Systemic Design: Theory, Methods & Practice

Peter Jones Social Systems Design, Systemic Design

Taking Stock and Flow of Systemic Design The book is the latest edition in the Springer Translational Systems Sciences series, and its intention is to develop research-based applications of systems theory and methods to complex design contexts. Systemic design has emerged to address this interdisciplinary area of research and practice, growing from leadership within design studies and its intersection with system sciences. The nine chapters published in this collection were developed by authors from the proceedings of RSD4, the fourth Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD) Symposium. The Big Fields of (capital) Design and Systems both deal with approaches to general purpose problem-solving, with domain-independent methodologies based on design rationale or scientific principles for holistic problem solving. As “thinking” modes, both design thinking and systems thinking promise cross-disciplinary resolution of complex problems. Systemic design embraces these traditions, so as not to lose the value of timeless knowledge, but also challenges the growth-as-progress problem drivers of our modernist technological era. These challenges are not at all new. The systems science origins of systemic design can be traced to the influential operations …

The Systemic Turn – RSD5 Theme Issue of She Ji

Peter Jones Cybernetics, Social Systems Design, Systemic Design

The RSD5 theme issue of She Ji featuring studies presented at the RSD5 Symposium (2016) was published within a year after the proceedings (thanks to editors Ken Friedman and Jin Ma, and great reviewers for diligence). This issue offers five contributions to the discipline of systemic design from leading scholars in the discourse community. Get the whole issue for free  My opening editorial discusses the systemic turn recently emerging in design practice across disciplines. Connecting the Social, Technological, Ecological, and Practical The twenty-first century challenges human societies, settlements, and economies. This era confronts us with continuous wicked problems on a planetary scale, and it has done so since the tumultuous century began. Since at least 2005, we have seen a series of new approaches to design, from transformation design to service design, from transition design to DesignX. Each approach addresses a range of critical challenges oriented to a point of view. Each approach trials practices and methods in search of the disciplinary confidence to address the macro-level problems that people everywhere face. Climate change, distressed migration, equitable economy, housing, public policy, and …

Synthesis Maps: Making Complex Systems Tangible

Peter Jones Media Ecology, Strategic Foresight, Systemic Design

Gigamaps and synthesis maps look very similar as finished products. However they differ in their developmental processes. Both are rich images that visualize complex system problems, and both are used as design artifacts in similar domains (from health to public policy, from service experiences to social change). Both are used with stakeholders for advising, planning, and designing for social and systemic challenges (wicked problems). Gigamaps are more “direct engagement in the relations of a system.” Sevaldson explains Gigamaps in a well-regarded paper and in RSD proceedings. Gigamaps employ a research through design (RTD) practice of engaging directly with a system problem and following the contours of the complexity as expressed in a design space. Synthesis maps evolved from the SFI pedagogy necessary to train students in systems thinking and to learn both system formalisms and systemic design for complex multistakeholder problems. Synthesis maps are typically designed as communicative artifacts that translate multiple knowledge perspectives about social systems to illustrate the dilemmas and challenges within a complex system scenario. Due to the coursework setting in which these are trained, often without …

Synthesis Maps from CanIMPACT | Mapping the Clinical Cancer System

Peter Jones Design for Care, Service Design, Systemic Design

The CanIMPACT project (Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care Along the Continuum) is a multidisciplinary pan-Canadian program studying how to improve cancer care to patients in the primary care setting. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for 5 years (2013–2018, Grant no. 128272) the project was led by Dr. Eva Grunfeld, Director of Research at U Toronto’s Dept of Family and Community Medicine.  For the CanIMPACT synthesis map project, our sLab team (Jones, Smriti Shakdher, Prateeksha Singh).  Two synthesis maps were prepared to reflect the discovered insights from the multi-year investigation, a clinical system map and a patient-centred map informed by the CanIMPACT Patient Advisory Council. The resulting maps were published (a first for a system map method) in Current Oncology and presented at the first Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) conference, and MedicineX 2017. Jones, P.H., Shakdher, S. & Singh, P. (2017). Synthesis maps: Visual knowledge translation for the CanIMPACT clinical system and patient cancer journeys. Current Oncology, 24 (2), 129-134. Synthesis mapping produces high-quality representations of insights drawn from research evidence, It presents visual models …