CM5 – James DeGrechie

Plectica Link:

  1. What is a system? Use DSRP to answer this question. What is a part? What is a whole? How can you apply it in health care administration?

A system is an organized collection of parts (or subsystems) that are highly integrated to accomplish an overall goal. The system has various inputs, which go through certain processes to produce certain outputs, which together, accomplish the overall desired goal for the system.

Distinctions – Depending on what system is being viewed, the identity is that which is within the system; that which is outside of the system is the other.

Systems – Consist of a whole, which is made up of constituent parts; interestingly, the system itself can be a part of a greater whole.

Relationships – Consist of an action and a reaction.  These are the interactions that take place between the constituent parts.  For healthcare administration, an example might be  a hospital providing service to a patient in exchange for remuneration.

Perspectives – Consist of a point and a view. Point is where a player is seeing something from; a view is their perception or idea based upon their perspective. Depending upon their positioning, each player may have a different perspective relative to their point and view.

  1. What is Measure in DMAIC? How can you apply it in Healthcare Administration?

Measure in DMAIC refers to the process of quantifying a problem. The objective is to understand and baseline the current performance of a process by putting it through a set of relevant and robust measures. Data is collected to formulate a baseline and will later be compared against similar data collected after changes are implemented, to quantify and validate the impact of the changes being made.  In healthcare administration, an example would be the base numbers for infections if the end goal was to reduce incidence of infection in a hospital. Changes must not only be effective, but feasible and cost-effective as well.

  1. What are three common myths or misconceptions about innovation?
    1. Innovation is a solo activity – Quite the contrary; often, it is not one person, but a team that spurs innovation; think brainstorming and collaboration. In addition, innovations may require large groups of people to implement, test, and perfect.
    2. Innovation can’t be taught – By teaching people how to harness their innate sense of curiosity or to recognize where change is needed, innovation can be cultivated.
    3. Innovation is about the newest thing – Although some innovations are quantum shifts from that which exists, most are improvements or corrections to things that have long been in use.


  1. What is complexity? What is a complex system? Provide examples of a complex system.

Complexity, from the Latin word complexus, which signifies “entwined”, “twisted together”, characterizes the behavior of a system or model whose components interact in various ways and on various levels. A complex system, therefore, is an infrastructure comprised of several interconnected, interdependent, nonlinear working parts that must work in concert with each other in order to accomplish a task or goal.  Examples of a complex system include hospitals, large corporations, or (on a smaller scale) the human brain.

  1. How are complexity and feedback related? What is a reinforcing feedback loop vs a balancing feedback loop?

As mentioned, individual parts within a complex system are interconnected. Interactions between these component parts can bring about change; feedback loops provide the catalyst or agent of these changes.  A reinforcing feedback loop fosters an increase in growth or decay by compounding or stimulating directional changes.  Balancing feedback loops seek to return things to a state of balance, stability, or homeostasis.

  1. What does organizational learning mean? How can organizations promote this? 

Organizational learning is defined as the transfer of knowledge within an organization, primarily aimed at detecting and correcting error. This can be broken down into four component “communities”:

  • Individual – one person
  • Group – several people
  • Organizational – all people in the organization
  • Inter-organizational – stretches outside of the organization to business partners, collaborators, or peers within the industry.

Organizations can promote organizational knowledge by fostering an environment of openness, collaboration between departments or disciplines, and constantly seeking additional depth of information to spur growth and positive changes.

  1. What is double-loop learning? What is the OODA Loop? Provide examples of how you can use it in health care administration.

Double-loop learning is a process that allows for the modification of goals, norms, or decision-making rules based on insight gleaned from an original feedback loop. The first loop takes into account the goals or applies the decision-making rules, the second loop enables their modification.  The OODA Loop — Observe, Orient, Decide, Act – is a decision-making process that involves the use of a recurrent and continuous series of feedback and decision loops. The focus of the OODA loop is on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also maintaining the flexibility to make changes as more data becomes available. OODA is particularly useful in scenarios where competition is involved and where the ability to react more quickly to changing circumstances than an opponent leads to an advantage. An example of an OODA loop in healthcare administration would be dealing with consequences following a critical incident such as a natural disaster. Administrators must juggle manpower issues, supply issues, and operational question marks like where to put everyone or how to keep the chaos from overrunning everything.

  1. What is the difference between single-loop learning and double-loop learning? How are they related to adaptive learning and generative learning?

Single-loop learning provides an action in response to a consequence, based upon a fixed set of assumptions or rules.  Double loop adds an additional step that involves questioning and possibly modifying the assumptions or rules to possibly prevent the consequence from recurring. These learning loops are similar to the premise of adaptive learning, where the instruction and resources used are tailored to address the unique needs of the learner. In much the same way, generative learning takes its cues and direction from what knowledge the learner has already acquired, rather than following a strict linear path.

  1. From what you have seen so far, how does this (adaptive and generative learning — as well as single and double-loop learning) relate to Swarm Learning?

The similarities between these learning styles and Swarm Learning is that they tend to be fluid in their design, they are adaptable, and they are decentralized. Moreover, the true magic is not in the individual segments themselves, but in the interaction between said fragments. Each section builds upon the one before, and there can be very complex connections and recapitulations between points.

  1. What is emergence? Why is important? Provide examples.

Emergence is the phenomenon that occurs when individual parts of a system combine to create a new end product that is greater than the sum of the component parts – complexity arising from simplicity. The property of emergence is important because no complex structures or systems would exist without emergence. Examples of emergence include the individual ants that come together to make up a colony, fish swimming in large schools, or combining flour, eggs, and sugar, putting it in an oven to bake a cake.


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