Sep 4th 2017

Systems Thinking and Complexity (FutureLearn)

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Learn how to use systems and complexity thinking to address a variety of social, managerial and policy problems. This free online course addresses the practical problems that arise in social systems in the context of management and public policy at local, regional and global levels. It is problem-oriented, providing you with both the theoretical understanding and practical tools, to find and implement solutions to organisational and social problems.

Use systems thinking to solve complex, real-world problems

The course will look at the nature of social, managerial and policy problems, considering a variety of real-world examples: community action; crime and policing; health and social welfare; transportation; smart cities; energy; Europe and Brexit; and mass education for Africa and Latin America.

You will discover how a systems thinking approach can be used to understand and help to seek solutions to these problems, and explore the nature of complexity, why systems are complex and how complexity science can help.

Apply systems thinking methods and tools to your own area

The course will provide you with systems thinking methods and tools, to apply to your own problems and share with other learners in the discussions.

By the end of the two weeks, you will be able to:

- define a system and apply the definition to a variety of social systems;

- recognise the features of particular systems that make them complex;

- analyse a system that interests you, to identify problems and formulate it in systems terms;

- and apply advanced systems thinking to seek solutions to the messy management, business and policy problems you face.

Learn with the UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus

The course has been developed by the UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus, which federates international expertise on systems thinking and complex systems science.

Throughout, you will learn with Professors Joyce Fortune and Jeffrey Johnson – internationally recognised experts in systems thinking and complex systems science, who have taught and acted as consultants addressing practical issues in this area for many decades.

What will you achieve?

- Apply systems thinking to a wide variety of social and technical systems

- Apply the method of drawing systems diagrams to represent systems and their dynamics

- Apply the Formal Systems Model to practical situations

- Apply knowledge of feedback loops and their likely impact on system behaviours

- Apply the concepts of Complex Systems System to understand why systems are unpredicatble

- Collaborate with others analysing and improving systems

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