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School of Engineering and Innovation

Leading the OU’s teaching in Engineering, Design, Technology & Innovation Management, Systems Thinking and Environmental Management and has highly rated Design and Materials Engineering research.

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School of Engineering and Innovation

We aim to make an impact on individuals, organisations and communities that have to design, develop, build and manage complex systems involving technologies of all kinds. Our disciplines combine both analysis and synthesis, ranging from engineering, through design and systems thinking to environmental and technology management.

We take a broad view of engineering and innovation in all our activities. Our teaching covers many forms of formal, non-formal and informal courses and educational resources. Our wide ranging research and scholarship covers several Research Excellence Framework (REF) units of assessment. Our expertise is used in various commercial, not-for-profit and grant funded activities both nationally and internationally.  

We are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and aim to enhance our reach into, and impact on, currently underserved groups and organisations in line with The Open University’s mission.


22nd June: third of 50th birthday celebrations of systems teaching at the OU

2021 is the jubilee year of Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) at The Open University (OU).

Professor Mike Jackson from Hull will present a webinar for our third event scheduled for 22nd June at 12 noon (UK time).  Mike’s talk will be on Critical Systems Thinking and Practice: What has been done and what needs doing.  Mike will be introduced by Dr Magnus Ramage from the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) group at the OU. An outline of Mike’s presentation is given below.

You are invited to join us on Zoom. To receive the live links for the talk, register your intent to attend on Eventbrite.

There are a limited number of spaces available on Zoom. Overflow attendees will watch Mike on YouTube or Facebook Live. We hope you will join us online for the talk, and/or on social media for the conversation using #OUSTiP and #OUSTiP50.

Mike Jackson presentation outline: Mike is known as a key figure in the development of ‘critical systems thinking’ - a topic on which he has published ten books and over 150 articles. His latest book ‘Critical Systems Thinking and the Management of Complexity’ was published by Wiley in April 2019. In 1979 the four UK universities that had groups or departments teaching ‘systems’ – Aston, City, Lancaster, and the Open University – established the UK Systems Society (UKSS). Mike Jackson was part of Lancaster University at that time and later did his PhD at Hull University.  Mike comments: “As my contribution to celebrating 50 years of systems thinking at the Open University, I would like to discuss the research programme in critical systems thinking and practice that developed at Hull in the early 1980s and has continued for 40 years. I will seek to assess what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. I will try to relate the work at Hull to what has happened in systems thinking elsewhere in the UK, particularly at the Open University”.

10th June 2021

Future events for the 50th birthday celebrations of systems thinking teaching at the OU

The next two events are being scheduled for 22nd June (with Professor Mike Jackson from Hull University) and 27th July (with Dr Sharon Pollard from South Africa). Details of registration will be available shortly including on

3rd June 2021

25th May second of 50th birthday celebrations of systems thinking teaching at the OU

2021 is the jubilee year of Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) at The Open University (OU).

We welcome Dr Glenda Eoyang from Minnesota - Founding Director of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute -  at this second event to deliver a presentation on “Scale-free dissemination: local behaviours to systemic results". The  recording of this 25th May event involving Guest speaker Glenda Eoyang can be found on YouTube and Facebook.  Events are also advertised on the OU STEM Faculty page on Eventbrite.

3rd June 2021

27th April launch of 50th birthday celebrations of systems thinking teaching at the OU

2021 is the jubilee year of Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) at The Open University (OU).

19th April 2021

2021 is the 50th birthday of Systems Thinking teaching at The OU

In the wake of the pandemic, confronted by human-induced climate change and exposure to wide-ranging vulnerabilities within our societies, many commentators call for investment in thinking and acting differently, particularly with Systems Thinking

19th April 2021
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