Human-Centered Systems Thinking By Deirdre Cerminaro – Ideo U – Free Download Course
A holistic approach to problem solving starts with people.
People are at the heart of every complex human system–but they’re often the most overlooked. Effective problem solvers today know how to visualize the larger dynamics of the system while staying grounded in the needs of people. In this course, you’ll learn to combine the analytical tools of systems thinking with the creative mindsets of human-centered design to make sense of complex systems challenges. Explore mapping tools to identify the right places to focus, surface insights about your stakeholders, and pick the most impactful solutions to experiment with so you can go beyond the obvious and design lasting solutions.
Gain techniques for mapping complex systems and identifying the root causes of a problem.
Establish a shared view of the system and reframe problems from different perspectives to uncover new solutions.
Find the right problems to solve and pick the best solutions to experiment with.
Deepen your understanding of your organizational systems by taking an iterative approach to testing solutions and gaining insights.
What You’ll Learn:
Week 1: Overview
Gain an overview of the course and IDEO’s approach to human-centered systems thinking.
WATCH A SNEAK PEEK
Human-Centered Systems Thinking – A sneak peek of the course
1 VIDEO LESSON
Zooming In and Out – Bringing a human-centered lens to systems thinking.
Define Your Systems Challenge: Choose a systems challenge from your work to help you practice and apply the mindsets and methods outlined in this course. Define your challenge in the form of a question. If you do not have a systems challenge at work, you can choose one as a model.
If you’re familiar with systems thinking, what are some ways that you bring this mindset to your work? If you’re not, how might your work benefit from a systems view?
Week 2: Visualize the System
Explore a variety of mapping tools to make sense of complex situations, uncover the root causes of problems, and create a shared view of the system.
3 VIDEO LESSONS
Uncover the Connections – Make sense of the relationships and interactions
Make it Visible – Break down a complicated process
Go Beneath the Surface – Focus on solving the root causes of a problem
Create a Systems Map: Choose one type of systems map based on your systems challenge and create the first iteration of it to share with your peers. Reflect on what you learned from the process.
What are some other types of maps and tools you use to make sense of complexity?
What strategies do you use to align different perspectives and build a shared understanding?
Have you noticed any patterns of behavior in your own work? What might be the underlying structures or mindsets that contribute to these behaviors?
Three Ways to Map a System: Get guidance on how to choose the best map for your systems challenge.
Systems Map Gallery: Get inspired by examples of how others have visualized their systems.
Week 3: Humanize the System
Discover creative techniques to surface insights about stakeholders, reframe problems from different perspectives, and spot opportunities for solutions.
3 VIDEO LESSONS
Listen to the System – Uncover the needs, challenges, and motivations of the people in
The Power of Perspective – Unlock new ways of seeing and thinking
Look for Leverage – Look beyond the obvious solution
Conduct a Stakeholder Interview: Choose one stakeholder from your systems map and conduct an in-depth interview. Then reframe your systems challenge and identify an opportunity for redesign.
Think about the last system you interacted with. What was your experience and how did it influence your perspective?
What are techniques you like to use to help you get a new perspective on a challenging problem or situation?
Think back to a situation where a small shift, either in your personal or professional life, had an outsized impact. What was the change and how did it affect you and/or others?
Week 4: Redesign the System
Get practical tips for how to pick the most impactful ideas, experiment with the levers of design, and prototype solutions with real people.
4 VIDEO LESSONS
Activate the Levers of Design – Redesign systems in small but effective ways
Prioritize for Impact – Evaluate the impact and feasibility of different solutions
Experiment with the System – Test your ideas and deepen your understanding of your system
Surface your Learnings – Draw out insights from your prototype
Test Solutions: Pick 1-2 ideas around each design lever and then choose 1 that is potentially high impact and easy to implement. Build a small prototype, test it out, and reflect on the outcome.
Prototyping helps us explore how a system works, feels, responds to change. Of the three, which resonates the most with you, and why?
Which levers do you have the most control over in your organization? Which have you used to create positive change and improve outcomes?
Think about a time when you or others made a decision or implemented an idea that had unintended consequences. What was the outcome?
What is one small experiment you could try today that would be meaningful to learn from?
Prototyping Primer: Get familiar with the process of prototyping.
Prototyping Gallery: Get inspired by examples of how others have approached prototyping.
Week 5: Looking Ahead
Learn about the importance of creating learning loops to gather feedback and identify early signs of progress.
1 VIDEO LESSON
Systems Change by Design – Expanding your sphere of influence.
Envision the Future: Imagine that you learned from your experiment, and kept iterating and experimenting over a period of time. Write a story from the future about how you were able to shift the system toward a better outcome.
After learning about the mindsets and methods of human-centered systems thinking, are there any big complex challenges that you feel inspired to take on?