Jig: Ishikawa or "Fishbone" Diagram
Derek & Laura Cabrera
Derek Cabrera (Ph.D., Cornell) is an internationally known systems scientist and serves on the faculty of Cornell University where he teaches systems thinking, systems leadership, and systems mapping and is Program Director for the Graduate Certification Program in Systems Thinking, Modeling, and Leadership (STML). He is a senior scientist at Cabrera Research Lab. Laura Cabrera (B.S., M.P.A, & PhD, Cornell) currently teaches Systems Thinking and Modeling and Systems Leadership at Cornell University at the Institute for Policy Affairs. She is also a senior researcher at the Cabrera Research Lab. Over the past decade, Cabrera has applied her expertise in research methods and translational research to increase public understanding, practical application, and dissemination of sophisticated systems science and systems thinking models.
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Excerpt from the book: Systems Thinking Made Simple, Chapter 8
This blog is part of a set of blogs under the tag "cognitive jigs." Be sure to check out the tag to read them as a group and learn how cognitive jigs are at play in our everyday lives.
Relational maps such as Ishikawa or “fishbone” diagrams (See Figure 8.9) are maps with repeating part-whole and relational structures. In an Ishikawa diagram, each part is causally related to its whole in a repeating chain. The purpose of Ishikawa diagrams is to show all the nested causes that lead to an effect.
Based on DSRP, Plectica can easily model these structures (See Figure 8.10). The same Ishikawa diagram in Plectica shows the distinctions, part-whole relationships and fractal dynamics more clearly. Plectica can extend systems thinking by detailing the relationships, further deconstructing the systems, and adding perspectives. We can see that the structure flows from small part-causes to larger ones, culminating in a whole effect.
We can see that a fishbone map is a simple repeatable pattern: parts pointing causally toward their wholes. We also clearly see that we are dealing with a single system made up of parts, which is not well communicated in the original fishbone diagram (Figure 8.9), as the endpoint label on the right actually contains all the other elements and relationships in the map.