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Leveraging Tensions in Systemic Design

Format: Workshops, RSD9, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Jan-Carel Diehl, Ella Jamsin, Jotte de Koning, Rebecca Price and Nynke Tromp

Delft University of Technology

Country: Netherlands
Format: 2.5-hour online workshop

Read the full workshop description ⇒

Complex systems do not lend themselves to simplification. Systemic designers have no choice but to embrace complexity, and in doing so, embrace opposing concepts and the resulting paradoxes. It is at the interplay of these ideas that they find the most fruitful regions of exploration.

Within the field of systemic design, we find tensions between the positions that different practitioners and scholars take and the methods, practices and ideas they promote. Rather than viewing these differences as problems that need resolving, we see those tensions and differences in perspectives and ideas as opportunities to develop the field.

Examples of tensions are:

  • Humanizing systems versus technical systems solutions
  • The do-ers/ entrepreneurs versus the thinkers/ philosophers in systemic design
  • Bottom-up system innovation versus top-down system innovation
  • The need for predictability and structure versus the need for surprise and emergence
  • Western ways of systems thinking versus indigenous, Eastern and other ways of systems thinking

The goal of this workshop is to explore the tensions that exist in the field of systemic design and the ways they can be leveraged to develop the field.




Citation Data

Author(s): Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Jan-Carel Diehl, Ella Jamsin, Jotte de Koning, Rebecca Price and Nynke Tromp, Delft University of Technology
Title: Leveraging Tensions in Systemic Design
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
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First published: 6 October 2020
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