Gayatri Menon

There is an urgent need to enable designers to respond to the requirements of an increasingly complex multi-layered scenario. As wicked problems become a norm and conflicts between opposing factors emerge, there is a need for an empathetic, systemic understanding in order to arrive at effective, systemic solutions. The paper examines systems theory and the unique designerly approaches towards systems theory. The study further investigates the phenomenon of design intent and response towards systemic concerns through multiple case study analysis approaches by analysing case studies in a quasi-experimental setup wherein a group of design students worked on the same systems model but responded with varied design intent and conceptual ideas. The presentation puts forth the argument for a more focused approach towards understanding values and meanings held by designers/ design students and its impact on evolving both the design brief and solution space. Based on multiple case study analyses, methodical constructs, including individual concerns based on personal experiences and systemic considerations of multidisciplinary perspectives, developing an understanding of multiple perspectives and inclusion of points of view from multiple stakeholders are elaborated. The use of these methodological constructs derived from a systems understanding is expected to help designers/ design students arrive at diverse and holistic responses to address complex problem spaces.

KEYWORDS: systemic design, design intent, methodological constructs, design practice 

Maps shows a systems model for the education and learning system

A systems model for the education and learning system.

Citation Data

Author(s): Gayatri Menon
Year: 2022
Title: Design Intent as the Driving Force for Systemic Change
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 109
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 23 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

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 ##.

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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.

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Peter Jones
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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.

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