Does Any Technical System Always Have a Supersystem ?

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

The October issue of TRIZ-journal features an article by Gennady Ivanov et al. titled "Process Management Using Systemic Thought Process". It re-iterates a misconception widely spread amongst TRIZniks:

It is true that there are no isolated systems in nature. But does this imply that any system is a part of another system ? Consider, for example, a fishing rod lying on the shelf in my house. It is a technical system. And it is not isolated from other objects in the world: it lies on the shelf; it is surrounded by the air, etc. But is the rod a part of another TECHNICAL system at the moment ? It physically belongs to the house (which is also a technical system). But is it a part of this system ?

The answer to this question depends on definition of technical system. Gennady Ivanov & Co. adheres to the following definition: "a technical system is the aggregate of the elements (natural and/or artificial) assembled for the fulfillment of the function, stipulated by a human."

Does the fishing rod belong to elements assembled to fulfill the function of a house ? Obviously, no. So, what TECHNICAL supersystem does the rod in question belong to ? Apparently, to no one.