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.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Mark Cabaj $970.00 12 Register

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • 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 will I learn?

  • Advance readings
  • Individual and group exercises
  • Case studies
  • Mini-lectures
  • Group discussion

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for professionals who want to deepen their knowledge of transformative evaluation and learning. 

How will coursework be assessed?

Your coursework will be assessed based on your class participation, in-class assignments and a post-class reflection assignment. 

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

Technical information

You’ll access online courses through Canvas, our online learning management system, which is available through the SFU website. Canvas is extremely user-friendly—even if you’ve never studied online before. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. 

You may log into Canvas beginning on the first day of each course. For a list of Canvas-supported operating systems and web browsers, visit our supported web browsers page.

To learn more about Canvas, visit the SFU Canvas Student Guide.