by Leon Rosenshein


In today's Lego related ideas, and in honor of tomorrow's team build of the Imperial Star Destroyer, Systems Thinking at Work and Play. Systems are all around us, and there are lots of educational shows that show them. From "Dirty Jobs" to "The Magic School Bus", understanding how things are built out of parts and work together is the system mindset. One of my favorite systems, and it has been lo these many years, is the Lego System. Yes, when you dump 4784 bricks on a conference room table it's not a system, it's just a pile of plastic parts, but when you put it together it's more than the sum of its parts, it's a system of reusable components. Add in some Technic parts and/or a Mindstorm kit and now you're really talking. But what is it about systems that is so interesting and important? To me, it's the fact that you can take things that individually have no, or very simple, responses and then combine them, and through their relationships create complex responses. Systems are also a way to manage complexity. Boundaries and relationships help us understand our world (or our SDV) and let us focus on individual components as needed.