The complexity and interconnectedness of current times demand the designing of policies, systems, and services addressing sustainability challenges and enabling actionable changes for the future using a systems approach. This paper proposes a conceptual model for applying a systems approach to design intervention, including policy development for creating a sustainable, actionable future. The conceptual model builds on the core features of systems thinking to understand the existing context and analyse gaps for sustainable, systemic interventions through design interventions.
Systems mapping and modelling play a key role in understanding systems dynamics and feedback loops, identifying gaps, analysing principles of balance and inter-relating perspectives. Design projects carried out in this area and written as case studies keeping these aspects in mind are further reflected upon in terms of possible design directions and analysed. The analysis and reflections on the practice form the basis for constructing a framework connecting design approaches, systems thinking and sustainability factors.
The conceptual model is expected to facilitate designers to navigate the complexities of sustainability challenges and provide a roadmap to apply a systems approach for developing design interventions: policies, systems, and service models, for a sustainable future. It can also help establish feedback mechanisms to monitor policy outcomes and enable policymakers to respond to changing circumstances through an iterative process. This systemic, generative, creative approach is expected to help build a resilient, flexible, hopeful future.