Modeling - A tool to manage complexity

Let's forget systems for some time. Let's talk about puzzles.

I am sure that all of you must have solved puzzles some or the other time.

Let's say, I dictate a complex analytical puzzle to you for you to solve.


What are the ways that you will adopt so that you can increase the chance of coming out with the right solution?

Let me explain. As I have already specified that the puzzle is complex, the prerequisite to solve the puzzle correctly is to understand the puzzle in the right way. If you try to directly solve the puzzle without understanding, it is very unlikely that you will come across the right solution.


Therefore Understanding/Analysis is a prerequisite to solve any complex problem/puzzle.

Now think about the different techniques that you will use to analyze or understand a complex puzzle?

Let's say you have a paper and a pencil with you. Now what would you do so that you have a better understanding of the puzzle?

Some of you will take down the keywords, some of you will use some graphics like circle, triangle, rectangle etc. Some of you will draw real world graphical drawings, some of you may use some graphs like pie chart, bar chart etc.

What exactly are you trying to do while you were drawing these graphical or textual artifacts?


"Whenever a human brain encounters something which is difficult to understand or something which is difficult to comprehend, implicitly or explicitly the human brain tries to model the problem."

What do we understand by "Modeling"?

"Modeling is a technique wherein one uses solid or graphical representations to represent fluid/unclear aspects of the problem or the system so that it could be understood in a much better way".

Modelling can be of multiple types

  • Textual Modeling
  • Mental Modeling
  • Graphical Modeling
  • Physical Modeling
  • Scaled Down Modeling
  • etc

    You will agree to this. Whenever we face any complex problem in life be it professional or personal our brain always models the problem so that it can understand it in a much better way.

    In case we do not have a pen paper handy, we try to create mental models representing different aspects of the problem so that the understanding can be improved.
    Modeling is a prerequisite for you to understand anything. If you don't do it, it is very unlikely that you will be able to understand the problem correctly. It is considered that a problem is a problem till it is not understood. I am sure you all use modeling in different forms to improve the understanding of any complex artifact.

    If you will realize, especially in India, there are coaching classes which prepares a person for management aptitude tests. In these coaching classes a person is taught how to model a problem correctly depending on the type of the problem. If a person can understand the problem correctly, finding the solution becomes pretty easy, while if we are not able to model the problem correctly, it is equally difficult to come out with the solution to the problem.

Hemant Jha
Founder - VPlanSolutions
Researcher, Trainer