Systems Thinking and Modelling Practice


This short course incorporates our three-day Addressing Complex Problems course, which introduces the most appropriate ways of visualising the interrelationships between the various parts of real-world problems, from straightforward well-behaved problems to those problems that continually change over time and are resistant to corrective action. The course provides solid foundations for developing strategies and managing problems including those for which conventional reductionist ways of thinking are ineffective. The last two days of the course build on the skills developed in the Addressing Complex Problems course. The Systems Thinking and Modelling Practice course forms the basis of the micro-credential ZEIT8244 Systems Thinking and Modelling Knowledge course that may be used to gain credit towards a postgraduate program (see Masters credit section below).

No prior knowledge is assumed.

Duration: 5 days

Delivery mode: Classroom


Advertised: Canberra

In-house: All states and neighbouring countries, contact the Professional Education Course Unit for more information. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

What you will receive:

Affiliated course: Addressing Complex Problems (3 days)

*pending final results 


The course is valuable for anyone faced with continually changing problems in public or private sector organisations or communities.



The nature of problems including well-behaved, complex, and wicked problems | Human ability to solve problems | A problem solving framework for complex problems | Introduction to problem-solving tools

Addressing Well-behaved Problems

Identification of stakeholders | Definition of problem statement | Functional decomposition of well-behaved problems | Functional decomposition exercise (in groups): Stakeholders; Constraints; Need statement; Operational scenarios; Measures of effectiveness; Support concepts; and Context diagrams

Addressing Complex/Wicked Problems

The difference between well-behaved problems and complex/wicked problems | Systems thinking language | Understanding the problem | Tools for solving complex problems | Causal loop diagramming (CLD) | CLD exercises | Using archetypes to think about complex problems | reflecting on holistic complexity | Creative thinking methods | Decision making and strategy development (ACTIFELD, Field Anomaly Relaxation) | Further archetypes | Using stock and flow diagrams | Anylogic training | Exercises and discussions


Dr Sondoss Elsawah holds MSc in operations research and PhD degree in computer science from the University of New South Wales. She is a post-doctoral researcher at University of New South Wales and an adjunct fellow at the Australian National University. Her research and teaching interests include using systems thinking and system dynamics, modelling and simulation, and interdisciplinary knowledge to support problem solving and learning in complex problematic situations. She sits on the executive committee of the Australian/NZ Modelling and Simulation Society, and the organizing committee of the 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (Modsim 2015). She has published widely including journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, and technical reports. She has attracted research grants from Government and industrial agencies in Australia and overseas, including Australian Research Council (ARC) and US National Scientific Fund (NSF).

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