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Crawford School of Public Policy

Adaptive Thinking for Complex Policy and Strategy Development

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In this course participants will learn skills and techniques that will assist them in dealing with complex policy and work issues. The course will focus on assisting people to become aware of their unconscious “operating system” and how that shapes their performance in their personal and work environment.

Participants will explore the principles behind applying complex adaptive systems in the areas of policy and strategy development and implementation. The principles highlight to participants how they may need to redefine and/or enhance their approaches to deal with the complex dynamics of both the internal and external operating landscapes.

Course overview

The focus of this course is:

  • the presentation of the principles of complex adaptive systems- the emerging science that assists to understand and manage complex problems. A series of models and frameworks are presented and defined. Examples and case studies are presented to enhance the participant’s learning experience. Participants also work in small groups to complete various tasks and exercises to deepen their understanding of the principles and concepts.
  • a set of principles from complex adaptive systems that guide people in the application of the models and frameworks in the workplace. Participants will work in small groups and use the context of their work environment to practice the application of these principles.
  • to explore how values, beliefs, power, ideology and linguistic patterns work together to shape the nature and context of conversations in meetings
  • be able to use the models to enhance their role in the development of policy and strategy


Dr Gary Saliba is the Director of Strategic Journeys, a management consulting company that assists in strategy development work within organisations. The unique role of Gary and his company is the integration of complex adaptive systems thinking with future studies and strategy development. This...
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