Codifying Systemic Design: A toolkit

Format: Papers, RSD5, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Philippe Vandenbroeck and Kristel Van Ael


In this paper, we want to reflect on the use of toolkits as a codification strategy to fuel an expanding practice of ‘systemic design’. This critical reflection is rooted in the real‐life experience of bringing together two different sets of skills in the development of a Systemic Design Toolkit. Designers and concept‐driven system thinkers belong to different epistemic communities. While these fields of practice are arguably in the process of converging, in actual practice it proves to be a challenge to transcend their governing epistemological differences. What pragmatically unites these practitioners is their ambition to successfully codify a vast and layered knowledge base. A Systemic Design Toolkit is argued to offer promise as a ‘boundary object’ between the epistemic communities involved in creating the toolkit (the designers on the one hand and the conceptual system thinkers on the other) and between the toolkit developers and toolkit users. The paper closes with a tentative list of design criteria for systemic design toolkits.

Citation Data

Author(s): Philippe Vandenbroeck and Kristel Van Ael
Title: Codifying Systemic Design: A toolkit
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 20 September 2016
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Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

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Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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