Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice
Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Systems approaches for thinking (in practice)


Welcome to the first part of this free course Strategic planning: systems thinking in practice.

With media and political attention given to systemic failure, systems thinking is increasingly advocated as an alternative way of managing human interventions associated with socio-economic and environmental development. So what is systems thinking? Why might systems approaches provide better support for strategic planning? Moreover, how might such approaches support systemic success?

The two parts of the course complement each other by way of introducing elements of systems thinking in practice; with Part 1 focusing more on the ‘thinking’ and Part 2 veering more towards the ‘practice’.

This course provides a detailed account for five key systems approaches.

These approaches are:

  • system dynamics (SD)
  • viable system model (VSM)
  • strategic options development and analysis (SODA)
  • soft systems methodology (SSM)
  • critical systems heuristics (CSH)

Note: This short OpenLearn course is not teaching how to use the five systems approaches listed above. The course gives a general introduction to the approaches and what they may have to offer in support of systems thinking.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of postgraduate study in Technology [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .