Thinking in Systems

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 DATE30th March 2022


What is it about?

In the past years we have been seeing a proliferation of tools and canvases in many professions. As an unintended consequence, intuition, imagination and creativity have been pushed into the background. The general requirement is ‘simplification’, instead of embracing complexity or uncertainty – even though complexity and uncertainty are more a part of our lives than ever before.

This module flips the usual script. Because Systems Thinking is not just a set of tools or techniques. Systems Thinking is an initiation into an attitudeThe classes will help you develop the systems thinking attitude, and to do so draw on insights from various fields such as architecture, psychoanalysis, art, management, design and literature. This approach reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the systems thinking as a lens, rather than a discipline.

What will you be able to do after the course?

  • Move beyond an event- or data-oriented approach to problem solving, by identifying trends and patterns of behavior, to surfacing the underlying structures that generate these events and patterns.
  • Realize and refine your own and your organization’s thought patterns and mental models in complex and uncertain situations.
  • Hone your ability to learn how to learn.
  • Seek meaningful similarities across seemingly different phenomena around and within you. Identify patterns that connect and give meaning to your experiences.

Who is it for?

  • If you are facing challenges that have not been solved before…
  • if you want to expand your ability to think creatively and holistically…
  • if the books and articles you read about your profession seem to be missing the point for you…
  • if you want to express your intuition in a tangible manner…
  • and if you are ready to dip your toes into provocative topics…
  • …then this course is for you.

What topics are covered?

Characterizing the systems lens

Examining the main tenets of the systems paradigm and exploring the differences between analytical and the holistic approach to learning and inquiry.

Learning in and about complexity

Identifying the four levels of comprehending and addressing complexity: events (reactive), patterns of behavior (adaptive), systemic structures (creative), and mental models (transformative), and their connection to double-loop learning.

Dealing with complex problems

Assessing ideas for transitioning from solving to dissolving problems, from systematic to systemic policy interventions, and from suppressing symptoms, to developing fundamental solutions.

Designing for emergent behavior

Exploring heuristic principles for understanding emergent behavior and self-organization in complex systems and embedding emergence as a systemic phenomenon in design. 

Discerning viewpoints and perspectives

Experimenting with techniques that can generate insights into the multifaceted nature of reality, the worldviews of different actors within the system and how they influence or are influenced by the system.

Thinking in patterns that connect

Assessing the applications of metaphoric, analogical, and lateral thinking in expanding the capacity to see meaningful connections across seemingly different phenomena. 

Apply to 'Thinking in Systems'


Peer learning is a central part of this module. Accordingly, we ask you to submit a reflection on what motivates you to take this module, to help us form a well-balanced group. See below in the form. Think it through, but don’t overthink it.


In the selection process the applications are reviewed, and the 16-person cohort is formed. A combination of the time of your application, and the contents of the reflections will be taken into consideration.


We inform selected applicants of the cohort, and confirm details. If you are not selected for the upcoming cohort, you will be placed in the priority list of the next cohort. Payment is due upon acceptance.

Your personal details will only be used for communication about Design Dissolve courses and webinars. No information will be shared with any third party. You will be able to unsubscribe at any time. Payment is due upon acceptance to the course participation.

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