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Systems thinking

Reduce the cost of infrastructure development and operation while increasing the benefits

Our systems based approach practitioners will ensure that the individual elements of your major infrastructure project all help to deliver project outcomes 40% faster, 30% cheaper, greener and with zero harm.

Infrastructure operates in highly complex environments where successful outcomes depend on understanding interrelationships between the system elements and optimising the performance, efficiency, resilience and affordability of the system as a whole. We’re embedding systems engineers in our project teams to help you see your road, railway, defence, water or energy project as part of a broader ecosystem. We then use our systems thinking, engineering, integration and assurance framework methods, techniques and tools to identify the changes that could be made to each element to ensure they contribute to the effective delivery of the project outcomes and maximise the entire value chain. Our systems based approach framework enables and contributes to data centric decision making to ensure your day-to-day investment decisions are aligned with the company’s broader strategy.

systems thinking at Costain

Key benefits 


  1. Reducing project costs by up to 30%, by taking a systems thinking view across the entirety of the project from vision through to decommissioning.
  2. Reducing timescales on projects by up to 40%, through structuring problems in ways that consider the whole system and its relationship to stakeholders and then enabling the project to visualize and understand, plan, and progressively measure for successful outcomes.
  3. Engaging our systems based approach practitioners will bring substantially better results and drive solutions through an optimized path to achieve greener and zero harm benefits for your investment, on the project and for the community.


Why choose Costain

Our experience of designing, delivering and operating complex infrastructure schemes means we know where to look for leverage points and constraints within the delivery stages enabling us to reduce risks, increase opportunities and drive the greatest efficiency and value across the project lifecycle.



Solving storm release spills with systems thinking


Delivering excellence in major rail projects


Understanding the Big Picture to ensure successful project delivery


The relationship between ‘systems thinking’ and ‘systems engineering’