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Foundations of O.R: Problem Structuring Methods (London)

  Ref. 430  
  Giles Hindle
  6 December 2016, London
  £575 + VAT Members
  £625 + VAT Non-members


   Foundation NA

GORS London Courses

The purpose of the series of ‘Foundations of O.R.’ courses is to help practitioners to understand the role of Operational Research in management; understand the requirements for successful Operational Research interventions; have knowledge of a range of Operational Research techniques; be able to identify the suitability of a technique for a problem situation and be able to apply those techniques.

Civil Servants / Members of the Government O.R. Service need to book these courses through the Civil Service Learning portal. (Go to

Foundations of O.R: Problem Structuring Methods

The purpose of this day is to develop a critical and practical understanding of Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs), with a focus on Soft Systems Methodology and Strategic Options Development and Analysis. 

 The objectives for the day are to:

  • Explore the role of problem structuring methods (PSMs) in managing organisations, supporting strategic thinking and delivering O.R. projects.
  • Understand the history and main principles of PSMs.
  • Present a comprehensive list of PSMs and their application areas.
  • Obtain practical experience in problem solving and strategic thinking using Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA).
  • Critically discuss the advantages, limitations and practical application of PSMs.

 The topics covered during the day are:

  • The history and principles of problem structuring methods (PSMs).
  • Comparison of process consulting and expert consulting.
  • List of PSMs and their application areas.
  • Designing and managing interventions using PSMs.
  • Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA).
  • Critique of PSM practice.



09.00 - 09.30   Welcome and Introduction to Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs)

09.30 - 10.30   Producing Situation Summaries
                        Exercise: The Client Interview

10.30 - 11.00   Break

11.00 - 13.00   Systems Modelling from SSM
                        Exercise: Service System Innovation

13.00 - 14.00   Lunch

14.00 - 15.30   Cognitive Mapping from SODA
                        Exercise: Strategic Planning

15.30 - 1600   Break

16.00 - 17.00   Advantages, limitations and practical application of PSMs

Course Tutor

Dr. Giles Hindle is a Senior Lecturer at Hull University Business School, a Director of Health Consultancy Services Ltd and a Teaching Fellow at Warwick Business School. He has combined an academic career with consulting practice. Prior posts include Assistant Professor at Warwick Business School, Senior OR Consultant for Tribal Consulting plc and Honorary Lecturer at Lancaster University Management School. Giles has research, consulting and teaching experience with both quantitative and qualitative approaches and has practiced in both the public and private sectors. He has conducted consultancy and research projects for a wide range of clients including the NHS Scottish Executive, County Councils Network, Secta Health Group, Countryside Agency, Department for Transport, Department for Health in N. Ireland, Network Rail plc, Tornado Wire Ltd, Northern Hi-Tec Ltd, and many others. Giles is an award winning teacher on the Warwick MBA and has developed innovative analytics masters courses for the universities of Warwick and Hull. He is co-secretary of the Operational Research Society’s Special Interest Group in Problem Structuring Methods, and a member of the Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull. He has specialist knowledge in soft systems thinking and quantitative modelling which he has practiced in both strategic and operational contexts. His current research is focussed on systems modelling, soft systems methodology, spatial modelling and service innovation.

If you are interested in further information, have any requirements (e.g. an alternative course date), or have difficulty booking a course online then please contact Jennie Phelps. It is recommended that courses are booked online. If this is not possible, then please print off, fill and fax or post the Training Course Booking Form.

Jennie Phelps   Address:  The OR Society, Seymour House, 12 Edward Street, Birmingham, B1 2RX, UK
  Tel: +44 (0)121 233 9300
  Fax: +44 (0)121 233 0321