This intensive course covers a set of practical tools and methods to work through complex decisions with clarity and confidence, resulting in improved outcomes. Read more Read less

The course has a running case study, which serves as a practical 'hand-rail' to guide students through the application of systems thinking methods and provides a 'tool-box' of approaches and methods that take a more holistic approach to problem structuring, requirements capture and definition; appreciating multiple viewpoints and addressing different perspectives.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£1,750

Course structure

Lectures and practical sessions throughout the five days on relevant case studies; in particular using students’ own problems on Day 3 of the course.

What you will learn

The course will equip students to see problems ‘as a whole’ and appreciate different viewpoints, aiding their ability to draw out the key factors of any problematic situation, the form and structure of systems and to represent the systems’ dynamics.

The course will develop the broad range of critical and reflective thinking skills to develop ways of dealing with multiple stakeholder perspectives, leverage points, new disciplines and to work through influence activities required to achieve desired outcomes. In particular, the appreciative inquiry-based approaches will help to question and challenge what appears to be a ‘given’ constraint or policy-based limitation, identifying and challenging any assumptions.

Core content

Approaches covered include:

  • Use of Rich Pictures
  • Methods for Multi-perspective views
  • System mapping
  • Soft Systems methods
  • Dependency Modelling
  • Metaphors for organisation
  • Methods for Assumption surfacing and checking
  • Scenario Planning for plausible futures
  • Systems diagnostics tools (e.g. Viable Systems Model)
  • Systems Dynamics Influence and Causal Loop diagrams.

Who should attend

The course is aimed at:

  • Systems Analysts and Engineers of all disciplines
  • Managers/decision makers/policy makers
  • Individuals who need critical thinking skills to achieve successful outcomes in a complex working environment.


  • Mrs Lorraine Dodd
  • Mr Jeremy Hilton
  • Dr Niki Jobson (Complex Adaptive Systems Thinking and Strategy to Capability Development Framework expert) Principal Analyst, Joint Systems Department, Dstl, Portsdown West, UK.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.