Portfolio Design Stencils: A conceptual and design architecture for accelerating social systems transformation

Format: Papers, RSD11, RSD11: Methods and the worlds they make, Topic: Cases & Practice, Topic: Methods & Methodology, Topic: Sociotechnical Systems

Luca Gatti and Gina Belle

CHÔRA Foundation

Social systems need new conceptual, learning, and action architectures to enact strategy, change theories, transformation, and impact programs in the face of escalating systemic complexity and cascading uncertainty. Instruments to manage emergent implications, discover new pathways and solutions, generate actionable intelligence and inform decision-making and commitment of resources to transformation over and in time.

CHÔRA has developed a new framework, practice, and toolkit for system transformation: Portfolio Design Stencils. The output of a stencil is a portfolio of strategic innovation and system transformation options that are activated to help social systems learn their way into change. Each portfolio is intent-led, structured, distributed, place-based, participatory, and dynamically manages a distributed range of interventions that support sustained and collaborative strategic learning, action, and decision-making. The stencil provides strategic and systemic designers with generative and evolutionary metamodels, processes, and tools to: engage with complex problems; coherently design, manage and learn from problem-solving actions over time; and accelerate impact in the social systems in which they operate. 

The presentation will outline the methodology and provide cases of in-field applications of portfolio stencils to address complex, multifaceted, and multi-stakeholder issues such as urban transformation and sustainable tourism with government and development agencies.

KEYWORDS: system transformation, strategic design, portfolios of strategic innovation options, complexity, uncertainty, organizational learning, system meta models, visualization, visuospatial reasoning, urban transformation

RSD TOPIC(S): Methods & Methodology

Citation Data

Author(s): Luca Gatti and Gina Belle
Year: 2022
Title: Portfolio Design Stencils: A conceptual and design architecture for accelerating social systems transformation
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 151
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 21 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

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.

Suggested citation format (APA)

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

Publishing with RSD

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.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

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.


Verified by MonsterInsights