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10th Anniversary Ask Me Anything

by | Oct 2021 | RSD10 Programme, SDA blog

Dr Peter Jones and Dr Birger Sevaldson

Relating Systemic Thinking and Design and Systemic Design Association Co-founders

The occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Relating Systemic Thinking and Design symposia seems like a good moment for reflection and an even better time for generative discourse. Ask Me Anything (AMA) is a unique online forum opportunity with Peter Jones and Birger Sevaldson, bringing them together as co-presenters once again – their last co-presentation was Worlds Within World: Fostering a thriving network in a flourishing field at RSD8.

The AMA follows the SDA General Assembly (GA) on November 8, 2021. The GA forms the governing body of the SDA. It is open to all; however, only SDA members have the right to vote.

The 10th Anniversary AMA is open to all, and an opportunity to ask Peter and Birger, well, anything.

Please note. The General Assembly and AMA require a separate sign-up.  RSVP via the SDA calendar

The provocations

Peter and Birger’s AMA centres on two topics:

  1. Advanced design practice and programs of strategic scale and higher complexity
  2. Systems thinking methods, beyond the boundaries of systems dynamics and soft systems.


Birger wrote, in his introduction to RSD2 (2013):

The interrelationship between systems thinking and design action was the theme of last years RSD seminar at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. In re-examining the relationship of systems thinking to design we believe it possible for systems thinking and design praxis to develop the foundations for new, interrelated practices. This synergistic relationship will launch a new generation of systems-oriented thinkers empowered with the creativity and perspectives of design thinking. As educators and researchers, we also seek better theoretical foundations and rigour in design thinking.

Systemic design has been suggested as a term for this emerging movement in design with its multiple expressions including e.g. systems oriented design, whole systems design, and is closely related to dialogic design. What binds systems related theories and practices together with design approaches may be the desire to reintroduce systems approaches with design toward a more effective integrated praxis, becoming more useful to designers (and stakeholders and clients) than evidenced by past performance. This implies the reshaping and design of systems approaches and the related practices so that they are better integrated into design processes.

Foundations: The Systemic Design Movement


Seven years later, at RSD9 (2020), Peter Jones continued to push the boundaries of systemic design – and the responsibilities of designers to work expansively in the domain of change:

We have all used “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals, whether we call them so or not. […] Looking back at the proceedings, I see that RSD has rarely used this language and we do not have many if any, talks dealing with the theory of change. The RSD community has a responsibility to better understand the framing, theory, and proposals entailed in systems change, even if only to better collaborate as designers working with the social change community.

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change


Dr Peter Jones is an SDA co-founder and professes the discipline at OCAD University, Toronto where he teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation and the Design for Health graduate programs. Peter leads systemic design research in new economies, healthcare, media, community governance, social system and policy design through collaboration in international networks. Since 2001, Peter has led the strategic innovation consultancy Redesign Network. He connects research and practice through founding commitments with the Flourishing Enterprise Institute, Drawdown Toronto, Bounce Beyond, the Agoras Institute, and OCAD’s Strategic Innovation Lab. Peter is convening the 12th year of Design with Dialogue, a community of practice to educate and socialize creative facilitation of dialogues for transformation. His publications are found at

Dr Birger Sevaldson [dipl NCAD PhD] is a professor at the Institute of Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Institute of Design. He is a design researcher and educator with a background in a broad field of design and architecture. As a design researcher, he focuses on design processes for uncertainty and complexity. He has defined systems oriented design as a designerly way of systems thinking and systems practice. He was the founder of the RSD symposia and a co-founder of the Systemic Design Association.


Final submissions are due on
April 30

Open call for Reviewers
April 1–30

Feedback to authors
June 30

sessions OCTOBER 16–18

RSD13-OSLO & Nordmarka Forest October 22–26

Lidar-derived image of the Danube River and floodplain near Tulln, Austria. Daniel Coe. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

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