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Why is it so difficult to create a new system?

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Why is it so difficult to create a new system?

Scott Miker

Creating a new system can be great way to try to improve and change something.  By creating a new system to address a problem we are tackling the problem in a very direct and purposeful way.

But creating a new system can be extremely difficult.  There is no certainty that the new system will work and no way to know exactly how to structure it.

Niccolò Machiavelli said, “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor dangerous to manage than a new system.”

Part of the difficulty in using systems to solve problems is that we can’t just follow a set of rules in a textbook to create a system.  We have to have insight into the system, we have to understand systems thinking over linear thinking, and we have to be creative. 

While many people misunderstand systems as rigid, inflexible and uncreative, the reality is that using systems to solve problems is the exact opposite.  We have to use creativity and innovation in order to find systematic solutions.

Another thing that systems thinkers might not tell you is that there is a lot of failure in developing successful systems. There is a lot of trial and error until things start to work. 

This means that in order to succeed at building systems to solve problems, you will need to be creative and you will need to handle failure.  Does a failure mean the end or is it just a small thing to learn from?

In Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner, the author shares insight into how to create a system to drive breakthrough creativity.  He says, “You might think that any framework or guideline restricts creativity, but in fact, it does just the opposite.”

In other words, the best approach is to develop a process that leads to creativity.  Pay attention to the patterns in your life around when you are most creative.  Is it first thing in the morning?  Is it late at night?  Is it after listening to music or spending time with friends?

What I have found is that the patterns are important because you will start to see when you are most creative and when you struggle to create.  Then you can grow your ability to be in a creative mindset and work towards finding creative solutions.

After a while it becomes easier and you can start to tap into creativity when you need it.  It starts to come out in a variety of ways, not just when you need to be creative but even when you are tackling everyday problems. 

You will also likely find that many of the creative thoughts you have turn into bad ideas.  Being creative means trying something that hasn’t already been done and this will guarantee that sometimes your ideas are just bad.  But learn from it and keep creating and soon you will be able to brush off failures and learn from them to help you build better systems in the future. 

So if you find it difficult to come up with systems that solve problems and help you improve, focus on improving creativity and learning to deal with failure.  Doing those two things will make it much easier to create a new system and the knowledge you gain from developing new systems will grow over time.  Soon it can become a very valuable skill that can help you improve and reach new levels of success. 

Linkner goes on to say, “What most businesses and individuals lack isn’t raw creative talent.  What they lack is a system to unleash it.”