This starter course was developed to help you understand one of the core tools needed to replace the linear unsustainable model. By taking this course you will learn how to advance a systems mindset so we can move to a regenerative, circular and sustainable economy. This short introductory course on systems change is about introducing systems thinking as a tool, identifying the core techniques and looking at different ways of applying it. This is designed to help you get started using this approach in your daily professional activities in helping to bring about a sustainable future.

Course Content

  • 01


  • 02

    Systems Thinking Concepts, Principles and Tools

    • Read: Overview of Systems Thinking Concepts & Principles

    • Read: Developing a Systems Mindset

    • Watch: Adopting a Systems Mindset

    • Read: The Iceberg Model

    • Read: Defining and Exploring Systems

    • Read: System Feedback Loops

    • Watch: Adopting a Systems Perspective

    • Read: Delays and Rates of Change

    • Download: System-Connections Worksheet

    • Read: 11 Key Principles of Systems Thinking

    • Read: Systems Change

    • Read: Ladder of Inference

    • Download: Ladder of Inference Worksheet

  • 03

    Social Norms the Status Quo and Barriers to Change

    • Read: The Status Quo

    • Read: Habits and Change

    • Read: Challenging Social Norms

    • Download: Changing Social Norms Worksheet

    • Activity: Force Field Analysis Worksheet

    • Read: Points of Intervention and Leverage

    • Read: Tipping Points for Change

    • Watch: Mastering Change

  • 04

    Systems Mapping for System Interventions

    • Read: Overview of System Mapping Techniques

    • Watch: Systems Mapping

    • Read: Soft Systems Methodology

    • Read: How to Create a Cluster Map

    • Download: Cluster Mapping Instruction Sheets

  • 05

    Designing Effective Systems Change Initiatives

    • Read: Systems Insights

    • Watch: Framing Change

    • Read: Designing Systems Interventions

    • Watch: Designing Systems Interventions

  • 06


    • Additional Resources and Links

  • 07

    Next Steps

    • Continue Your Learning Journey

Dr. Leyla Acaroglu

Your Instructor

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

What you get out of this short class:

  • Gain an overview of systems thinking, mapping and how to design systems change

  • Explore social norms, the status quo and barriers to change

  • Learn how to design and develop systems change initiatives

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