Critical & Systems Thinking


We all differ in the way that we naturally think – our cognitive preferences – and tend to get trapped in the same way of thinking. That’s just the way that our brains are hardwired. But we all have the capability to learn.

The second of our THINK DIFFERENTLY workshops is designed to build the skills of CRITICAL & SYSTEMS THINKING: disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, informed and ‘joins the dots’.

It includes engaging in reflective and independent thought, stepping back when approaching complex problems, asking the right questions and challenging assumptions.

It also requires working with others to make effective decisions by evaluating their inputs, opinions and evidence provided.

Critical and systems thinking works hand-in-hand with creative thinking to drive innovation and business growth.

Key Outcomes

  • Explains the role of critical and systems thinking in everyday problem solving and effective decision making
  • Reviews current decision making processes used across the team
  • Builds knowledge and ability in the application of critical and analytical skills in problem solving and decision making
  • Develops capability across the 4Cs of Critical Thinking: Challenge, Compare–Contrast, Choices and Connect
  • Enables effective liaison across the team and with other potential stakeholders to gain and review inputs
  • Develops 8-TYPE THINKING™ as a framework for creativity, innovation and problem solving, focusing on the critical thinking process
  • Evaluates the strengths of personal decision making and develops strategies to develop a ‘whole-brain’/’full-colour’ approach
  • Considers implications for the change processes required to support the implementation of decisions
  • Develops ability in communicating decisions across the team and to stakeholders affected by the decision

SETA Accredited Course

CRITICAL & SYSTEMS THINKING is available as a standard workshop or a SETA Accredited course, aligned to Unit Standard 252026: Apply a systems approach to decision making.


  1. Macat/University of Cambridge (2016). Critical thinking and the bottom line: Are organizations ready for the ideas economy? (
Steve AndrewsCritical and Systems Thinking