Online course

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

This course will teach you the first principles of complexity, uncertainty and how to make decisions in a complex world.

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

  • Duration 7 weeks
  • Weekly study 5 hours

To learn how complexity and uncertainty influence and constrain our decisions.

Our world seems to ever become more complex and uncertain. Future leaders must be able to act under these conditions. This course provides you with the broad scientific background necessary to develop yourself into one of the future’s key decision makers. First, this course will address the core concepts of complexity and uncertainty. Next, guest lecturers will related sub-fields. Finally, relating this all back together in case studies about financial stability and city development will conclude the course.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 25 secondsLEX HOOGDUIN: I would like to invite you to a free online course on how to deal with a complex and uncertain world. This course has been produced by a multidisciplinary team of guest teachers, all from Groningen University in the Netherlands. The course will help you to understand the complexity and uncertainty of the real world and provide you with basic tools to act in the real world. For example, as a business leader, policymaker, supervisor, or privately. The themes of complexity and uncertainty require an approach from many different angles, such as network theory, agent-based modelling, emergent behaviour, evolutionary dynamics, cellular automata, history, ethics, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 secondsAt the end of the course, we will have two case studies-- one about the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the other about growth and development of cities. During our six-week course, you will see lectures, interviews, and debates. You will study literature, participate in discussions, take quizzes and tests, and make assignments to really comprehend the basics of complexity and uncertainty and how to deal with it. I'm convinced that this multidisciplinary course will help you to see and understand the world from a new perspective. It will help you to be an effective decision maker in whatever position or job you are or will be in and in private life.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 secondsI'm really looking forward to welcoming you to this six-week journey through the fascinating world of complexity and uncertainty.

What topics will you cover?

  • Complex Systems
  • Fundamental Uncertainty
  • Graph Theory and Networks
  • Emergent Behaviour
  • Agent-Based Modelling
  • Evolutionary Dynamics
  • Cellular Automata
  • Self-Organization
  • Path dependence and complexity in History
  • Decision making under Uncertainty, Heuristics and Biases
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Stability and Crises
  • Growth and Development of Cities

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the difference between complex and complicated
  • Explain the difference between risk and uncertainty
  • Explain the following concepts: emergence, networks, evolutionary dynamics, social self-organisation and path dependence
  • Experiment with complex systems in simple agent-based models.
  • Apply the course concepts and tools to the social sciences of history, entrepreneurship, economics and spatial planning
  • Debate how complexity and uncertainty influence human decision making and how you can counter these effects

Who is the course for?

Anyone who needs to make decisions in a complex and uncertain context (e.g. managers and project coordinators). The course will be taught at undergraduate level. Basic knowledge of economic, financial institutions, mathematics and logic will be helpful.

What software or tools do you need?

In this course, we use the free Netlogo software to interact with agent-based simulation models.

What do people say about this course?

Thank you so much for the course! Very interesting and thought provoking. I liked the two case study sections, they helped bring the concepts to life. I think some of the concepts covered will stay with me a long time.

Ella A.
Learner

This was an amazing experience, probably the best MOOC I have taken so far. The lecturers were extremely engaging and explained their subject in a very clear and simple way.

Giovania Olivier

Who will you learn with?

Lex Hoogduin

I am professor at the university of Groningen (Complexity and Uncertainty). I have also a number of supervisory functions and have been advisor to the first president of the European Central Bank.

Who developed the course?

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: