What's included in this journey?


This 30-day learning journey is designed to activate and advance your systems mindset through 30 individual themes and learning activities that challenge you to become a systems thinker! We go from exploring your own personal perspectives of systems to practicing the techniques and tools needed to apply systems thinking, like systems mapping. Then, we explore how to intervene and create positive systems change by designing a mini systems intervention. Through this challenge-based course, you will rapidly advance your knowledge of systems approaches to complex problem-solving via our unique, digestible daily content! As an interactive experience, this Challenge pack includes 30 activities so you can practice applying what you’re learning while it’s fresh in your mind.

Key Challenge Outcomes


  • Increase your foundational understanding of systems thinking methods, habits and practices

  • Improve your observation skills to build a more keen mindset for recognizing the dynamic systems at play around you

  • Develop the ability to identify, explore, and map system relationships for interventions, while leveraging flexible and divergent thinking practices

  • Review digital systems mapping tools for future use

  • Overcome reductionism, learn to think in dynamic systems and uncover ways of making systems change

Course Curriculum


  • 01

    Getting Started

    • Welcome to the UnSchool Online!

    • Welcome to the 30 Days of Systems Thinking Learning Journey

    • How to Get the Most out of This Course

    • About the Activities

  • 02

    Day 1: Starting with Systems

    • Watch: Systems Thinking 101

    • Read: What is Systems Thinking?

    • Activity: Noticing Systems

  • 03

    Day 2 : Reductionism

    • Listen: Overcoming Reductionism

    • Read: Overcoming Reductionism

    • Activity: Reflecting on Reductionism

  • 04

    Day 3: Mental Models

    • Watch: Shifting Mindsets

    • Read: Developing a Systems Mindset

    • Activity: Worldview Reflection

  • 05

    Day 4: The Iceberg Model

    • Read: The Iceberg Model

    • Activity: Iceberg Reflections

    • Download: Iceberg Reflections Worksheet

  • 06

    Day 5: Systems Perspective

    • Read: Perspective Shifting

    • Activity: Systems Observation

  • 07

    Day 6: What Defines a System?

    • Read: What Defines a System?

    • Read: Systems Boundaries & Sub-Systems

    • Activity: Systems Boundary Notes

  • 08

    Day 7: 3 Systems at Play

    • Read: 3 Key Systems at Play

    • Activity: 3 Systems at Play

    • Download: The 3 Main Systems at Play Worksheet

  • 09

    Day 8: Tools of a Systems Thinker

    • Read: Tools of a Systems Thinker

    • Watch: Reflexivity

    • Activity: Reflexive Thinking

    • Download: Reflexive Thinking Worksheet

  • 10

    Day 9: Messy Systems Mapping

    • Read: Introduction to Analog Systems Mapping

    • Watch: Systems Mapping

    • Activity: Cluster ("Messy") Mapping

    • Download: Cluster ("Messy") Maps Worksheet

  • 11

    Day 10: Identifying Systems

    • Read: Seeking Insights

    • Activity: Identifying Insights

  • 12

    Day 11: Emergence

    • Read: Emergence

    • Read: The Mushroom Model

    • Activity: Observing Emergence

  • 13

    Day 12: Quick History of Systems Thinking

    • Read: A Quick History of Systems Thinking

    • Read: Peter Senge's 11 Rules to Thinking in Systems

    • Activity: Thinking in Systems Connections

  • 14

    Day 13: Systems Dynamics

    • Watch: Systems Dynamics

    • Read: Systems Dynamics

    • Read: Systems Boundaries

    • Activity: System Boundaries

  • 15

    Day 14: Feedback Loops

    • Read: Feedback Loops

    • Activity: Feedback Loops of Inaction Worksheet

  • 16

    Day 15: Systems Elements

    • Watch: Nodes

    • Read: Identifying System Elements

    • Activity: Systems Elements

    • Download: Systems Elements Worksheet

  • 17

    Day 16: Systems Behaviors

    • Read: System Behaviors

    • Activity: System Behaviors

  • 18

    Day 17: Stocks and Flows

    • Read: What are Stocks and Flows?

    • Read: Stock and Flow Diagrams

    • Activity: Stocks and Flows

  • 19

    Day 18: Types of Systems Maps

    • Watch: Systems Mapping Techniques

    • Read: Different Types of Systems Maps

    • Activity: Developing a Systems Practice

  • 20

    Day 19: Causal Loop Diagrams

    • Read: Causal Loop Diagrams

    • Read: How to do Causal Loop Diagrams

    • Activity: Causal Loops Diagrams + Causes and Effects

  • 21

    Day 20: Connected Circles Map

    • Read: Interconnected Circles Maps

    • Activity: Interconnected Circles Map

    • Download: Interconnected Circles Map Worksheet

  • 22

    Day 21: Systems Archetypes

    • Watch: Systems Archetypes

    • Read: System Archetypes

    • Read: Systems Archetypes PDF

    • Activity: Tragedy of the Commons

  • 23

    Day 22: System Delays

    • Read: Accounting for Delays

    • Read: Delays and Rates of Change

    • Activity: Finding Delays

  • 24

    Day 23: Behavior Over Time Graphs

    • Read: Behavior Over Times Graphs

    • Activity: Behavior Over Times Graph

  • 25

    Day 24: Digital Systems Mapping Tools

    • Read: Systems Modeling Tools

    • Read: Digital Mapping Tools

    • Activity: Digital Mapping

  • 26

    Day 25: Systems Observation

    • Read: System Observations

    • Activity: Systems Observations

  • 27

    Day 26: Systems Interventions

    • Read: Systems Interventions

    • Read: Leverage Points

    • Activity: Design a Systems Intervention

  • 28

    Day 27: Making Systems Change

    • Watch: Mastering Change

    • Read: More Tactics for Activating Systems Change

    • Read: Storytelling for Making Systems Change

    • Activity: Hero's Journey Worksheet

  • 29

    Day 28: Theory of Change

    • Read: Developing a Theory of Change

    • Watch: Theory of Change

    • Activity: Do a Theory of Change

    • Download: Theory of Change Worksheet

  • 30

    Day 29: Additional Systems Tools

    • Read: Soft Systems Methodology

    • Read: Ladder of Inference

    • Activity: Download the Ladder of Inference Template

  • 31

    Day 30: Putting it all Together

    • Read: Tying it all together

    • Additional Resources and Links

  • 32


    • Congratulations!

Journey Price


Instructor Bio:

Sustainability provocateur, award-winning designer, 2016 UNEP Champion of the Earth, and creative changemaker pioneer, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu challenges people to think differently about how the world works. As the founder of the UnSchool and creator of the Disruptive Design Method, Leyla weaves together her skills as a designer, sociologist, and social entrepreneur to create highly immersive educative experiences. She is a renowned international expert on systems thinking and sustainability, running workshops around the world and designing activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences that help equip people with the tools to intervene and change systems to make the status quo obsolete. Sought after for her unique approach to activating positive social change by design, Leyla's main-stage TED talk on sustainability has been viewed over a million times, and she is the author of several handbooks, as well as an op ed contributor for major publications like the New York Times.

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

UnSchool Founder + Global Change Maker