Design Dialogues is a publication of Peter Jones, managing partner of Redesign Network. I’m an American founder and innovation scholar who left the US for Canada with my partner Patricia Kambitsch in 2006, as a exile of conscience following the devastating sociopolitical disruptions to the republic that followed from Bush era policies and the Iraq War.
As a lifelong peace activist and community leader, I help found and advise self-organizing social practice organizations as an approach to cultural transformation. In Canada these have included Design with Dialogue, Unify Toronto, Drawdown Toronto, and more recently, the “transformation advisory” Bounce Beyond. These all have in common the organization of deeply caring members of a shared society and concern in real social systems formed to establish continuous platforms for community education, creative engagement, and social change over long periods of time. All of these organizations have discovered the necessity for a coherent theory of change. The rich experience gained from the participatory design of social systems has led to a continuing research and design collaboration toward systemic theories of change sufficient to sustain the affirmed goals and envisioned futures of any change platform or development program.
I live and work in Toronto, as an associate professor at OCAD University, in the MDes Strategic Foresight and Innovation and the Design for Health programs. I connect advanced studies to practice, with an aim to integrate services and systemic design for organizations and studies in:
- Healthcare system/service design
- Systemic design theory, method, and disciplinary foundations
- Flourishing (strongly sustainable) business and polices to achieve flourishing societies and cultural sustainability
- Innovations in new media, electronic publishing, and scholarly publication
- Dialogic design and collaborative foresight process.
Through my teaching and research at OCADU and the synergy of engaged networks in these practices, I connect our research programs to systemic design practice and the evolution of many new social systems. I have had the amazing privilege to co-found and steward numerous organizations, programs and practice communities, including:
- The RSD Symposia series (with Birger Sevaldson) and the Systemic Design Association (2018), as part of a continuing program to advance knowledge and design practices in the interdiscipline thriving in the fusion of design for complexity and systems theory and methods.
- The Systemic Design Toolkit project, and the associated book Design Journeys, in collaboration with Kristel Van Ael and Namahn.
- The Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) associated with the OCAD SFI program since 2008 (Greg van Alstyne), developing advanced practices in foresight and systemic design for socially-informed innovation.
- Design with Dialogue (since 2008), a community of practice for developing facilitation capacity for convening civic Agoras.
- The Flourishing Enterprise Institute (2019, with Antony Upward and Randy Sa’d) and the C4FE Community for Flourishing Enterprise community of practice, (since 2012).
- Institute for 21st Century Agoras (with Alexander Christakis) and a continuing network to advance inclusive, multi-stakeholder participation for policy co-creation and civil society engagement.
Redesign Network was founded in 2001, an innovation research design firm with a network of associates in the US and Toronto. Redesign specializes in systemic design for complex services, with a sector focus on professional practice and electronic publishing, including clinical informatics, medical and higher education, and other complex work systems. Redesign, and its US-partner Dialogic Design International, convened SDD and other meta-planning engagements for long-horizon foresight planning, and innovation research for new governance and organizational transformation.
Design Journeys through Complex Systems, co-authored with Kristel Van Ael and published by BIS in May 2022. Following a decade of extensive healthcare practice design research, in 2013 I published Design for Care with Rosenfeld, and it remains one of the only books on service design applications across multiple healthcare domains. I develop and promote effective practices for designing better service experiences in healthcare. Design for Care seeks to establish roles for information, service, and system designers as critical team members in the health professions, as necessary as other traditional roles in the healthcare system.
My Union Institute doctorate (2000) examined the relationship of organizational values embedded in innovation processes to the maintenance of power and decision control. This work inspired continuing research into the organizational dynamics of innovation, collaborative information practices, and how people think with and use information in cognitive work.
My lifelong professional and social interests are to humanize systems and institutions, enabling harmonious futures co-created through collective wisdom. You can read more on my Publications page.