Relating Systems Thinking to Design 3 – Call for Contributions

Peter Jones Design research, Social Systems Design, Systemic Design

The 3rd annual symposium is organized  the Systemic Design Research Network and hosted by the Institute of Design, Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)

The emerging renaissance of systems thinking in design responds to the increasing complexity in all challenges faced by designers, strategists, and transdisciplinary innovators. We are facing deeply entangled problematics in natural, social, economic, and political systems. Our professional and organizational worlds have become too complex for linear goal-driven management, and the solution of conventional design thinking is insufficient to address complexity across domains, scales, and networks. New thinking, new knowledge, and new forms of intervention are required to take on this web of interconnected challenges.

The theme for Relating Systems Thinking and Design 3, to be held at AHO in Oslo 15th to 17th October 2014, is: Knowledge of Forms and Forms of Knowledge.


The Systemic Design Research Network invites systemic designers to think BIG for this year’s symposium. How might systemic design help to:

  • Promote a transition towards flourishing enterprises and sustainable prosperity?
  • Engage value conflicts between economic, social, and environmental paradigms?
  • Address systemic causes of escalating costs and complexity in the health, legal, taxation, financial, security, and other sectors?
  • Empower citizens to mobilize local responses to global problematics and democratically engage within their cities, municipalities, provinces, and states?
  • Shift government approaches to citizen engagement, policy design, and policy assurance?
  • Catalyze systemic changes and innovations in the relationships between architecture, the built environment, and the social and natural systems they interact with?
  • Reframe approaches to education and professional practice to exploit complexity?
  • Increase the resilience of social systems to cumulative effects and systemic risk by rethinking and redesigning them?
  • Accelerate learning and adaptation at organizational and societal scales?
  • Provoke transformation and innovation in today’s legacy social systems?
  • Advance a deeper and more critical theoretical foundation for designing at scale?

We are interested in proposals that draw from recent case studies from fieldwork, design inquiry and research, and mixed methods in systems-oriented design. Design practices found effective in fields such as healthcare, governance, environmental stewardship, organizational transformation and social change are of particular interest for cases and discussion within the conference.

We invite you to submit an abstract of no more than 1000 words. Accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a presentation and working paper to the symposium. The process for publication of selected full papers in an international peer reviewed journal will be announced at a later date.

Submissions should be through the Easychair submission system April 1, 2014.