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A Theory of Systemic Design

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Alex Ryan

on 19 February 2015

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Transcript of A Theory of Systemic Design

Systemic Design
A Theory of Systemic Design
Dr. Alex Ryan
design.systemics@gmail.com
At the inaugural Relating Systems Thinking & Design symposium, Harold Nelson proposed:
Systemic design as inquiry for action
A shift from human-centered to 'centered' design
Inquiry
Action
Exteriority
Interiority
Existing
Becoming
Epistemology
Ontology
Top-Down
Bottom-Up
Learning
Transforming
Inquiry
Action
Exteriority
Interiority
Epistemology
Ontology
Existing
Becoming
Top-Down
Bottom-Up
Learning
Transforming
Tasting your own tounge
Systemic design brings marginal perspectives to the center of organizations. Rather than homogenize the system, SD diversifies the centers where design decisions are made.
Time traveling
Systemic design maps situations dynamically to account for their history, current state, and potential futures. Projecting back and forwards in time enables a more critical appreciation of the present.
Separating maps from territories
Systemic design surfaces and often reframes boundary judgments. The systems maps we draw tell us at least as much about our own frameworks and biases as they tell us about the situation of interest.
Leveraging Powers of 10
Systemic design maps situations at multiple scales to understand the individual, the collective, and how they are related. Top-down and bottom-up sources of organization are considered and leveraged.
Teaching cats to catch mice
Systemic design actions are generative: they are intended both to transform the situation for the better and to continue to learn about it.
Uses and abuses of method
Systemic design methods are essential for co-designing with novice participants. They regulate group process and assist visualization.
But if the whole point of systemic design is innovation for unique challenges, repeating the same methods in the same sequence is self-defeating.
Methodology
Mindset
Open
Integrative
Centered
Inquiring
Collaborative
Full transcript