Total System Intervention for System Failures and Its Application to ICT systems

Takafumi Nakamura, Kyoichi Kijima


otal system intervention for system failure (TSI for FS) is proposed for preventing further occurrences of system failures. Total system intervention (TSI) is a meta-methodology in critical system thinking for managing complex and differing viewpoints. First, the authors introduce meta-methodology called “system of system failures (SOSF)” as a common language among various stakeholders to improve their understanding of system failures. Then we propose the actual application scenario, or “total system intervention for system failures (TSI for FS)”. TSI for FS identify the stakeholders in the failure using a matrix that shows for each stakeholder the entity and/or the factor that is thought to have caused the failure. This helps to clarify the stakeholders’ views and to identify stakeholders with opposing views. The SOSF meta-methodology and related methodologies are used in the course of the subsequent discussion and debate to agree upon who is responsible for the failure and to identify the countermeasures and/or preventative measures to be applied. An application example in information and communication technologies engineering demonstrates that using the proposed meta-methodology as a critical system practice helps prevent future system failures by learning from previous system failures. Three actions were identified for preventing further system failures: close the gap between the stakeholders, introduce absolute goals, and enlarge system boundary.


total system intervention; critical system thinking; critical system practice; system failure model; structuring methodology; double-loop learning; risk management

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