project design course

why the course is needed

Most project management courses tend to focus on project planning and implementation. However, even well managed projects can fail, because they do not deliver the desired results, do not fit the environment, are not sustainable and do not comply with norms, laws and stakeholder expectations, amongst others. These and other problems arise if generic organizational and design principles are violated.

The more creative a design is, the more it requires the discipline of working with generic principles to ensure its viability. (For example, this creative building by architect Hadid needed new software development for simulating the forces of gravity to ensure that the design is viable and the building will not collapse.)

Also, many projects fail because of poor implementation planning in terms of resource availability and time frames. And some projects are not worth implementing because they are not creative enough.

This course ensures that the design of the project is creative, viable and implementable. Being concerned with (w)holistic project design, the course is a useful addition in a project management programme.

what the course is about

The course outlines the key concepts of (w)holistic thinking, including the principles associated with the seven forces of organization (environment, ethos, aims, process, structure, governance and substance) that co-produce all systems. It applies this knowledge to activity system design in general and project design specifically.

An activity system is organized as a value / supply chain. Accordingly, the project as a whole and each of its phases is designed from a value (i.e. outcomes) perspective as well as a supply perspective (i.e. the use of resources, their configuration and continued flow in time and space).

The course also deals with implementation planning.

become a (w)holistic leader and manager

Participation in the Biomatrix Project Design Course will transform you into a (w)holistic thinker based on Biomatrix theory.

You will understand the theory and methodology of complex problem (dis)solving, as well as activity system design in general and project design specifically. Throughout the course you are guided by template-based assignments to apply this knowledge to a chosen case study (e.g. a personal or organizational project). You will also make an implementation plan for your project design.

Once you have completed the course,  you will be confident and able to

  • assess and contextualize other tools and methods used in project design and management
  • act as a consultant and change manager in (w)holistic project design and management
  • act as a learning facilitator and change manager in an in-house delivery of the Biomatrix Project Design Programme to your organization in order to transform its business processes.

course content

module 1: overview of general and biomatrix systems theory

This module explains the key concepts and methods of systems and complexity theories in general and of Biomatrix theory specifically.  Self-reflection assignments promote a (w)holistic view of the world and of sustainability.

module 2: systemic problem (dis)solving

This module explains the theory and practical steps involved in complex problem analysis and dissolving them through ideal system redesign.  Assignments guide problem analysis and brainstorming of solutions for the case study system.

module 3: seven forces of system organization (activity system perspective)

The module explains activity systems as value and supply chains based on seven organizing forces and their organizing principles.  Assignments guide the ideal design of the case study system.

module 4: implementation planning

This module explains how to make an implementation plan for an ideal design. Assignments guide the implementation planning of the case study design.

see other courses and programmes

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

function design course
organization design course
business process design course
public/private partnership design course
industry design course
public policy and governance design course

in-house programmes


duration of the course

The average duration of the course is 7 months based on 1 day per week (i.e. about 28 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.

$900 – includes feedback from BiomatrixWeb, certificate from Stellenbosch University, there are prescribed starting dates.

$600 – no feedback, no certificate, no prescribed starting dates.


On successful completion, the participants may receive a certificate in Project 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 for Sustainable System Design based on Biomatrix theory (which she co-developed) and the Biomatrix design methodology.

Her areas of expertise are futurism, systems thinking and strategic management. She acted as a management consultant to business organizations, NGOs and government departments on issues of organization development and restructuring, as well as strategy and public policy design.

more information

visit Stellenbosch University
short courses webpage

download information flyer:
biomatrix project design course.pdf


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