Perspectives on Systemic Design: Examining heterogeneous relevant literature to provide a historical and ‘systemically inspired’ review

Format: Papers, RSD7, Topic: Culture & Society

Jenny Darzentas and John Darzentas

This paper lays out a plan of action for literature review on Systemic Design. It argues that despite the newness of systemic design, there is scope for such work, especially if it departs from the typical styles of literature review, and a) takes a historical perspective, b) pulls in a range of heterogeneous literature, and c) if, in doing this, it takes its cue from systems itself, and uses systems thinking based methodologies to establish the interrelationships between systemic design and its influences and directions. Thus the goal of this paper is to explain the rationale for this review style and to call for it to become a strand of research that offers interested scholars a place to stand to examine the antecedents of the turn to systems by designers, to learn about the rich heritage of the systemic design and to help develop further themes within this design paradigm that are newly emerging.

Keywords: Literature review, systemic design, heterogeneous resources, historical perspective, emergent themes


Citation Data

Author(s): OCTOBER 2018
Title: Perspectives on Systemic Design: Examining heterogeneous relevant literature to provide a historical and ‘systemically inspired’ review
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 2 October 2018
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Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

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Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

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Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


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