Taking a systems approach to prevention
What is a systems approach?
A system is a set of interrelated parts that form a whole. A system is not only the sum of its parts, but the product of their interaction.
Systems thinking is a way of finding out what to do in a complex situation. It can help us approach otherwise unmanageable problems by providing:
- A different perspective (seeing all parts, and their interconnections)
- Tools and methods that can be used to explore the system, keeping in mind the dynamic nature of the parts and their relationships.
What is particularly useful about a systems approaches is it does not require us to know everything about the system before engaging in problem-solving activities.
How to use systems
When considering systems work, it is important to first determine the kind of problem you are working with, and choose the approach accordingly.
How we are using systems thinking
The Prevention Centre is using a systems approach to the prevention of chronic disease. We do this through:
- Being systematic about prevention
- Working across different systems to improve health
- Recognising that prevention action takes place in ecological systems
- Using systems tools and theories to analyse and improve policy and practice in prevention.
More resources on systems thinking
Interested in doing more with systems but not sure where to start, or how? The systems resources section of our website offers a host of different resources to help get you started.