Interdependency is at the heart of the life of a water professional — what we do and how we act ripples throughout the water system that connects us all. And yet, much of our attention remains focused on common or technical-based problems but not with understanding the impact of our actions on the often tightly interconnected system of which we are a part.
We know how to solve common problems. Pump breaks? Fix it. Contaminants in the water? Test it. These problems often account for 80% of the problems we face. Other, more complex and complicated systems problems may account for a 20% of our problems, but require 80% of our attention. Increasing the amount of water reuse in a community involves numerous interacting parts and processes, stakeholders with different opinions, time delays and a host actions, reactions and often unintended consequences. Systems thinking is a tool for all water professionals – operators, technicians, chemists, engineers, managers and others — to develop innovative responses to a variety of complex challenges.
Linda Booth Sweeney
Want to better understand, communicate and manage complexity? Attend CWEA’s webinar with Systems Thinking expert Linda Booth Sweeney and facilitator Laurie Brenner, Finance and Acquisition Services Coach (Manager), Union Sanitary District.
Want to go even deeper on systems thinking? Attend Sweeney’s opening general session
on Tuesday, April 25th from 4 – 6 pm at CWEA’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Palm Springs.
“The more we can lift our heads up to talk with others in all parts of the water system, the more we can understand the necessities and challenges of our water colleagues, the more we can find the innovative responses we need to move forward.”
– Garry Parker, CWEA President, Director of General Services, Encina Wastewater Authority