The world's US$4 trillion challenge

Using a system-of-systems approach to build a smarter planet

A systems of systems approach to resource recovery

In an age in which consumers, businesses and governments are increasingly focused on socially responsible actions, much of our planet's natural and financial resources are being squandered simply by conducting business as usual: Much of the world's food supply never makes it to consumers. A considerable portion of the water used each year is frivoled away by poor agricultural water management. And road congestion, poor routing and other traffic issues around the globe contribute to substantial crude oil waste.

Much - if not most - of this inefficiency can be attributed to the fact that we have optimized the way the world works within silos, with little regard for how the processes and systems that drive our planet interrelate. We've tuned these processes to generate specific outcomes for individual communities, nations, enterprises and value chains.

To root out inefficiencies and reclaim a substantial portion of that which is lost, businesses, industries, governments and cities will need to think in terms of systems, or more accurately, a system of systems. We'll also need to collaborate at unprecedented levels. Certainly, no single organization owns the world's food system, and no single entity can fix the world's healthcare system. Success will depend upon understanding the full set of cause-and-effect relationships that link systems and using this knowledge to create greater synergy.

Download the IBM Institute for Business Value executive report, "The world's US$4 trillion challenge: Using a system-of-systems approach to build a smarter planet," to discover a framework for helping solve real-world problems using a system-of-systems approach.

Download the complete IBM Institute for Business Value study

Meet the author

  • Peter Korsten - Photo

    Peter Korsten

    Partner and VP, Global Leader IBM Institute for Business Value IBM Global Business Services

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