Systems Thinking Approach to Change Management (online)


Why do so many complex Change programmes fail to achieve their promised benefits? Particularly so as there is no shortage of traditional, ‘linear’ Change Management methods? 

The reason is that so many approaches fail to take into account true Complexity: 

  • Unintended consequences 

  • Evolving requirements and adapting targets 

  • Emergence of unknown-unknowns 

  • Adaptation and Reactance from people and organisations undergoing change 

  • Novel and complex problems that won’t respond to slow, linear change methods 

In short, many approaches to change fail to integrate Systems Thinking. 


Over the course of 12 sessions, you will learn to apply a tool-box of practical, pragmatic and usable tools that will enable you to manage complex change effectively.  

The course shows how to first assess Change projects in terms of their complexity and then to apply tools and methods appropriately. The course takes the traditional concepts of Change including Communication and Persuasion and moves them up to a higher, Systems Thinking level.

Individual thinking styles and models of diverse cultural responses to Change are embedded in a framework of Complexity Theory and Systems Thinking.

Programme details

The course includes tools to evaluate change readiness and team alignment and identifies key skills for Change leadership. It features an Agile approach to project execution and covers key facilitation skills for Change Team leadership. 

We introduce a series of tools to deal with Complexity and Emergence including rich analysis of the organisational context and Change problem. We present a Systems Thinking approach to Change Project initiation and management based on Dr Rob Collins’ book “Visual Project Maps”. 

This course, as for other courses in this series, is primarily focussed on practical, usable tools that enable execution. This is a course aimed at ‘doing’ underpinned by Systems Thinking.  

Dates, Times and Delivery

The core teaching element of the course consists of eight 105-minute teaching sessions from 10:00-11:45 and 12:45-14:30 (UK time) on:

  • Tuesday 5 December
  • Wednesday 6December
  • Thursday 7 December and
  • Friday 8 December 2023 

The course will be delivered via video-conference from our purpose-built broadcast studio. We will be using our online, interactive workshop environment to enable practical workshop activities during the course. 

There are also four optional 90-minute, practical workshop sessions on each day of the course, from 15:00-16:30 (UK time).
These optional sessions are open to everyone on the course, enabling you to practice key tools covered in the taught sessions.

These optional sessions in the afternoon will not be taught, and won’t be supervised by the course tutor – rather they are an opportunity for teams to practice the tools introduced on the course in a collaborative, risk-free manner, using our online, interactive workshop environment. 

Please build in extra time around each online session to allow for any technical issues.

This is a ‘virtual classroom’ course, and is designed to replicate the experience of a classroom. The sessions are ‘live’ and are not recorded.

No attendance at Oxford is required and you do not need to purchase any software.

Accessing Your Online Course 

Details about accessing the private MS Teams course site will be emailed to you during the week prior to the course commencing.  

Please get in touch if you have not received this information within three working days of the course start date. 

Digital Certification

To complete the course, you will be required to attend and participate in all of the live sessions on the course in order to be considered for a certificate. Participants who complete the course will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course.

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will also be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Standard course fee £985.00


Fees include electronic copies of course materials.

All courses are VAT exempt.

Please note that places are subject to availability, with classes limited to 20 people.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.


Dr Rob Collins

Course Tutor

This course is presented by Dr Rob Collins a well-known and respected consultant and practitioner. Rob has been teaching through Oxford University for over 20 years in parallel with running a highly successful consultancy practice delivering high-value Change, Improvement and Systems projects. 

Rob’s approach to teaching integrates usable, practical tools that are underpinned by a solid theoretical foundation. His practitioner-focussed courses enable attendees to immediately deliver high-value Change projects – both internally within organisations or as part of a consulting practice.  

Of Rob’s courses and teaching style, previous attendees have commented: 

  • The course was very well presented by Rob who is obviously enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this topic, and engages well with his audience. The IT tools deployed by Rob helped enormously (moving himself around the screen, pointing the camera down to items on his desk, showing live streams of Oxford etc) and gave the impression you were 'in the room' rather than someone simply showing slides, made it feel more like a 'normal' lecture room course.
    Thanks Rob.

  • Rob is a really engaging tutor- the blend of live presentation and Mural was great- I really learned a lot.

  • Rob was engaging and his enthusiasm really helped keep me interested in the topic. He kept it quite informal and his ability to connect with the students made the whole learning journey worthwhile. His adds some personal stories and experiences within his class to make the content very relatable.

Rob is well known across multiple industries for his other courses in Agile Project Management, Design Thinking, Lean Six Sigma and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning and is the author of the widely respected business book “Visual Project Maps: Building Team Collaboration, Creativity and Commitment for your Project”. 


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please use the Contact email at the top of this page.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online using Microsoft Teams. You will be required to follow and implement the instructions we send you to fully access Microsoft Teams on the University of Oxford's secure IT network.

To participate you must be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
It is advised to use headphones with working speakers and microphone.