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Birger Sevaldson

Designing Complexity was published in October 2022, and with the downloadable e-print available in October 2024, it is an accessible and seminal volume on systems-oriented design (SOD), a core methodology with the systemic design interdiscipline. Birger discusses SOD methodology, and what it means to design in the context of complex change processes.

About the book

This book is for designers in the widest sense including any individual or organisation that is involved in change processes. It is addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time: How can we design for, with, and in service of the complex world we live in? How can we be useful as designers in a world that is rapidly changing due to technological, political and social processes as well as climate change and nature destruction?

Designers have some very useful skills for planning with complex systems in mind, yet there are also some old habits that need to be overcome. The traditional purpose and role of design has been to solve problems, to find order, to organize, and to simplify. Yet, the concept of designing complexity goes against these established beliefs because complexity is not something that can be designed away. Instead, we present ways to live with, influence and benefit from complex systems.

There is no one “right” way presented in this book. Instead, many experiences, approaches, and perspectives are collected and presented throughout the book. The approach this book is presenting is a methodology called systems oriented design (SOD). SOD is a design methodology and design practice especially geared towards understanding and working with complex systems. It is influenced by a number of systems theories, yet it remains true to its origin, the core of designing.

SOD is a living and adaptable methodology.  Though it is based on design thinking and design methodology, it is easily adapted and applied by anybody who is working with complex change processes.

from https://systemsorienteddesign.net/book-designing-complexity/

Resources

About Systems Oriented Design

Designing Complexity: The methodology and practice of systems oriented design

RSD10: The Gigamap Interview with Birger Sevaldson

RSD12: Mapping, Working and Living with Complex Information

Don Norman

Book description

From Common Ground Scholar

This book addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time: How can we design for, with, and in service of the complex world we live in? How can we be useful as designers in a rapidly changing world due to technological, political, and social processes, as well as climate change and nature destruction? Designers have some beneficial skills for planning with complex systems in mind, yet some old habits need to be overcome. Design’s traditional purpose and role has been to solve problems, find order, organize, and simplify. Yet, the concept of designing complexity goes against these established beliefs because complexity cannot be designed away. So, instead, we present ways to live with, influence, and benefit from complex systems. There is no one “right” way presented in this book. Instead, many experiences, approaches, and perspectives are collected and presented. The process this book offers is a methodology called Systems Oriented Design (SOD). SOD is a design methodology and practice primarily geared toward understanding and working with complex systems. Several systems theories influence it, yet it remains true to its origin, the core of designing. SOD is a living and adaptable methodology. Though it is based on design thinking and design methodology, it is easily adapted and applied by anybody working with complex change processes.

Andreas Wettre and Birger Sevaldson | Impact on Creativity interactive session

Gigamapping is by many accepted and appreciated as a method to understand complexity, mixing systems thinking and design. Too often, we as teachers see that gigamapping is only used in this first phase of understanding and that the method seems not to be utilized to its potential in the more creative process and throughout implementation. We are also challenging the idea that you need to understand first and then be creative about possible solutions.

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Citation Data

Author(s): Birger Sevaldson
Year: 2023
Title: Designing Complexity: The methodology and practice of systems oriented design
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/designing-complexity-book
Host: Georgetown University
Location: ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 10 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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