John Pourdehnad

John Pourdehnad


I am an educator/consultant in the field of strategic management and change, using systems thinking as a worldview and design thinking as a methodology to solve complex interactive problems. I also hold a faculty appointment in the graduate studies program of Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania.

My career spans more than three decades working in management, consulting, education and research. I have held senior global management positions in industries including automotive, household appliances and hi-tech. As a scholar-practitioner I have consulted with large and small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations across many industries and with government agencies helping management and leadership teams develop strategic plans and transformational roadmaps.

I am a recognized thought leader in systems and design thinking with primary areas of interest in the implications of systems thinking in complex interactive problem formulation, systems redesign and complex project management.

I have taught at the undergraduate and graduate level at several universities and have been a co-principal investigator for research programs at the University of Pennsylvania. I have published dozens of papers in a variety of academic and trade journals, was a featured contributor to the BusinessWeek weblog, and a member of several editorial boards including the journal, Systems Research and Behavioral Science (link is external) (Wiley).

I am a member of the Council on International Competitiveness Development Program at the National Research Tomsk State University in the Russian Federation, and a Fellow of the Da Vinci Institute for Technology and Management in South Africa. I am an honorary member of the Society for Organizational Excellence in Bulgaria, and in 2008 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to engage in a project at the New Bulgarian University in Sophia. I have presented keynote speaker lectures mostly on systems thinking and design thinking for many global educational, corporate and government institutions.

I earned a PhD in Social Systems Sciences from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Integrating Systems Thinking and Design Thinking

As readers of this newsletter are aware, systems thinking is evolving as an alternative to the old paradigms. Richard Mattessich wrote that “systems thinking…