Flourishing Cities: Toward an Ecological Governance

Peter Jones Civil media, Sustainable Systems, Transformation Design

We held a participatory design workshop at Urban Ecologies 2015 (June 19) to test-run a process with the Flourishing Cities canvas, a system map for citizen co-design for planning future governance commitments and preferred future outcomes The Flourishing Cities framework adapts a design tool from the Flourishing Business Model, a planning system for constructing strongly sustainable business models. The design tool in both cases is a visual organizer for engaging stakeholders in co-creating values-centred operational guidance, in the Cities case, adapted for civil society engagement with urban planners and local governments.  This is based on research work developed from OCADU sLab Strongly Sustainable Business Model group as applied to the flourishing of cities and settlements. As suggested by the “strongly sustainable” terminology, the normative commitment of the planning system is toward a fullY-integrated social system of an organization with its inclusive societal contexts, human participants, and the natural ecosystem. A significant design challenge of our time is anticipating the relationships of multiple environmental and social problems as a complex system of nonlinear effects.  Consider how climate change debates stay mired in the unproductive positions of …

Learning from the Global Community of Dialogic Design

Peter Jones Dialogic Design, Systemic Design, Transformation Design

Co-Evolving SDD Practice In several short years, many leaders and institutions now openly acknowledge the necessity for inclusive social transformation. We also now find stakeholders raising the concern that social change must be driven by participatory and democratic processes. We recognize the fact that our third millennium world needs new methodologies and new tools capable of harnessing the collective wisdom of people from all walks of life in order to protect its sustainability and foster up harmony into its evolution. The practice of Structured Dialogic Design is positioned as a powerful tool in this context. A group of nearly 30 practitioners and scholars met in Limassol Cyprus for May’s international meeting not to revisit the history of the past 40+ years but to “create the history of the future.” The community of scientists and practitioners of the science of dialogic design has now expanded to include people from all parts of the world and a variety of languages and cultures. A dedicated community of scientists, students and practice leaders gathered for a week to deliberate on how to evolve SDD and retain its scientific credibility together with its cultural sensitivity. As …

Reproduction of Disruption

Peter Jones Media Ecology, Strategic Innovation, Transformation Design

How Innovation Regimes Reproduce Culture Media Ecology Association, Toronto, June 20, 2014 “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”  John Culkin, SJ (Usually attributed to his friend, Marshall McLuhan) We live in a technogenic culture – a society that generates ever more technology, whether necessary or not. Mainstream culture celebrates the economic value of technological ingenuity, and worships innovation. Our desires become captured and entranced by the tools of tech. In this post-age of ubiquitous smart-things, everyone now “owns technology,” or gadgets – whether a smartphone, stack of computers, soon personal robots.  For the first time in history perhaps, there is little differentiation between generational ownership – children, the elderly, very poor people – all have similar gadgets. There may finally be little or no cachet to having the latest hardware or gadget. The desirable commodity has become the capacity to produce technology. The capacity for mass self-production with 3D printing and “desktop app publishing” represents an entry point toward the ownership of technology as the medium itself.  Owning an app or a capacity says more about …

Design Thinking’s Convergence Diversion

Peter Jones Design for Care, Design for Practice, Transformation Design

(Updated from 2010) We now tend to think of design thinking as embracing all that represents “new design.”  Yet there remains more value in some of the original views of design thinking from decades ago than in most of what’s presented today. Design thinking is often treated as a process for moving an idea from ideation through prototyping to a concept test or an early alpha design. Or we mean it to represent the creative process associated with the structural mechanics of a generic design process – identify user needs by empathy and observation, iterate a promising prototype, add visual design and some marketing and voila. Let’s go back 30 years. The 4 orders of abstraction Buchanan (1992) describes in Wicked Problems in Design Thinking are usually left untapped in design thinking discussions. Buchanan lists: Symbolic and visual communications Material objects Activities and organized services Complex systems or environments for living, working, playing and learning Another 4-phase description of design thinking is GK van Patter’s Design 1.0 – 4.0 as described in numerous NextD articles and presentations. The four phases …