Systems Thinking for Social Evolution & Sustainability.

The purpose of this course is to transform the way in which you observe reality, so that you can begin to observe complex systems and a complex world, in such a way that you can observe the system dynamics behind complex problems and be able to solve them, or design better systems.

Systems thinking is a discipline and a framework for seeing the interrelationships between things, rather than seeing just the parts, events, or snapshots of reality. Systems thinking is a set of general principles from science, biology, ecology, and social sciences.

These principles allow the observer to see the behavior and dynamics of complex systems like organizations, ecosystems, communities, institutions, economic systems, and society.

A systems perspective involves a shift of mind , or a shift in the kind of observer you are, and fundamentally the shift is from seeing parts to seeing wholes, and in seeing the hidden connections between the parts and between other systems. Systems thinking is also a language, with its own set of distinctions, and vocabulary. One of the interesting things about language is that it shapes perception. What we see depends on the kind of observer that we are, our worldview, and the kind of distinctions/words that we have.

The key objectives of the course are :

  • Understand the dynamics and characteristics of complex systems.
  • Understand the language and tools of systems thinking.
  • Apply the language and tools of systems thinking to solving problems in the real world.
  • Understand the dynamics and complexity of organizations..
  • Apply systems thinking tools for solving adaptive challenges in our society and world..
  • Transform the observer, so that you can see systems and the hidden connections between parts and other systems.
  • Combine systems thinking with sustainability to create ┬áSystemic Sustainable systems.

From a systems perspective, our organizations, institutions, and societies are more and more interconnected, and interdependent and we live in a world where most of our problems are systemic in nature.. All of our institutions need to engage in a continuous process of learning, adaptation, and evolving. Systems thinking is one of the key disciplines that can help leaders observe a complex world, and also be able to shape its direction toward a more humane and sustainable future. In this course we will explore and discover the systemic connections between our individual actions, our organizational performance, and the larger social systems. The possibility is there to evolve our organizations and societies toward  just,  sustainable and flourishing societies.

Course length: 2 days.

Recommended readings:

  • The Necessary Revolution. Peter Senge, Sara Schley, et al.
  • The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Peter Senge.
  • Sustainability by Design. John Ehrenfeld.
  • The Hidden Connections , Fritjof Capra
  • The Systems View of Life. Fritjof Capra.
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