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Mapping Capabilities: Reflexive practice for co-design and systems thinking

Format: Workshops, RSD12, RSD12 Workshops, RSD12-ONLINE: Entanglements of interest, Topic: Cases & Practice, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Emma Blomkamp and Seanna Davidson

The past few years have seen growing uptake in the complementary practices of systems thinking and co-design, with people from various backgrounds and sectors learning about and applying related principles, techniques and tools. While conceptual frameworks, models and methods abound, there are fewer approaches for practitioners to map or track the increase in their skills or capabilities involved in these practices.

As academic-practitioner-educators, located respectively on Wurundjeri Country and Wadawurung Land in Victoria, Australia, we have created and iterated frameworks to support capability-building initiatives. These include the Systems Practices Framework, the Systemic Design Practice Wheel and the Co-Design Maturity Model. These frameworks offer accessible, flexible and contemporary guides for practitioners and leaders working with colleagues and communities to consider the necessary practice capabilities for systemic design. They do not set forth a rigid model or narrow recipe but recognise the diversity of contexts and circumstances in which these practices take place.

Our Frameworks aim to enable practitioners to: gain insight into the capabilities and conditions required for these practices, identify and seize opportunities to practise these capabilities in their own contexts and see trends and patterns in their capability building over time. To further evolve our Frameworks, we are interested in exploring how they can be used as reference points within a dialogic container and support practitioners to deepen their reflexivity on their own capability-building practice within this social learning environment.

This is an experimental and experiential workshop to map capabilities and conditions for co-design and systems thinking. Participants have the choice of which framework they apply and discuss in a facilitated dialogue led by its creator. This involves identifying and sharing aspects of experience and knowledge, as well as exploring the next steps on a learning journey. We regroup to compare insights from mapping each framework and to reflect on the value and limitations of each tool and dialogic container. In this way, we explore single, double and triple-loop learning for co-design and systems thinking.

Participants are sent materials to review in advance so they can familiarise themselves with the Frameworks, allowing less time for presentation and more for workshopping.

KEYWORDS: systems thinking, co-design, reflexive practice, organisational capacity, capability building, action learning, design maturity

Presentation dates

to be announced




Citation Data

Author(s): Emma Blomkamp and Seanna Davidson
Year: 2023
Title: Mapping Capabilities: Reflexive practice for co-design and systems thinking
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404