A systems view of idea creation.

A group of people walking through a tunnel

As a systems thinker and a reluctant student of control systems in university, I can’t help but make connections between what fascinates me now (that act of creation) and those varied and troublesome transfer functions and feedback loops.

I’ve written a previous piece about the importance of communicating our ideas early, so they could be honed and sharpened against other people’s realities. I’d like to focus on the essential mechanism that is present in this interaction which is the feedback loop.

In systems theory, there are four components that are present in any system, at whatever scale. They are 1) inputs, what the system is receiving, 2) a transfer function, some form of transformational process that acts upon the inputs, 3) outputs, what the system produces and 4) feedback, which may have a positive or negative relationship with the inputs.

Our ideas can only be as resilient as the feedback pathway we allow them to benefit from.Melis Senova

Without this feedback loop, the system either continues to do what it does without the opportunity to learn from the context or environment within which it is operating, or it will cycle towards destruction, either by getting smaller, or bigger.

How this relates to ideas is that within this feedback loop, our ideas have no mechanism to evolve and continue on their journey to provide something tangible and meaningful in the real world. By keeping them inside and within ourselves, we are depriving this system of ideas from one of the critical pathways to ensure its success.

Our ideas can only be as resilient as the feedback pathway we allow them to benefit from.