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Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, Adrià Garcia i Mateu, Darwin Muljono, Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal, and Dilek Sayedahmed

RSD12-Salons are sessions dedicated to exploratory work that have been grouped to create an interdisciplinary space for researchers to talk together and generate collective input from an interested audience.

Complex systems exhibit properties, behaviours, and characteristics that are not predictable, nor can they be reduced to individual components. Instead, these emergent properties arise from the interactions and relationships between the system components. Higher-level patterns, structures, or behaviours can also emerge from interstitial spaces where the interactions of the elements within a system are in a state of flux and chaordic collisions.

These spaces can be conceived of as ecotones, ecological transitional zones where two or more distinct ecosystems or ecological communities meet and interact—an idea taken up by Darwin Muljono for service design and Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal to support systems change. Dilek Sayedahmed’s ecosystem research is served by mini-mapping, and Garcia i Mateu, Adrià proposes a transition practices framework to steer transitions in intermediary spaces. This session is moderated by Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, who grounds wisdom-centric practices in social innovation and systems change work.


Adrià Garcia i Mateu builds on design-led research of just sustainability transition practices with a case study on the enabling practices carried out in intermediary spaces where organisations of the cooperative housing niche in Catalonia meet. By empirically applying Meadows’ (1999) leverage points framework, Garcia argues that the usually reported activity of steering transitions in intermediary spaces is a practice in itself, calls it “enabling transition practices,” and offers a transition practices framework.

Darwin Muljono’s conceptual framework borrows the ecotone from environmental science to describe the overlapping areas of transition between ecosystems. The focus is primarily on the ecotone framework application in service design, where the ecology of service recipients (e.g., customers) and service deliverers (e.g., employees) intersect.

Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal highlight their learning and experience with Indian social entrepreneurs to create a community of practice to accelerate local systems change. Based on their post-program reflection, they conceptualised cultivating localised ecotones of “niches” or initiatives undertaken by social entrepreneurs, taking inspiration from the ecological concept of ecotones. 

Dilek Sayedahmed’s research on the system actors in the Canadian social finance ecosystem employs mini maps to identify potential areas to bring new actors into the ecosystem and build new relationships to support them. It aims to outline the stakeholders, the relationships between them, their roles, goals, the results they are achieving and potential gaps/barriers they face. The objective is to understand the Canadian social finance and innovation ecosystem. This work contributes to understanding, growing, and developing the social economy ecosystem in Canada, supports ecosystem actors and social purpose organisations in system navigation, and identifies relationships in the social economy ecosystem.


Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed’s work and research centres on “dialogues of wisdoms” and explorations around alternate ways of knowing, doing and being to decolonise social innovation and entrepreneurship. At her core, Maryam believes in empowering innovators to trigger transformative change in themselves and their communities and, through that process, co-create more just, equitable and regenerative systems.


#44 Adrià Garcia i Mateu
Transition in practice

#154 Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal
Cultivating Local Ecotones for Niche Propogation

#231 Darwin Muljonoo
Ecotones: Tensions, Innovations, and Systemic Changes

#311 Dilek Sayedahmed, Tara Campbell, Gryphon Marcus Jolan Loubier, Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, Sean Geobey, Katey Park and Sergio Nava-Lara
Presentation: Facing Current Canadian SI/SF Ecosystem: Building Understanding Through Systems Mapping & Thinking

Abstracts & Papers

The RSD12 Symposium Book of Abstracts has post-review versions of accepted papers. Pre-release copies of articles are available online via the RSD12-PAPERS production folder. Use the paper numbers as a reference.




Citation Data

Author(s): Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, Adrià Garcia i Mateu, Darwin Muljono, Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal, and Dilek Sayedahmed
Year: 2023
Title: Salon: Interstitial Spaces
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: programme
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 20 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404