Welcome University of Sydney students and staff to the early release of our online short course!  It’s in beta right now and you will see updates week-by-week.

I noticed a gap in our collective problem-solving skills, especially for complex challenges. So, I set about researching, compiling and sharing a repeatable approach for complex problem solving and a useful collection of practical and transferrable techniques for doing it that can be applied to complex challenges of any nature.

My name is Jane MacMaster and I am the founder and director of Ponder Enterprises. I spent the early part of my career as an aerospace systems design engineer working on the design of supersonic flight vehicles, and the middle part of my career as a senior policy advisor in the strategic policy unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia). I started Ponder when I noticed a large gap in our collective problem solving skills, especially in relation to complex problems.

A common theme throughout my career has been design and strategy development – working out how to achieve outcomes for different types of challenges across the public and private sectors including public policy and technological challenges.  For over 26 years I have come across many useful and practical ways of thinking about and developing effective strategies for complex problems, but they are scattered about, across various disciplines and sectors.

I think there is a huge opportunity to improve how we think about, talk about and go about addressing the complex challenges of our time.  So, I set about researching, compiling and developing a repeatable approach for complex problem solving and practical techniques for doing it. These techniques can be applied to complex challenges of any nature.

Since 2014, I have shared these ideas and techniques with several thousand students and staff across universities and public and private sector organisations through face-to-face workshops, and I’ve helped organisations to apply the ideas to real-world challenges. I’m delighted that Navigate Complexity is now available online.

Our clients include Australian Commonwealth Government departments, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Health, Department of Employment, Department of Social Services; State and Territory Government departments, including the Department of the Chief Minister, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NT) and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (NSW); The National Security College; The Australian Cyber Security Centre, The University of Sydney, NGOs and private sector organisations. Our work has spanned many sectors and policy areas including health, indigenous affairs, employment and the labour market, environment, immigration, regional growth, workforce and skills, refugees, emerging technology, cyber security, product and service evolution and population.

I have a Bachelors degree in Engineering from the University of Sydney, a Masters degree in International Relations and a Certificate IV in training and assessment.

Further information about my experience, background and qualifications can be found in my LinkedIn profile. I hope you enjoy the course.

Jane MacMaster

BE FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus) MRAeS