Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsWhat is a system? A system is formed from a set of interacting parts, every part affects, and is affected by, every other part Systems have subsystems. Sometimes systems go wrong. So how can we get the best out of a system, and how can we prevent systems from failing? Systems thinking looks at the interactions and not just the parts. It sees the whole. This insight alone can help you understand problems, and can help you avoid systems failure. But some systems are inherently complex. These complex systems require specialised methods and computer tools to understand, design and manage them. This course will introduce you to systems thinking, and show how it can be used to address problems in our increasingly complex world.
What topics will you cover?
The key themes in the course are
- systems are defined to be assemblies of components, connected together in an organised way where the components are affected by being in the system and the behaviour of the systems is changed if they leave it.
- the organised assembly of components does something, and the assembly has been identified as being of particular interest.
- systems thinking is holistic, and the behaviour of the whole cannot be inferred by looking at the parts in isolation.
- piecewise improvement of the parts of a system does not necessarily lead to an improvement of the whole.
- drawing systems diagrams provides a methodology to create a representation of the system in its environment, including establishing the boundary between them.
- system diagrams enable the interactions between the parts of systems to be made explicit and understandable as the drivers of the system’s dynamics.
- systems diagrams show the existence of feedback loops, some of which are essential to control the system.
- some feedback loops can make systems inherently unpredictable, while others may cause the system to become unstable.
- the Formal Systems Model provides a robust framework for analysing systems and has been used in many studies for identifying systems failures.
- some systems are inherently complex and unpredictable and they require new computational methods from the Science of Complex Systems to investigate their behaviour in a policy context.
- systems thinking and complexity can be integrated into Global Systems Science which coordinates Complex Systems Science, Policy Informatics and Citizen Engagement to address the urgent local and global policy issues of the modern world.
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A Certificate of Achievement
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To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.
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