biomatrix societal transformation programme


The reasons for humanity’s unsustainable economic development and its negative impacts on life are multi-dimensional and arise from different levels, such as the individual, societal and planetary level. They emerge from and are reinforced by the current worldview and will not be solved without paradigm change. Some of these challenges include:

  • Trans-national organisations and industries that operate beyond the governance of autonomous nation states and often co-produce major sustainability related problems such as finance crises, tax avoidance, pollution and industrial accidents, without being held accountable.
  • Organisations which act out of self-interest and contribute to unsustainable industries.
  • Short-term one-dimensional thinking that opposes long-term sustainable development.
  • Entrenched systems and business models that prevent change.
  • Current planning models cannot establish sustainable industries.

In addressing these problems, BiomatrixWeb presents the Biomatrix Societal Transformation Programme (BSTP), designed to provide a practical methodology for redesigning societal systems in the public domain. These include public functions (education, health care and infrastructure systems), supply and value chains (energy, transport and food), and specific projects that associate with those systems. The programme enables representatives from all parts of a system to co-design change and uses education as a driver for changing a societal system.

The effective delivery of the programme requires at least one team (of a minimum of 3 persons) for each part and sub-part of the system that is being redesigned. Thus the number of programme participants will vary from system to system. The project sponsor invites stakeholders from each part of the system to participate in the redesign of the shared system, as well as their own part of it.

The Biomatrix Societal Transformation Programme is both a consulting intervention and a management education programme and its methods have successfully been tested in public policy contexts.  Although the education programme is standardised, its application is customised for each system.

who should participate?

Potential project sponsors for the programme include government departments and NGOs concerned with the provision of public goods and services, industry bodies and any private sector organisation wanting to assert leadership in its industry. The main benefit for the project sponsors is that they will leave a legacy in their industry by spearheading its transformation to sustainable development.

what does it cover?

The programme involves the following phases:

programme scoping and management

This phase consists of setting up a Programme Steering Committee, identifying the (sub-) parts of the system and selecting the participants from each part who are willing to participate in the programme. It also explores the most suitable delivery of the programme according to the current reality of the (sub) systems.

Depending on the size and complexity of the system, the programme scoping phase can involve one or more workshops/meetings with representatives from the project sponsor’s top management and other key stakeholders. The final project contract is agreed on after the scoping phase.

The ongoing management of the project involves meetings with all stakeholders, a workshop and regular feedback reports and presentations.

generating stakeholder inputs

The programme participants facilitate stakeholder participation in identifying problems and existing solutions as well as brainstorming new solutions for ach part of the system by using the Biomatrix Diagnostic Survey and BiomatrixJam, an online stakeholder planning methodology.  The data are used as inputs for creating the ideal (sub) designs.

learning the theoretical concepts

This phase involves individual e-learning consisting of video lectures and template driven exercises. Each participant learns about systemic functional and industry design and development, systemic change management and public / private partnership design. The theoretical and methodological knowledge is grounded in Biomatrix systems theory which is a comprehensive theory of system organisation. Case studies are provided based on management consulting experience.

redesigning the system

Teams of participants are guided to apply the learned concepts to the redesign of the overarching system and their specific part of it. They also provide coordinated implementation plans and change management designs for their (sub) system within those of the lager whole.

This phase involves action learning in facilitated team sessions.

public / private partnership design

Each participant makes a public / private partnership design for the redesigned system and the specific sub-system they represent. This phase involves an individual assignment.

what will be required?

what will be required from the project sponsor?

The programme is delivered in collaboration with the project sponsor which:

  • selects and invites appropriate stakeholders to participate in the programme
  • participates in programme management
  • facilitates quality control from the perspective of the system to ensure relevance (while BiomatrixWeb assumes quality control from an academic , theoretical, methodological and management consulting perspective)
  • liaises with stakeholders and providing support throughout the programme.

what will be required from the programme participant?

Programme participants are expected to:

  • complete five e-learning modules
  • hand in individual assignments upon completion of each module
  • participate in online webinars as well as facilitated team workshops
  • contribute to team assignments involving the system designs and implementation plans
  • participate in on-line stakeholder facilitation through the BiomatrixJam.

nqf alignment

The scope and presentation of this programme are aligned with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 8.

admission requirements

Programme participants are selected by the project sponsor and represent senior management or talent earmarked for senior and executive positions within the participating stakeholder organisations.  Ideally the participants have a tertiary education as well as management experience.


On successful completion of the programme (which includes attending the webinar and team workshops, as well as passing all assignments), participants will receive a certificate of competence in Systemic Societal Transformation from the University of Stellenbosch.

what is the return on investment?

For the project sponsor the programme brings the following benefits:

  • It provides recognition of being an industry leader in sustainable business development.
  • It enables better understanding of the complex societal problems associated with the system under investigation.
  • It enables better understanding of existing solutions and facilitates the brainstorming of new solutions.
  • It aids the ideal redesign of a system and its parts for sustainable development and benefits for all stakeholders in a win- win manner.
  • It enables implementation plans that illustrate how the redesigned system can be implemented.
  • It helps stakeholders to align around designs to ensure support for implementation.
  • Trained programme delegates become a cadre of public policy designers and change managers who can facilitate the implementation of the designs as well as manage similar interventions in other public systems.
  • It allows for problems to be dissolved when designs are implemented.
  • Cultural change arising from the reflections and debates with stakeholders on how the system can be changed.

For the participants the programme brings the following benefits:

  • It grooms participants for societal leadership.
  • It provides participants with theoretical knowledge and practical skills and experience in:
    • complex societal problem analysis, systemic brainstorming and problem dissolving
    • systemic ideal public policy design and implementation planning
    • systemic change management
    • facilitating stakeholder participation and alignment (in meetings and on-line) in the context of redesigning the collective societal system.
  • At the end of the programme the certified societal change managers may be called on by stakeholder organisations to facilitate their business transformation in accordance with the designs.
  • If desired by the project sponsor, a customised extension of the programme can be negotiated, whereby BiomatrixWeb will coach the certified change manager(s) as they facilitate implementation.

when & where

This programme can be presented in South Africa as well as other countries. It is delivered in-house on demand of and in consultation with the client organisation. Programme participants are delegated by the organisation and expected to comply with the timing prescribed by the programme management.

Duration of the programme: 12 months