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Stine Moons, Esther Noëth, and Maud Gruyters

This workshop is part of the research that looks into the ways design strategies can be used to “design the end.” Apart from defining the essential features of the old system that need to be maintained, as is already described in the Three Horizons framework (Sharpe et al., 2016), we looked into additional approaches to “design away” the established practices.

An exnovation process consisting of different design strategies was developed, taking into account the characteristics of socio-technical transitions and the specificities of Horizon 1 and existing of four main stages, i.e. (i) diagnosing the system and evaluating the status quo, (ii) visualising an empty future, (iii) designing the destabilisation, (iv) designing (for) the end (Noëth et al., 2023). We use the work of Flor Avelino (2021) to look at the exnovation process from a power dynamics perspective.

Changing power structures is an inevitable part of exnovation: the power in the system will be diffused, (de)centralised and/or recentralised throughout different parts of the process. Moreover, the impact and the direction of the exnovation process will be strongly determined by who sets the agenda. Handling these changes in power structure with deliberation and intention is critical for a successful transition. Apart from other actors, the designer also holds power over the direction, nuances and criticalities of the process, especially during analysis, visualisation, or as a facilitator. As a final discussion, the question of the role of design in exnovation processes and in depowering regimes is debated.

KEYWORDS: transition design, power dynamics, three horizons framework, exnovation

Interactive: Introduction to the exnovation framework

The first part of this workshop is an introduction to the exnovation framework and how it was developed. The framework was built using four different perspectives: (a) a strategic perspective: mirroring of innovation strategies and the business design mindset, e.g. translating the lean business model canvas to a lean breakdown canvas, (b) a psychosocial perspective: behavioural change and organisational development, e.g. nudging for destabilisation, (c) a transition perspective: transition specific characteristics typical for breakdown, e.g. how to design against path dependency and (d) a design perspective: the design mindset, e.g. boundary objects for exnovation, negative storytelling, the iterative approach.

Nordmarka Forest




Citation Data

Author(s): Stine Moons, Esther Noëth, and Maud Gruyters
Year: 2023
Title: Exnovation and Power Dynamics
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Nordmarka Forest, NOR | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404