London South Bank University
Can systemic design optimise on realities of asynchronous ecosystem development and bridge time and space between distributed, often unrelated teams? Does it make sense to work incrementally?
This case study is based on the Canadian Business for Purpose Network (B4PN), hosted by MaRS Discovery District and funded by the McConnell Foundation. The author evaluated network activities from November 2020 to March 2022 and provided inputs to ecosystem development based on strategic clarity work.
In emergent work such as this, uneven development is to be expected. A multimethod research mindset informed the evaluation project. The interdisciplinary research draws on strategic foresight, bricolage, and social R&D and applies ZIP-Analysis and the Library of Systemic Relations to three micro maps.
Reflexivity raised questions about design and designers in social systems, the realities of asynchronous ecosystem development and distributed work, and the wisdom or folly of incrementalism in design (Dodgson, 2019). The project applied interdisciplinary research in practice to leverage asynchronous situations and distributed networks of designers, strategists, and funders.
The idea of a large street mural comes to mind; often composed by several artists, it exists in parts executed asynchronously. While some sections are completed to the finest detail, others are simply pencil lines expressing the outline of shapes. While work is asynchronous, so is the advancement of understanding and progress on goals.
Keywords: bricolage, ecosystem, foresight, gigamaps, social R&D, synthesis maps, strategy
Evaluating asynchronous ecosystem development
This report of the Business for Purpose Network (B4PN) is a high-level summary of the evolution of purpose-led business in Canada, detailing the work of the founding partners and including references to international research and related events to lend context. The report’s methodology consists of an extensive literature review, ten in-depth interviews with partners, and a thematic analysis of the B4PN Weekly Announcements sent via email to opt-in subscribers.
En Masse. (2011). Quai des arts [mural, visited June 2022]. Théâtre ESPACE GO, Landing stage, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, 4890, boulevard St-Laurent Montréal, QC, Canada. https://artpublicmontreal.ca/en/oeuvre/quai-des-arts/