on, Footy's here again”: Why Systems Thinking is good for your health and says that the Cats will take the Flag*

Submitted by Alan Shiell on April 10, 2012 - 11:53

The Geelong Cats regularly sit atop Australian Rules Football. In 2005 the Sydney Swans improbably took their first Grand Final in 72 years. The Cats' domination has survived major turnover in management and on the field. The Swans' miraculous victory applied the principles and culture that define the Cats: specify the outcomes to be achieved, align the incentives, provide information rapidly on the progress being made, support reflective practice and experimentation, and leave operational decisions to front-line agents safe in the knowledge that they will quickly work out how best to get the job done. In public health, We need to see the patterns and the structural forces that cause diseases. And we need to equip frontline practitioners with the information and organizational supports they need to diagnose problems, to take risks and innovate, to act, to reflect, and to re-act accordingly. We need systems thinking.