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Chris Oestereich, Praewa Satutum, Courtney Savie Lawrence, and Jett Virangkabutra

Systemic design is an important methodology, set of tools, and approaches that collectively help us address the increasing complexity of our time. The need for its application is great, but adoption, while growing, is not to the level of the need.

The Circular Design Lab was launched to bring systemic design to community members interested in learning and using it to help with local challenges. We’ve spent the last few years experimenting with different approaches and formats in service of our three aims: build community, build capacity, and drive change. Over the last year, we’ve focused on developing a guide with a focus on making it approachable for people with little or no experience with systemic design.

In our activity session, we share a bit of our history and then break into discussion groups to share experiences and ideas. The goal of doing so is to help all participants (and facilitators) make systemic design more approachable in the service of growing our community and fostering broader impacts.

At the end of the session, we’ll come back together to share some of the key insights and ideas. We’ll also offer an opportunity to join a chat group to carry the conversation forward in service of continued sharing and learning.

Keywords: accessibility, collaboration, reach, impact

Background

Systemic Design is an important methodology, set of tools, and approaches that collectively help us address the increasing complexity of our time. The need for its application is great, but adoption, while growing, is not to the level of the need. The Circular Design Lab was launched with the idea of bringing Systemic Design to community members who wanted to address local challenges. We did so with three aims: build community, build capacity, and drive beneficial change.

What we’re up to

We’ve spent the last year developing a guide to help others start efforts like CDL. In doing so, one focus has been on making it approachable for people with little or no experience with systemic design.

We’re now in the latter stages of creating the first draft of our Systemic Design Guide, a resource that we have developed with a focus on making it accessible to people with little or no experience with these ideas, approaches, and tools. The guide’s front matter introduces the CDL’s purpose and outlines the rest of the book. The main body is broken into two parts. The first part shares our shared philosophy around leading change, as well as a section that aims to help newcomers to systemic design find their own path. The second part is deep dive into our framework, which includes suggested tools and approaches for each phase. The back matter includes a glossary of relevant terms, an index of relevant toolkits, and links to related resources.

As we work to finalize the first draft (which we intend to iterate as the guide is used and we receive feedback), we are now thinking more about how to engage with relevant audiences within and beyond the systemic design community. How do we get people with no experience using systemic design to pick it up, and more importantly, how do we bring more people to the practice in general?

Our session

With those questions in mind, we’ll share a quick overview in the activity session of our efforts with the Circular Design Lab, including our current aims and plans for the guide. From there, we’ll break out into discussion groups to share experiences around bringing newcomers to systemic design, as well as to discuss ideas and possibilities to test. At the end of the session, we’ll share key insights from the breakouts. We’ll also offer an opportunity to join a chat group to carry the conversation forward in service of continued sharing and learning (and maybe we’ll find other ways to connect and collaborate further if that’s of interest).

The goal of the session is straightforward. We want everyone who participates to share and learn from each other in the service of making systemic design grow in its impact. We want to continue working to make it approachable for people with little or no experience with systemic design so that we all might have a greater positive impact through the others who come along.

Posted September 2022

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Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium. rsdsymposium.org/LINK.