organization design course    $800/$1100

about this online course

The Organization Design Course explains the underlying theory (i.e. Biomatrix theory) and methodology of organization design and development and complex organizational problem solving.

It outlines the seven forces of organization (environment, ethos, aims, process, structure, governance and substance) that co-produce all systems and explains the organizing principles that are relevant to the design of a system in general and an organization specifically. It describes the functioning of a systemic learning organization as a three-dimensional matrix that is environmentally aware, unfolds around an ideal ethos and mission and is driven by coordinated strategic performance and knowledge management.  It also explains the theory and praxis of systemic change management.

The course also guides participants to apply the knowledge to a chosen case study system (i.e. the organization of which they are part). Through self-reflective and template-driven assignments they analyze its complex problems, brainstorm solutions, create an ideal organizational design and plan the implementation of the design and how to manage the change.

why the course is needed

All organizations face the ongoing challenge of a rapidly changing business environment, increasing global competition, their own regional / global expansion. Hence organizations also need to keep changing.  Different organizational functions face different threats and opportunities which not only impact on the function itself but also on other functions and the organization as a whole. Unless the organization is governed as a coherent systemic learning organization, the different functional changes will be uncoordinated, discontinuous or even chaotic and create problems for the organization and its various parts.

Typical organizational problems include overlaps, duplications, gaps and inefficiencies in performance, “reinventing the wheel” in different parts of the organization, internal competition, information overload, lack of relevant information, as well as high levels of stress, de-motivation and change weariness amongst the staff.

Also, globalization demands from an organization to embrace multi-cultural functioning without losing – and preferably even with strengthening – its identity. It also needs to capture and share multi-dimensional knowledge and learn from it for continuous business, functional and organizational development.

The knowledge and design methodology presented in this course allow organizations to meet those challenges.

target audience

The target audience includes

  • senior managers and talent earmarked for senior management positions
  • organization development specialists, corporate planners, corporate consultants and change managers
  • IT specialists concerned with structuring the information flow throughout an organization (e.g. coordinating the information flow between different organizational functions and company-wide planning, strategic performance and knowledge management).

the course as a learning investment

After completing the course the participants will

  • think more (w)holistically and creatively
  • know the generic principles of how systems in general and organizations specifically are organized and change
  • understand how an information age relevant learning organization should ideally be structured and behave
  • understand the theory and methodology of the (re)design, implementation planning and change management
  • be able to facilitate the (re)design of their own and any other organization (including a public / private partnership) into a systemic learning organization and plan and manage the implementation of the design in a manner that ensures stakeholder alignment and commitment.

Although having the necessary know-how, the participants of an open enrolment course will not be able to produce a complete and implementable design for their organization, as this would require information of other functions and participation by other stakeholders. They will however be able to produce a high level draft design, broad implementation plan and change management design that can serve as basis for discussions with the other stakeholders regarding the transformation of their organization.

In an in-house course delivery to a corporate client (e.g. a business organization) the course outcome will be a complete ideal design with an implementation plan and change management design, provided that representatives of all organizational functions and relevant stakeholders participate in the course. If, after completing the course, the participants facilitate the implementation of the design according to the implementation plan and change management design, the organization will be transformed into a systemic learning organization.

content of the course

The course consists of pre-work and four e-learning modules. During each module, the participants apply the learned theory in template-based exercises to their case study system and reflect on the theory and methodology.

pre-work: overview of general and Biomatrix systems theory

The pre-work consists of watching the videos series Overview of general and Biomatrix systems theory.

This series explains the key concepts of systems and complexity theories in general and Biomatrix systems theory specifically. It generates a (w)holistic view of the world and an understanding of sustainable behaviour.

module 1: systemic problem (dis)solving

This module explains the theory for understanding complex problems and the methodology for (dis)solving them through ideal system redesign. It also provides tools for systemic problem analysis and brainstorming.

The exercises involve identifying current problems related to the case study organization and brainstorming ideas for (dis)solving them. The output from the exercises is further processed in the following module.

module 2: seven forces of system organization (entity system perspective)

This module explains the principles of how systems are organized in general and how entity systems (e.g. an organization, public–private partnership) are organized specifically.

It describes the seven organizing forces (environment, ethos, aims, process, structure, governance and substance) that co-produce an entity system and explores the application of these forces to the functioning and design of the system as a learning organization based on a three-dimensional matrix structure.

The exercises involve the creation of an ideal seven-faceted design for the participant’s case study organization.

module 3: implementation planning

This module is concerned with system design. It explains the difference between a design and implementation plan and outlines the criteria and steps involved in planning the implementation of a design.

The exercises involve making an implementation plan for the ideal design produced in the previous module and for evaluating the success of its implementation.

module 4: change management design

This module explains the theory and methodology of system change and the principles associated with systemic change management. It outlines the phases involved in a system transformation (e.g. problem analysis, brainstorming, design, implementation planning, implementation and its evaluation) and how to manage them (e.g. setting up of various change management structures). It also discusses change facilitation based on a cultural typology model.

The participants are guided by templates to apply the theory to creating a change management design for how the transformation of their case study system should be managed and facilitated.

see other courses and programmes

The Organization Design Course is one of several Biomatrix Design Courses which educate senior managers and decision-makers in the theory and methodology of sustainable system (re)design and complex problem solving. The courses are based on Biomatrix theory which explains how systems are organized, change and develop.

project design course
function design course
business process design course
public/private partnership design course
industry design course
public policy and governance design course
MOOC: complex problem solving

in-house programmes


duration of the course

The average duration of the course is 10 months based on 1 day per week (i.e. about 42 days), to be completed within a year.

However, some participants could take considerably less or more time to complete the course, depending on their mode of study, work experience and nature of case study.


We offer two pricing options for the self-managed course. The content and assignments remain the same.

$1100 – includes certificate from Stellenbosch University, feedback from BiomatrixWeb, prescribed starting dates.

$800 – no feedback, no certificate, no prescribed starting dates.


On successful completion, the participants may receive a certificate in Organization Design from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

admission requirements

No formal qualifications are required. Ideally the participants have a tertiary education as well as management experience.

in-house delivery

Our courses can also be delivered in-house. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

course developer and facilitator

Dr. Elisabeth Dostal is the developer and facilitator of the online courses.

Her areas of expertise are futurism, systems thinking, strategic management consulting and change facilitation in organization design and development, as well as strategy and policy design.


Stuck? Contact us at