Mastering Complexity Language

A Systems Thinking course with a Swiss university partnership

FORMAT: interactive live online sessions

DURATION: 6 weeks, 1 session of 120-minutes per week

GROUP SIZE: Maximum 16 participants per cohort

CERTIFICATE: certificate of attendance issued by Franklin University Switzerland

STARTING DATE28th March 2022


What is it about?

In this course, you will learn to use Stock and Flow Maps to gain fluency in using the complexity language. Stock and Flow Maps provide a rigorous basis for developing a quantitative and predictive model of a system. It enables the formulation and testing of scenarios and factors influencing the behaviour of the system.

Stocks represent resources that can accumulate or be depleted, such as the goods in the inventory of a company. Flows are entities that can increase or decrease a stock, like production or sales changing the inventory level. Mapping Stocks and their Flows in a system provides a powerful conceptualization method for understanding the relationship between resource structures in a system, and for observing behaviour over time.

What will you be able to do after the course?

  • Provide robust, logical and convincing arguments for your creative solutions.
  • Use a rigorous method for simulating and analysing scenarios in a system, to reduce uncertainty of decisions.
  • Create formal models that capture the details of the resources and their dynamic interconnections within a system in focus. 
  • Formulate and test hypotheses about interdependencies and feedback processes that influence the behavior of a system.
  • Sharpen your scientific reasoning skills and hone your capacity to develop quantitative understanding of non-linearity, feedback, delays, and ripple effects in systems.

Who is it for?

  • If you want to identify the most efficient and effective leverage points of your system…
  • if you want or need to make organizational-level changes
  • if you are ready to augment your qualitative expertise with quantitative thinking
  • if you want to affect change in the operational aspects of your service or product…
  • …then this course is for you.


This course is only open for graduates of the Systems Thinking – Introduction to Complexity Language course

What topics are covered?

Stocks, flows and information elements:

Defining and distinguishing stocks, flows, and auxiliary variables in Stock and Flow Maps as building blocks of understanding resource dynamics within a system.

Structure-behaviour pairs

Identifying generic Stocks and Flow structures and their corresponding dynamic behavior such as exponential growth and decline, oscillations, and overshoot and collapse. 

Multi-stock systems

Recognizing and mapping resource interdependencies and feedback processes through networks of stocks and flows within a system of focus.

Delays and non-linearity

Representing delays as a critical source of dynamic and counter-intuitive behaviour in systems, and capturing non-linear relationships between various variables system.

Aging chains

Conceptualizing resource flows through and within systems to make explicit the maturation and obsolesce of resources and examine resource replenishment and depletion strategies.


Mapping key attributes of resources in service systems and how these attributes interact with and are driven by the resource structures.

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