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Systems thinking

Paul Eastwood

Paul joined our nuclear business as chief engineer in September 2014. Helping to solve defence and aerospace customer challenges using a systems approach naturally led him to set up and build a systems approach capability at Costain.

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Head of systems approach capability

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Systems approach, systems engineering, systems integration

About Paul

As head of systems approach capability, Paul leads a team of systems approach practitioners who are helping clients deliver successful outcomes across the defence, aerospace, and national infrastructure sectors.

Watch this short animation for a peak into Paul's world

Systems approach at Costain

Paul on his career journey

“I am naturally inquisitive and spent my life looking at how things are connected, why things work in a particular way and spending time analysing how I can make things work better. A systems approach and the four pillars of systems thinking, systems engineering, systems assurance and systems integration resonated strongly with me. I find it enjoyable, simple to understand and implement. “


What is the most common misunderstanding of your role?

People often ask isn’t systems thinking simply good engineering practice or a systems approach is only applicable to complex problem. Someone once said they had read a book on systems thinking, so I knew all about it. These are just a few of the responses I have had when championing a systems approach to problems in infrastructure projects. A systems approach is by no means a ‘silver bullet’ to all problems, however it will and has created better infrastructure solutions by unlocking value than other more traditional approaches. It's young compared to other more established disciplines and created to tackle complexity in rapidly increasing manufactured systems that interact with natural systems. It is scalable and can be applied to any problem. It’s best used when the problem has features of uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity with constraints on time, costs, and performance.


Paul’s biggest professional achievement

I’m proud to have created and grown systems approach teams in three organisations, working across defence, aerospace, and infrastructure sectors. They have all been successful and I’m happy to have had a hand in bringing about change for the better.


Top tip on successful complex programme delivery

Inclusion and diversity of thinking and doing is a good thing. Seeing multiple perspectives and ways of solving problems, helps us better understand problems and solutions to benefit everyone.


Three things about Paul

  1. He’s from Birmingham and relocated to the North of England when he got married.
  2. Paul was part of the team supporting a friend running from the Scottish Borders to Coningsby in 11 days (equivalent to a marathon a day) in aid of cancer research.
  3. He has jumped out of an aeroplane 15 times.


Click here to find Paul on LinkedIn.

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