Making strategy with systems thinking in practice

This module (TB871) will enable you to take strategic action in complex interconnected situations, where contrasting understandings, motivations and interests can often lead to conflict. By integrating tools from five traditions of systems thinking into your practice, you will develop capability towards making choices with ethical awareness and political sensitivity. You will nurture capacity to strategically utilise both improved understanding of inter-relationships, and enhanced engagement with multiple perspectives. The module is designed to enrich your understanding of systems thinking whilst making practical progress on situations from your existing professional work and/or situations of more general interest to you.

Vocational relevance

By studying the module, you will be enhancing your role as a systems thinking practitioner; enabling you to make practical improvements to complex issues, by using a range of systems thinking ideas, tools and techniques. You will extend your competence as a professional to have an impact in ethically sound and politically just ways.

Students who have successfully completed previous Open University modules in Systems Thinking in Practice have benefited personally, as well as being able to contribute to organisations encountering the increasing volatility, uncertainty and complexity of modern life.

This module is ideal for people who:

  • work across numerous organisational, disciplinary, and political boundaries (internal or external),
  • encounter a wide range of often incompatible perspectives on issues and tasks
  • recognise the value of engaging with multiple stakeholders both within and beyond one’s immediate sphere of influence and seek to secure collaborative action amongst them
  • experience uncertainty about the nature of the problem and thus what would constitute a solution (i.e. dealing with wicked problems or ‘messes’)

You may be engaged in

  • project or programme development and/or delivery
  • multi-level group, organisational, institutional or professional change and transformation
  • policy analysis, development or implementation
  • product and service design, innovation and creativity
  • leadership, team management and professional development


TB871 is a compulsory module in:

TB871 is an optional module in:

This module can also count towards M03, which is no longer open to new students.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit the excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.

Further information

For further information about this module, see TB871 | Making strategy with systems thinking in practice | Open University.

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