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Systems Thinking for Sustainability: Analyzing and Transitioning Complex Systems

Explore complex systems analysis structures, through which you can design strategic interventions to drive sustainable change.

Systems Thinking for Sustainability: Analyzing and Transitioning Complex Systems
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

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  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 1 of 3
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Take a structured approach to systems analysis

Systems analysis is a key tool in driving sustainable changes using systems thinking. Before you can drive systems change, you need to understand how a system works, and the roles and influence of its components so that you can analyse that information to derive meaningful learnings.

Armed with a robust analysis structure, you’ll be able to wade through complex social phenomena to become a more effective change-maker in your area of influence.

Upon completion of this course, you’ll be acquainted with the practice of analysing complex systems and translating your learnings into sound sustainability strategies.

Design actionable interventions for sustainable change

Systems analysis and design play a central role in driving systems change. This course will lay a foundation for your implementation of systems change by giving you the theoretical tools for systems analysis.

You’ll learn to break down complex systems into their different dimensions of time, space, and context. This will allow you to see where you can influence strategic interventions to drive sustainable change. You’ll consider how different interventions can have different scales of impact: direct, indirect, or systematic. You’ll also explore different approaches to complex systems thinking, such as reductionist, holistic, and symbiotic methodologies.

The course focuses on driving meaningful and actionable sustainable change. You will, therefore, explore different strategies for creating roadmaps for large-scale changes, to bring your sustainability goals into reach.

What topics will you cover?

  • How to break down systems in dimensions of time, space, and context, to better understand them.
  • How to analyze strategic interventions across different scales of impact - i.e. direct impact, indirect impact, systemic impact.
  • Different approaches in complex systems thinking - reductionist, holistic, and symbiotic.
  • Different strategies for visualizing large-scale transitions on roadmaps that makes them tangible.

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify the main concepts underlying sustainability, and its relevance in our society today.
  • Explore basic principles of systems thinking and network theory applied to sustainability.
  • Access optimized versions of iterative design thinking.
  • Perform quick impact scans across different dimensions of sustainability, enlarging your scope of impact.
  • Evaluate the way success is defined for sustainable projects.
  • Interpret systemic behaviours in society, and how they relate to sustainability transitions.
  • Design your own solutioning process.

Who is the course for?

This sustainability management course is designed for anyone who would like to understand how systems analysis can help us to build more sustainable systems.

It would be suitable for purpose-driven professionals at public and private organisations.

Who will you learn with?

Tom is a renowned sustainability focused entrepreneur, architect, author, and advisor. He developed the Symbiosis in Development (SiD) framework, and leads his field with 20+ years of experience.

Ruben works at Except’s Knowledge & Training pillar to develop and share the SiD methodology in a way that is understandable, comprehensive, up to date and valid.

A creative communicator and journalist, Zuza creates tangible narratives of social importance via writing that encompasses academia, journalism, and creative forms.

I am a sustainability consultant and I enjoy working on complex issues that require research, analysis, and creativity.

Who developed the course?

Except Integrated Sustainability

We deliver concepts and strategies for resilient, just, and inspiring cities, companies, governance, and industry.

About this ExpertTrack

Discover tools for complex systems analysis and design that will guide your work towards a more sustainable future.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
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