1. What do you mean by “big(ger) picture” thinking?

It’s almost the grand or 30,000 foot view, by which we mean taking into consideration multiple angles of view or perspectives, of an issue or event. Really it’s about examining all the key interrelated aspects [we call these “elements”] of the issue or event in question in order to provide as much pertinent information as possible all related back to your purpose. From the FoRSE™ Matrix system, the exposed elements demonstrate how they interrelate and how they support or thwart achieving the organization’s goals. The big(ger) picture also plays a part in determining best strategies and possibilities for intervention.

2. What are some examples of an issue or “event”?

Think of issues or events as any question or problem you want to examine for your organization. For example, are you launching a new service or product? That’s an event. Do you want to reorganize a department, or hire new employees, promote from within, rework policy, move, revisit or discuss marketing strategies, start a new venture? These are all events. You most certainly will be asking more questions about them. And you will want to ensure you’ve covered the big(ger) picture for them.

3. Why should our business or organization be concerned with big(ger) picture —or systemic— thinking? Isn’t strategic planning or analysis of our plans equally good? Besides, we’ve had consultants and various schemes to help us achieve our goals.

An outside, objective perspective is often helpful. It helps us to see what we can easily overlook. Plus we cannot see everything all at once. Without our big(ger) picture examination of an issue or event, you run the risk of operating or analyzing only at the elemental (component) level. That will keep your organization on the chase for what will continue to be elusive solutions, which helps consulting firms of course. The FoRSE™ Matrix system enables you to become the most informed about an event with the added benefit of cost-savings to you. Why wouldn’t you want the biggest (dare we say best) picture possible in order to achieve your goals? Try Stage 1.

4. Where does the FoRSE™ Matrix system fit in the scheme of organization or business consulting?

The principles behind the FoRSE™ Matrix system are to bring event analysis on demand and in-house, and to save organizations and businesses, or consultants, both time and money. With its online, 3-stage engagement of an issue or event, the FoRSE™ Matrix system gives organizations a penetrating understanding of the event along with a depiction of the misaligned (critical) elements. That means quicker pinpointing where interventions are needed. Consulting firms that wish to provide as broad and deep a service as possible are invited to contact us to discuss how the FoRSE™ Matrix system could become a greater addition to their services.

5. How does Ripple Deep’s FoRSE™ Matrix system compare with systems thinking (ST), soft systems methodology (SSM) or systems dynamics (SD)?

Systems —or systemic— thinking is the core of the FoRSE™ Matrix and Ripple Deep’s philosophy. The FoRSE™ Matrix system applies SSM in a systematic and focused format with the added benefit of the database to store content for review and analyses. SD would find itself within the FoRSE™ Matrix system (Form or Design and Infrastructure). SD depicts useful, graphical information about parts of a system, but to understand the whole picture concerning an issue or event demands a big(ger) picture application as demonstrated in the FoRSE™ Matrix system. In fact the FoRSE™ Matrix can be used as a kind of project management tool to help determine or monitor appropriate interventions (for example, IT architecture or resource stocks and flows).

6. How does Ripple Deep’s FoRSE™ Matrix system connect to Knowledge Management (KM), Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma, TQM or other processes?

Although there are many process improvement and content management applications, these are not big picture (systemic) applications. They cannot provide the big picture. Each, and in combinations, would fit within the FoRSE™ Matrix system as responses to some of the deeper, guiding statements or questions within the Matrix. In fact, the FoRSE™ Matrix system provides a critical tool for KM practitioners in that it accommodates storage of information in a systematized and more logical framework.

7. Can any business / organization or research really benefit from applications of the FoRSE™ Matrix system?

Yes! NGOs and governments (and their departments), health administrations and departments, proprietorships, multinationals, start-ups and their mentors, all levels in management, consulting firms (as has been mentioned in No. 3 above), Human Resources, trades, judiciary (ensure all angles have been covered on a case), military, even researchers could see positive gains from using the FoRSE™ Matrix system. Contact us for further details.

8. What is your background in big picture (systemic) thinking?

Ripple Deep is informed by diverse systemic thinking authors and has more of a leaning toward the “Hull school” of business and systems thinking. Gerald Midgely’s, Robert L. Flood’s and Peter Senge’s writings in particular have been instrumental in helping to formulate an understanding of big picture thinking as well as the development of the FoRSE™ Matrix system. Add to that our publications in systemic thinking. Ripple Deep’s principal completed the PhD (2003) in business and education partnerships (Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, UBC) that uniquely applied systemic thinking to the analysis and portrayal of the data and discussion of the findings. He has numerous publications and conference presentations regarding systemic thinking applications. A list of publications and presentations is available upon request.