Systems Thinking Seminar

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Systems Thinking Seminar

Short course covering the basics of systems thinking


This seminar is an introduction to the area of systems thinking that is designed to be accessible to a broad audience. The talk is focused on two primary achievements; Firstly helping students to understand systems thinking as a paradigm and how it differs from a more traditional way of thinking. Secondly, the aim is to provide the audience with the standardized language of systems theory through which they will be able to describe systems of all kinds in a more coherent fashion whilst also being able to effectively communicate this to others.

Starting with an overview of systems thinking we make a clear distinction between our traditional methods of analytical reasoning and the alternative method of synthesis that forms the foundations of systems thinking. Next, we will delve into systems theory to start building our model of a system, clearly defining what exactly a system is and is not. For here, we will go on to develop our model into a more powerful framework by adding the concept of the system’s environment, discussing systems boundaries, synergistic interactions between systems and emergence. In the last section, we will look at different models for capturing how systems change over time what is called system dynamics, here we will explore the ideas of feedback loops and causal loop diagrams.

By the end of taking this seminar, attendees should have gained a whole new perspective on the world call systems thinking and will have gained an understanding of the formal language of systems theory that can be used within a wide variety of applications. This seminar requires no previous experience with systems thinking, as we will be starting with the very basic model of a system and then building upon this to create more sophisticated representations.

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Duration: 2 hours

Level: Beginner

Location: London

Instructor: Joss Colchester


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