Why do we start organizations in the first place? We have a vision for the future, and we need to work with others to bring that vision to life. The whole purpose of any organization is collective action. When organizations fail, it is often the result of the failure to harness the collective power of individuals to drive toward that singular vision. However, much like you would design an iPhone, you can also design organizations that are adaptive and can focus everyone on achieving the organization's vision.
In this course, Cornell University faculty members Derek and Laura Cabrera present you with the design principles of intelligent, adaptive organizations built for systems thinking. With expert guidance and hands-on activities, you will create your organization's vision and mission, and build capacity and learning systems that support your organization's ability to achieve these core principles. This approach is a systems leadership and organizational design model that will help you better design, guide, manage, and change your organization. It provides you with a blueprint to build the culture you need to attain your ultimate goal: to have your entire organization, at every level, working toward realizing your company's vision.
These courses are required to be completed prior to starting this course:
Framing Complex Problems with Systems Thinking
Using the Four Simple Rules of Systems Thinking
Visualizing and Modeling Complex Systems
Building Analytical and Emotional Intelligence with Systems Thinking
Key Course Takeaways
Develop a vision for your organization or department that describes its desired future state and provides a goal that everyone in the organization should strive to meet
Create a mission for your organization that defines the actions you and others will take to bring about the future state described in the vision
Identify and align the mission-critical systems that build the organization's capacity to perform the mission and achieve the vision
Build a learning culture so your organization adapts to feedback from the environment, continually improves the mission-critical systems, and can thrive in the face of change
For over 15 years, Laura has conducted translational research to increase public understanding, application, and dissemination of systems science, including for USDA, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, HHS, and the Dept. of Justice.
She is also a senior researcher at Cabrera Research Lab, has authored five books on systems thinking and its applications, and is a member of the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Systems Engineering Advisory Board.
Laura holds a PhD in Policy Analysis and Management, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a B.A., all from Cornell.
Derek Cabrera (Ph.D., Cornell) is a systems scientist, Professor, and social entrepreneur and is internationally known for his work in systems thinking, systems leadership, and systems modeling. He is currently visiting faculty at Cornell University where he teaches systems thinking and organizational leadership and design. He is senior scientist at Cabrera Research Lab, and co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Plectica. He has given two TED Talks, written and produced a rap song, a children’s book on cognition, and authored numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. His research has been profiled in peer-reviewed journals, trade magazines, and popular publications, and he is author of eight books including, Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems (winner of the 2017 AECT outstanding book award), Thinking at Every Desk: Four Simple Skills to Transform Your Classroom, and Flock Not Clock: Align People, Processes, and Systems to Achieve your Vision. Credited with discovering the underlying rules of systems thinking, Cabrera is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Systems Thinking. His work in public schools was documented in the full-length documentary film, RE:Thinking. He was Research Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) for the Study of Complex Systems and National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow in Nonlinear Systems in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell University. As a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, he developed new techniques to model systems approaches in the evaluation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Cabrera was awarded the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ K. Patricia Cross Future Educational Leaders Award. He serves on the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Systems Engineering Advisory Board. His contributions to the field of systems thinking have been integrated into NSF, NIH, and USDA-NIFA programs, K-12, higher education, NGOs, federal agencies, corporations, and business schools. His systems models are used by many of Silicon Valley’s most innovative companies. Systems Thinking Made Simple is used as an introductory text for undergraduate and graduate students in numerous colleges and universities including Cornell University and West Point Military Academy. Cabrera has developed and patented a suite of systems thinking tools for use in academia, business, and beyond. Prior to becoming a scientist, Cabrera worked for fifteen years around the world as a mountain guide and experiential educator for Outward Bound and other organizations and has climbed many of the world’s highest mountains. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and lives in Ithaca, NY, with his wife, Laura Cabrera, three children, and four dogs.
Managers, leaders, decision makers, consultants, and anyone responsible for projects, complex processes, and the budgets and people involved with them. Learners will come from every continent and from a diverse range of organizations, including private sector companies large and small, nonprofits, governments, and NGOs.
For people already interested in systems dynamics or soft systems methodologies, the core principles from this program can be applied to any systems-based models.
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