Select Page


Sharon Zivkovic

Addressing human services type wicked problems such as homelessness, drug and alcohol dependency, and disability entrepreneurship requires a place-based focus that brings together diverse stakeholders that have different approaches to practice. To effectively address these problems, it is recognised that people with lived experience of the target issue must be engaged as “experts” from the beginning of any intervention process.

Systemic design is an approach to practice that addresses complex challenges by combining tenets from systems thinking and design thinking. Each of these interdisciplinary fields has perspectives that recognise the expertise of people with lived experience: systems thinking’s critical systems thinking has a commitment to emancipation, and design thinking’s design justice principles position people who are often marginalised by design at the centre of the design process.

This paper outlines a systemic design methodology that underpins a new place-based lab type called a Systemic Landscape of Practice Lab that was originally developed to address the complex challenge of creating an enabling environment to support autistic social entrepreneurs. The methodology combines the philosophy and principles of critical systems thinking and design justice into a six-stage systemic design methodology for system transitions and addresses potential barriers that can prevent stakeholders with different approaches to practice from working effectively together.

It is argued in this paper that the Systemic Landscape for Practice Lab approach can address any human services type wicked problem while increasing the economic self-determination of individuals with lived experience of the target wicked problem. This is achieved by aligning the diverse practices of people with lived experience, service delivery organisations, and social enterprise support organisations.




Citation Data

Author(s): Sharon Zivkovic
Year: 2023
Title: Systemic Landscape of Practice Labs: A lived experience systemic design approach
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: February 26, 2024
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD12

These posts are in production. Please excuse incomplete or unformatted posts. If you would like to receive a paper or have questions about the proceedings, please contact You can also opt into the newsletter and stay up-to-date on RSD12 proceedings and other systemic design news.

Watch for updates