Thinking Out of the Box: A Systems Engineering Imperative

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Course Overview

Thinking Out of the Box Training Course is meant for Working systems engineers who wish to 'overcome' the conventional wisdom that gets in the way of building good systems and solving difficult problems. In today's often complex world of systems engineering, there is a fair amount of conventional wisdom that needs to be challenged and modified. This is necessary so that we can improve the ways in which we carry out systems engineering and get past the obstacles that result from increased size, complexity, advanced technology as well as constrained budgets and timetables. This course will help participants leverage powerful new strategies for thinking and problem-solving. In Thinking Out of the Box: A Systems Engineering Imperative Training course, participants will learn nine techniques for "thinking outside the box". For each technique, we will look at specific examples related to building and managing new systems. We will explore in detail how these ways of thinking can be used to solve difficult problems. We will also look at some other ways of thinking and examine group processes, both good and not-so-good. Exchange of personal ideas and experiences will be encouraged throughout the course. The course will conclude with a self- assessment that participants can use to gauge your own proclivity for out of the box thinking. All in all, the course will help participants learn new ways of thinking that they can put to immediate use to improve the engineering and management of today's complex systems.

Course Content


  • Conventional Wisdom
  • What's Inside and What's Outside
  • Possible Benefits

Overview of Systems Engineering Elements

  • Customer-defined
  • Developer-defined
  • Complex Systems


  • Systems
  • People
  • Software
  • Management

Overview: Thinking Outside the Box

  • The Inventive Mind
  • Management Thinking
  • Technical Thinking

Broaden and Generalize

  • Architecting
  • Functional Decomposition
  • Systems of Systems


  • The Concept
  • Software Applications
  • Building/Managing New Systems

Conventional Wisdom

  • Large Complex Government Systems
  • Technology
  • Business Paradigms
  • Challengeable Wisdom

Back of the Envelope

  • Business Example
  • Compact Models
  • Great Ideas
  • Constructing the Steps

Expanding the Dimensions

  • Flatland
  • Multifunctionality
  • The Grand Unified Theory


  • 36 Ways to Fail
  • The Top Dozen

Remove Constraints

  • Typical Constraints
  • Faster, Cheaper, Better

Thinking with Pictures

  • Visual Thinking
  • Diagramming

The Systems Approach

  • Seven Elements
  • Alternatives

Group Processes

  • Signs/Examples of Failure
  • New Solutions

Other Ways of Thinking

  • Modern
  • The Old Masters

A "Test"

  • Hurdles to Overcome
  • Course Recap
  • Discussion

Customer Reviews

Thanks to Xpertised and the tutor who walked me through all the topics with Practical exposure which is helping me in my current project.

Course was quite helpful in terms of understanding of concepts and practicality. Its really a very friendly environment to learn. The timing were mutually chosen, as we both are working professional. I am quite satisfied with the course.


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