University of Technology Sydney

26844 Structured Thinking and Planning

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 3 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject focuses on developing students’ structured thinking and planning skills. It is highly applied and framed as a consulting project, through which students learn and apply structured thinking and planning concepts, tools and techniques. Students choose a context to work with and propose and undertake a small project with the objective of offering recommendations and a plan for addressing a complex challenge. They conduct structured research and analysis to evaluate customer needs, organisational resources, capabilities, processes and revenue streams, the competitive environment and relevant trends and technologies. Based on insights from their research, they chose a problem-solving approach and design a high-level strategic plan for addressing the complex challenge.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Apply structured thinking and planning tools to identify challenges and create solutions
2. Research and critically assess different data types to gain in-depth insights relevant to specific challenges
3. Construct and effectively communicate a strategic narrative

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject is designed to help students develop a suitable understanding of structured thinking and planning skills. The specific tools being applied help students develop judgement and critical analysis skills and foster creativity in developing a plan for addressing complex challenges.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attribute(s):

  • Intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is delivered through a mix of online learning, three live online webinars and online consultations.

Students have access to online resources, and self-directed learning activities and are expected to study online content provided via the UTS learning management system. They are required to complete online learning activities, which will help identify knowledge gaps and inform discussions. Webinars are designed to present the theory and practice of the subject’s content. Students are required to complete pre-work activities before attending webinars. Discussions focus on the application of concepts, techniques and tools.

Ongoing general and individual feedback will be provided throughout the subject via consultation sessions. A summative assessment provides feedback on students' comprehension and application of learning. Students also receive formal feedback on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Structured and strategic thinking
  • Biases in problem solving
  • Tools for structured analysis and problem solving
  • Structured narrative and an implementation roadmap
  • Wicked problems


Assessment task 1: Individual project plan (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

Weight: 40%

up to 15 slides

  • Demonstrate skills to define complex challenges
  • Develop research and project management skills

Assessment task 2: Individual project (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 60%

up to 30 slides, 3 min recorded video pitch

  • Demonstrates skills in structured analysis
  • Develops realistic and achievable course of action
  • Information is communicated effectively for specific audience

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.


Baden-Fuller, C., and Haefliger, S. (2013). Business models and technological innovation. Long range planning, 46(6), 419-426.

Daniel, K. (2017). Thinking, fast and slow.

Garrette et al. (2018) Cracked it!: How to solve big problems and sell solutions like top strategy consultants

Kimbell, L. (2014). The service innovation handbook: action-oriented creative thinking toolkit for service organizations. BIS publishers.

Stanley, D. and Castles, G. (2017) The so what strategy: Introducing classic storylines that answer one of the most uncomfortable questions in business