Systems Thinking

Goal: Thinks broadly and remember how many different aspects all go into a single decision

Many times concepts or ideas fail not because of being of poor quality, rather due to bureaucracy. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to test out my technical skills but also apply systems thinking skills. Since 2009-2010, the University has been pursuing a digital signage initiative. Mid-year 2011, the College of ACES began installing digital signage (aka “announcement boards”) in the ACES Library, Information, and Alumni Center. Being an employee in the public suite of the building, I noticed that the interactive signs were not being effectively used. Looking for a new challenge, I proposed the idea of developing the interactive signs myself.

In order for me to propose this possibility, I had to consider the fact that the signage was donated by alumni, managed by the College of ACES IT department but was intended to serve the multi-departmental resources in the library. Through multiple meeting with all of the interested stakeholders and careful coordination between my direct report boss and the top report boss, I was able to draft a plan to satisfy everyone’s needs. To the public user of the interactive signage, it is unlikely that they will even consider the many challenges associated with putting together a shared resource, with parties with different interests.

After about six months of development and testing, I was able to deploy the finalized version of the signage in time for the beginning of the fall 2012 semester. Even with the challenge of working with so many differing stakeholders, the result I was able to put together (with the assistance of many persons) is what the alumni imagined and is best for general public. The balance that I was able to strike included dedicating a section of the signage to each of the departments, while still focusing on the building wide layout.