Systems Thinking and Mapping for Public Policy
At its core, systems thinking attempts to better align how we think things work with how the real world actually works. The real world works in systems—complex networks of many interacting variables. Often nonlinear, complex, and unpredictable, real-world systems seldom correspond with our desire for simplistic, hierarchical, and linear explanations. Systems thinking is the field of study that attempts to better understand how to think better about real-world systems, and the complex problems we face. The complex systems and “wicked problems” that are characteristic of the public, nonprofit and private sectors pose conceptual challenges when our mental models are out of alignment with the complexities, nonlinearities, unintended consequences, and multi-perspectival issues that leaders, managers, and policy makers face. Students need to develop deep understanding as well as useful proficiency with systems thinking to solve both everyday and wicked problems effectively.
Students enroll in PADM 1449.