This course can be taken as a Short Course for Credit.
Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

All applicants must have completed Fundamentals of Systems Thinking before undertaking the this course

We all bring our own biases and perspectives into conversations about systems, and we are often very defensive of our ideas and beliefs. The significant benefit of thinking in systems comes when working collaboratively and being able to actively listen to others and contribute in an open constructive manner.

This course explores the world of bias and reasoning, how they affect decision-making and, through practice, demonstrates the benefit of dialogue and conversation in building consensus. Techniques introduced include World Café, Appreciative Inquiry, Scenario Planning and Reflective Practice.

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 campus
  • Cost£1,490

What you will learn

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast a  range of methods or methodologies for: intervention planning, information gathering, engagement and change implementation,
  • Determine ethics as applied to systems interventions generally, as well as specific to depth and breadth of ‘sector’, relevant to where situations occur,
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of multi-disciplinary groups with divergent or conflicting world views,
  • Design, plan and manage groups to define and achieve desired outcomes, utilising appropriate methods and techniques including effective dialogue and the development of a shared understanding of the problem situation or decision-making.

Core content

This course focuses on the setting up and successful exploitation of workshops, studies and other interventions relevant to the systems thinking practitioner’s role;

  • It explores how culture, schemas, beliefs, and attitudes influence human interactions, teamwork, and collaboration.
  • It examines cognitive biases and reasoning and the impact this has both on the practitioner, and the people the practitioner is working with.
  • It introduces and practices modes of dialogue and collaborative techniques including: Dialogue Project, World cafe, Appreciative Inquiry, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Each student will design and run a short mock workshop attended by their peers on the course.
  • Finally, it introduces the principles of Red teaming, Role-playing, Game theory, and Drama theory.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Systems Thinking Practice MSc

Find out more about short course credit points.

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.

Location and travel

Situated close to Milton Keynes and Bedford, the Cranfield campus is situated in Wharley End, very close to Cranfield village, and is about 10 minutes from the M1 motorway.  There is rail and road access to most major airports as well as coach and train stations. Cranfield campus also has its own airport for private executive business travel.

Download a visitor guide including map, directions and health and safety information.

Campus address

College Road
MK43 0AL


How to apply

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

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.