What is this resource?
This brief video and webpage describe the concept of "emergence" – the existence or formation of collective behaviours – and how it is meaningful in relation to systems thinking.
Why is this worthwhile?
The reductionist paradigm encourages us to break apart elements of a system and consider them in isolation, coming to understand its intricacies. In systems thinking, our focus is to understand how the parts are related and interact. Emergence is the idea that a dynamic is created that can only exist as a result of the parts coming together – a dynamic that cannot be seen or explored when parts are examined in isolation. It is this fundamental principle that underpins why we must examine the system, and clarifies why our best attempts to predict responses to change in complex systems will often fail.
Who is this useful for?
The article is produced for a general audience and uses plain language and common examples that will make this concept accessible for most users.