Making Sense of a Complex World

Course Reference No:
TGS-2020505854 (Synchronous e-Learning)


Course Objectives

This course aims to provide participants with a set of frames and tools to make sense of and to navigate the growing complexities of Industry 4.0 (and beyond). The topics are:

  • Understanding the operating environment in macro terms, using lenses and concepts of 4IR, network society, post-industrialism, and late/advanced modernity.
  • Using insights from complexity sciences to link issues in the operating environment with the work of policymakers.
  • Drawing on sensemaking concepts to inform strategic risk analysis and mitigation.
  • Using futures/foresight tools to complement traditional strategic planning approaches.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the present and emerging operating context using the framework of complexity in the public policy context.
  • Understand and be able to apply a sensemaking framework based on Karl Weick and Dave Snowden’s work on organisational cognition.
  • Apply futures thinking tools and methods (e.g. horizon scanning methods, scenario planning, etc.) in policy work.


Day 1
The Big Picture
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Alternative frameworks such as “network society”, “information society”, “post-industrialism”
  • Smart city and smart nation, technocracy and the technologizing of society
Day 2
  • Basic concepts of nonlinearity, adaptiveness, emergence, self-organization
  • Implications for bureaucratic organizations
  • Wild Cards and Black Swan
Day 3
  • Organizing for complexity
  • Planning for failure
  • Institutionalising dissent
  • Detecting weak signals
Day 4
  • How to stress-test your plans and your underlying assumptions
  • Designing processes for pre-mortems
  • Framework for Vulnerability Analysis
Day 5
Futures Thinking
  • Contrast with conventional planning
  • The basics of scenario planning
  • Building resilience in your organization


At least a Bachelor’s degree

Who Should Attend

Public Service Professionals

Mode of Training

Online (Live)


Dr. Adrian Kuah


As an experienced practitioner of futures and complexity thinking, Dr. Adrian Kuah leads the Futures Office in the Office of the President, National University of Singapore. As the founding director, he leads his team to ask all sorts of inconvenient questions in order to make sense of the future of higher education by developing scenarios to stimulate alternative thinking on the roles that universities will play – in terms of teaching and research – in this emerging complex world. His research interests include futures studies, complexity science, and political philosophy (focusing on pragmatism). He served in various positions in both public as well as private sectors, notably the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Centre for Strategic Futures, Strategic Policy Office, Prime Minister’s Office before embarking on an academic career with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP).


 04 to 08 Apr 2022 (online)


5 Days(9.00am to 5.30pm)



International Participants


Incl. GST

Singapore Citizens 
(39 yrs old or younger) 


Singapore PRs


Incl. GST

Singapore Citizens 
(40 yrs or older)


Incl. GST

Enhanced Training Support for SMEs


Incl. GST

Sign Up Now

Fees & Funding

Singapore Citizen1
39 years old or younger
Singapore Citizen1
40 years or older eligible for MCES2
Singapore PRs Enhanced Training
Support for SMEs3
Full Programme Fee S$4,250.00 S$4,250.00 S$4,250.00 S$4,250.00 S$4,250.00
SSG Funding
(Refer to Funding Page for Claim Period)
- (S$2,975.00) (S$2,975.00) (S$2,975.00) (S$2,975.00)
Nett Programme Fee S$4,250.00 S$1,275.00 S$1,275.00 S$1,275.00 S$1,275.00
7% GST on Nett
Programme Fee
S$297.50 S$89.25 S$89.25 S$89.25 S$89.25
Total Nett Programme
Fee Payable, Incl. GST
S$4,547.50 S$1,364.25 S$1,364.25 S$1,364.25 S$1,364.25
Less Additional Funding if Eligible Under Various Scheme - - (S$850.00) - (S$850.00)
Total Nett Programme Fee, Incl. GST,
after additional funding from the various funding schemes
S$4,547.50 S$1,364.25 S$514.25 S$1,364.25 S$514.25

Learners must fulfill at least 75% attendance and pass all assessment components, to be eligible for SSG funding.

  1. All self-sponsored Singaporeans aged 25 and above can use their $500 SkillsFuture Credit to pay for the programme. Visit to select the programme. 
  2. Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES) - Singaporeans aged 40 and above may enjoy subsidies up to 90% of the programme fee. 
  3. Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS) - SME-sponsored employees (Singaporean Citizens and PRs) may enjoy subsidies up to 90% of the programme fee. Click here for more information.
  4. Eligible organisations (excluding government entities) may apply for the absentee payroll funding for Singaporean/permanent resident participants attending the programme during working hours. The absentee payroll funding is computed at 80% of hourly basic salary capped at $4.50 per hour or $7.50 per hour for SME. For more information, visit Enterprise Portal for Jobs and Skills.
  5. Eligible individuals may apply for training allowance capped at $6/hr under the WSS scheme, visit- WSG for more information.
NTUC members enjoy 50% of the unfunded course fee support for up to $250 each year for courses supported under UTAP (Union Training Assistance Programme). Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit
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02 June 2022