About the course

Explore complex, multi-actor systems in which one factor influences all other factors. For instance, how innovative energy technologies merge into the existing energy system, or how new transport possibilities impact current processes. Armed with this information, learn to decide whether they should be further developed, consider possible negative results, and weigh associated costs.

There are multiple ways to make decisions, but one way proven to be very useful is the analytical approach - a methodology for making the problem explicit and rationalising the different potential solutions. In short: analysis based support of decision making, design and implementation of solutions.

Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making as a course teaches you this method. It also explores and evaluates tools and problem solving methods such as:

  • Actor analysis
  • Causal modeling
  • Goal trees and means-end diagrams
  • Problem diagrams
  • Uncertainty
  • Decision support
  • Score cards

This course introduces each technique and applies each technique to a case. Ultimately, the combination of these techniques provides a coherent analysis of the problem.

What you will learn

With the help of this course you will learn:

  • Analytically based support of decision-making, design and implementation of solutions.
  • How to apply tools like actor analysis, causal modeling, goal trees and means-end diagrams, problem diagrams, uncertainty, decision support and score cards.

About the instructors

Alexander de Haan graduated as aerospace engineer as well as organisational psychologist. He holds a PhD on the analysis of sustainable aircraft technology. He works at his own company as consultant, coach, trainer, and business analyst. He also teaches at universities, business schools, and in company programmes worldwide, both on-site and on-line. Among others, Alexander designs, teaches, and supervises programmes on systematic analytical skills to get a firm grip on complex situations to thousands of students each year on all levels.

Fieke Miedema studies Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis, and Management at the TPM faculty of Delft University of Technology. She has been a member of the FSR (Faculty Student Council) with online and blended education as topic of special interest. She has been involved in the task force group ‘online examination’. Fieke has supported the process of transforming a regular version of the MOOC course into an online-blended version.

Elianne de Regt is a technology consulting analyst at Accenture. She has an MSc in Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management from the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology. She was involved in the campus based courses on problem analysis as a teaching assistant for many years. Elianne also managed the team of teaching assistants for several years.

Els van Daalen has an MSc in mechanical engineering and holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands on the topic of validation of knowledge based systems. She is associate professor of policy analysis at Delft University, and has been involved in teaching and research on methods for systems and policy analysis for over 20 years. Her area of interest is model-based support for decision-making. She is responsible for the on-campus course on problem analysis.

Duration: 5 weeks, 4-8 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Alexander de Haan, Fieke Miedema, Elianne de Regt, Els van Daalen

Institution: Delft University of Technology