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Toolkit:Systems Thinking for Safety/Seven Samurai

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The Seven Samurai method (Martin, 2004) proposes seven different systems that must be acknowledged and understood in systems engineering:

  1. Context System
  2. Intervention System
  3. Realization System
  4. Deployed System
  5. Collaborating Systems
  6. Sustainment System
  7. Competing Systems

The Intervention System will be designed to solve a real or perceived problem. The Intervention System will be placed in a Context System and must be developed and deployed using a Realization System. The Intervention, when in stalled in the Context, becomes the Deployed System which is often different in substantial way from the original intent of the Intervention. This Deployed System will interact with Collaborating Systems to accomplish its own functions. A Sustainment System provides services and materials to keep the Deployed System operational. Finally, there are one or more Competing Systems that may also solve the original problem and will compete for resources with your Deployed System. All seven systems must be properly reckoned with when engineering a system.

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Further reading

Martin, J. N. (2004). The Seven Samurai of Systems Engineering: Dealing with the Complexity of 7 Interrelated Systems. Presented at the 2004 Symposium of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE).