Exploring Complexity-Based and Systemic Thinking

In this course, you’ll explore how to apply a complexity lens in working with others and understanding the world around them. You’ll also learn how to craft, implement, evaluate, learn from and adapt your efforts to tackle tough social, economic and environmental issues, using complexity-based and systemic thinking.

Grounded in the notion that traditional leadership paradigms and practices—rooted in command and control, hierarchy and expert-driven approaches—are incapable of yielding durable and appropriate results, you’ll also explore a variety of concepts and practices that reflect an adaptive approach to leadership, management and assessment.


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 6 weeks
Tuition: $970
Can be applied to:
Evaluation for Social Change and Transformational Learning Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Seats Available
Start DateWed, Oct 16, 2024
  • Wed, Oct 16 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Oct 23 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Oct 30 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 6 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 13 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 20 (self-paced all week)
InstructorJaney Roh
Seats Available29

What you will learn

After completing this course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Describe how the implications of complexity-based thinking can inform the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions (e.g., programs to strategies) and organizational development
  • Distinguish between and apply a variety of related concepts in the six key themes for the course (e.g., simple-complicated-complex contexts, creating a holding container, system archetypes)
  • Describe and apply a select number of practices and methods to strengthen leadership, evaluative thinking and reflective practice (e.g., diagnostic tools, systems mapping, wicked questions)
  • Explore, reflect on and enhance your own preferences, capacities and personal/professional development opportunities in this area

How you will learn and be evaluated

  • Prepare to spend about 10 hours per week on coursework
  • Plan for advance reading
  • Expect reading and other assignments on a weekly basis
  • Plan to access the course at least once every few days to keep up with your work and group exercises

You will be evaluated on:

  • Class participation
  • In-class assignments
  • Post-class reflection assignment

Learning Materials

No textbook is required. We will provide all course materials online.

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.