Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

In May, 2004, I had a chance to visit Brussels, the beautiful Belgian capital. I stayed at the Ibis hotel which is located in the North West of the city, near the exposition area. That day, I was up early and had a chance to take part in the breakfast that was offered by the hotel. There were not many people in the room that was created for this purpose. It was Sunday when most of us are not so much pressed for time.


I took my time for collecting the things that I apparently wanted, objects with a choice that was also influenced by the objects as they were available in this hotel, of course. I mean, in any other hotel, my breakfast would be different, both in context as well as in terms of what I would eat and how it would please me.

And tomorrow’s breakfast would be different, too. I am like that. I found a tray, walked around the buffet, identifying what was actually there, and what was not there, in so far as I could. There were many objects at the buffet, some of which I needed to organize for my breakfast. And each object had it’s own look and feel, location, way of handling and potential taste. For example, there were boiled eggs, without a shell, and later I found that they were cold, where I expected them to be warm.

In this hotel, the breakfast was completely self service, whereas in other hotels, a waitress offers you orange juice and coffee or tea. Here, you just collected the things you wanted, as much and often as you wanted, and the price would be the same for each guest. In all hotels, the room number is key for calculating your bill. It is registered in all your financial transactions with the hotel, breakfast being one of them, usually. Most of these transactions are validated with your signature, though I doubt that this process is full proof. If you know the rules, you can learn to break them and let other guests pay for your transactions, if you want. I am not like that. The rules are not always clear to me, and in many cases I am the victim of exceptions.

For example, I was unable to find the pepper and salt, and I had to make inquiries for them. As it turned out, they were hidden in an obscure corner, just around the buffet location. The exceptions amuse me. Actually, I have learned to understand and enjoy the many exceptions that are inherent to any system, breakfast being one of them.


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Petra the Wonder of Jordan


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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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