A paradigm is an accepted world view. If we do not continually question our paradigm then wider trends and movements will overtake the discipline leaving it ill adapted to future challenges. This Special Issue is an opportunity to keep systems thinking at the forefront of ergonomics theory and practice. Systems thinking prompts us to ask whether ergonomics, as a discipline, has been too timid? Too preoccupied with the resolution of immediate problems with industrial-age methods when, approaching fast, are developments which could render these operating assumptions an irrelevance? Practical case studies are presented to show how abstract systems problems can be tackled head-on to deliver highly innovative and cost-effective insights. The strategic direction of the discipline foregrounds high-quality systems problems. These are something the discipline is well able to respond to provided that the appropriate operating paradigms are selected.