Design-driven Industrial Reconversion during COVID-19 Global Outbreak

Format: Papers, RSD10, Topic: Economics & Organisations

A systemic business strategy and design approaches to face complex market crisis

Eva Vanessa Bruno and Beatrice Lerma

This paper highlights the evolution of designers’ responsibility during an unexpected emergency period like the COVID-19 outbreak. This process will be described through a set of case studies showing that the design discipline is resilient and capable of gathering the proper needs at the right time and relieve market tensions. Indeed, designers can help companies in the process of industrial reconversion, an ambidextrous strategy that allows producing what is missing but extremely urgent during an emergency. The paper describes the way firms converted to produce necessary goods such as clean hand sanitiser, lung ventilators and the personal protective equipment needed by citizens and medical personnel. During the COVID-19 emergency period, what are, and have been, the challenges for designers? What new expertise, skills, activities will the designer have to gain? How do designers give innovative answers with new activities to support companies during emergencies? The answer was found in the designers’ ability to examine the problem holistically and choose the most innovative and contextually appropriate solutions. Together with management ingenuity, they also fit in with ambidextrous strategies that direct the company towards new opportunities by exploiting the resources already belonging to the firm, untangling the economic complexity.

Keywords: design for emergency, industrial reconversion, ambidexterity, innovation management, market tension

Citation Data

Author(s): Eva Vanessa Bruno and Beatrice Lerma
Title: Design-driven Industrial Reconversion during COVID-19 Global Outbreak
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 3 September 2021
Last update:
Publisher Identification:

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.

Suggested citation format (APA)

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

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


Verified by MonsterInsights