John Pourdehnad

I am an educator/consultant in the field of strategic management and change, using systems thinking as a worldview and design thinking as a methodology to solve complex interactive problems. I am a recognized thought leader in systems and design thinking with primary areas of interest in the implications of systems thinking in complex interactive problem formulation, systems redesign, and complex project management. My career spans more than three decades working in management, consulting, education and research. I have held senior global management positions in industries including automotive, household appliances and hi-tech.  As a scholar-practitioner I have consulted with large and small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations across many industries and with government agencies helping management and leadership teams develop strategic plans and transformational roadmaps.

Since 2016, I have been a professor of systems and design thinking in the Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership and the PhD in Complex Systems Leadership at Thomas Jefferson University.  I also hold an appointment as Visiting Professor at the IESE Business School, University of Navarra in Barcelona, Spain. Before my appointments at Jefferson, for 14 years, I held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science where I taught at the undergraduate and graduate level and was a co-principal investigator for research programs. I have published dozens of papers in a variety of academic and trade journals, was a featured contributor to the BusinessWeek weblog, and I am a member of several editorial boards including the journal, Systems Research and Behavioral Science (Wiley).

I am a member of the Council on International Competitiveness Development Program at the National Research Tomsk State University in the Russian Federation, and a Fellow of the Da Vinci Institute for Technology and Management in South Africa. I am an honorary member of the Society for Organizational Excellence in Bulgaria, and in 2008 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to engage in a project at the New Bulgarian University in Sophia. I have presented keynote speaker lectures mostly on systems thinking and design thinking for many global educational, corporate and government institutions.

I earned a PhD in Social Systems Sciences from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


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