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Darwin Muljono

This writing proposes a conceptual framework borrowed from environmental science, called the ecotone—the overlapping areas of transition between ecosystems—to identify pain points that are systemic by way of investigation through contradictions and tensions between multi-actors interactions. The main inquiry is, thus, investigating how design identifies systemic problems and provides solutions at the systems level in multi-actor, complex, interdependent, and emergent systems. While local interactions do not always directly and absolutely affect the behaviours at the global level (that is neither complex nor emergent), the local interactions provide us insights into how structures govern the behaviours at the lower level—and we would understand this dynamic better by first making sense of the types of pain points in the context of contradictions. While this framework would apply to any design discipline that is interested in approaching problems from a systems perspective, the focus is primarily on the ecotone framework application in the field of service design. The concept of ecotone itself being applied in the design disciplines is not new. It is used prominently in talking about the intersection between different disciplines for educational and knowledge development. Where the ecotone framework in systems design, like services, for example, differs is the focus on tensioned zones or areas where the ecology of the service recipients, for instance, customers and service deliverers and employees, intersect.

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Citation Data

Author(s): Darwin Muljono
Year: 2023
Title: Ecotones: Tensions, innovations, and systemic changes
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/econtones
Host: Georgetown University
Location: ONLINE
Symposium Dates: February 26–May 6, 2024
First published: 30 December 2023
Last update: February 01, 2024
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404