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Online Course

Thinking Complexity

Toulouse Business School via iversity


This is a hands-on four chapter course to learn how to better understand and act when faced with complex situations. By the end of the course students will be able to take a story from the news, describe what makes the situation complex and identify opportunities for effective action or change. We will draw on systems theory and complexity theory for our teachings and learn to use proven data collection and modelling techniques from systems thinking and system dynamics.


Chapter 1: Introducing complexity

We will define complexity and explore how complex situations require changes to the way we apprehend the world.

Chapter 2: Thinking in systems

We will describe and model how different factors, such as people, ideas or things interact over time and generate the complexity in a specific problem situation.

Chapter 3: Mapping the dynamics of complexity

We will learn the role of accumulations and nonlinearities in complex systems and observe how they contribute to both the changes over time and the unexpected and often frustrating behaviours we observe. We will learn to use free online software to simulate complex situations.

Chapter 4: Living with complexity

We will learn a number of tools and techniques that will accelerate our understanding of real world situations and help us to act with impact when faced with complexity. We will also consider the implications of complexity for management, social change and sustainability.

Taught by

Cameron Guthrie

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5.0 rating, based on 2 reviews

Start your review of Thinking Complexity

  • Pilar Reyes completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is a very good course because of the methodology: videos are high quality (it's possible to download the transcripts) and the lecturer is confident and enthusiastic. Besides,the examples used to explain the different units are well chosen, coherent, and taken from recent events. In order to help students solve the exercises, examples are given and they can download the possible solutions to check their answer. Finally, students are encouraged to use a journal to keep lecture notes, exercises, and assignments. This journal is part of the platform and it is very easy to used. It's possible to upload videos and images. Of course it is possible to participate in discussions and ask questions.
  • Sylvia Amar completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    The course deals with systems thinking. It helps us to understand how a complex system works and reacts. It helps us to understand the mechanisms and the leverages to modify them.

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