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Robert E. Horn, Mari Suoheimo, Birger Sevaldson, and Floor Kist

This conversation between Robert E. Horn, Birger Sevaldson and Mari Suoheimo covers philosophical approaches and tools and will benefit holistic practitioners who deal with wicked problems. Moderated by Floor Kist, this is a transgenerational discussion across three generations; Robert Horn was born in 1933, Birger Sevaldson in 1953, and Mari Suoheimo in 1983.

The discussants have conducted groundbreaking research on mapping visual complexities and wicked problems across a span of almost 70 years. The tools in discussion—for example, gigamapping (Sevaldson, n.d.), Mess Maps™ (Horn, 2001) and information murals—have been applied to create an understanding across a range of complex projects including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (Horn, 1933), mental health services (1999), an oil spill disaster (Sevaldson, 2018) and youth unemployment (Suoheimo et al. 2021).


Floor Kirst (1966) is a Dutch AI researcher at the Delft University of Technology. He is also a strategy and governance consultant, and his expertise lies in collaboration, stakeholder management, conflict resolution, and decision-making.


Robert E. Horn (1933) is a Research Scholar and Artist at the Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) at Stanford University and CEO of He has innovated several visual tools that enable multidisciplinary task forces to better deal with social messes (aka wicked problems).

Birger Sevaldson (1953) is a Norwegian Design scholar at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. He is known for systems oriented design, founding and co-founding Relating Systems Thinking and Design and the Systemic Design Association. He is also known for the development of gigamapping (Koning, 2021).

Mari Suoheimo (1983) is working as an associate professor of service design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Her research concentrates on how to approach wicked problems in service design. Wicked problems are diverse and can range from sustainability to the use of technology.

KEYWORDS: information mapping, gigamapping, mess maps, visualizing complexity


  1. Horn, R. E. (2001, July). Knowledge mapping for complex social messes. A speech to the Packard Foundation Conference on Knowledge Management.
  2. de Koning, J. (2021). The Gigamap Interview with Birger Sevaldson. Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD10.
  3. Sevaldson, B. (n.d.). What is Gigamapping?

RSD Topic

Mapping & Modelling.




Citation Data

Author(s): Robert E. Horn, Mari Suoheimo, Birger Sevaldson, and Floor Kist
Year: 2023
Title: Mapping, Working, and Living with Complex Information
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Loughborough, UK | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 13 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404