Organised by Cheryl May

This session explores the research prompts initiated by promising post-graduate or early career research identified by RSD11 peer reviewers. Reviewers identified these doctoral projects as noteworthy and relevant to systemic design – and a way to extend the conversation on research directions in systemic design.

Following an online fishbowl format, the researchers present the first round with a three-minute thesis, and the moderator will open up the fishbowl to all participants. When ready, discussants join the fishbowl with a follow-up comment, tagging the person who sparked their remarks. That person steps out, so we maintain the same number of discussants in the fishbowl and evolve the conversation across disciplines and worldviews. Participants can join more than once; however, after the first round presented by the researchers, please aim to keep comments to ~one minute.

Opening presentations

The doctoral researchers will present their opening summaries in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) format.

Fanjasoa Louisette Rasoloniaina – Every Schoolboy Should Know that Patterns are Connecting Patterns and Threads are connecting Threads

Université Paris Cité – ENSAPVS, France

This article traces the influence of Gregory Bateson’s thought on the construction of a new epistemological, didactic and praxeological framework based on the systemic analysis of the Swahili territory and community, the observation of the use of the Environmental Genetic Code (EGC) systemic matrix by Master students of the architectural project studio “Conjuring Social and Natural Catastrophes in the Post-Covid Area” at ENSAPVS, and the questioning of the EGC during the RSD10 workshop Weaving a Collective Intelligence Systemic Design Tool.

This set of studies allowed the consolidation of the CEG matrix by reinforcing the realisation of the relationships and communications between creatura and pleroma, thwarting the very principle of a border, of a hierarchy between reigns and even more fundamentally requestioning its notion; opening a perspective towards epigenetics and biosemiotics thresholding disciplinary boundaries and fully embracing the inter-trans-poly-disciplinarity or post-disciplinarity that suits the paradigm of Post-Normal Science that allows us to grasp uncertainty and formulate effective and reasoned conceptions that support the connection and reliance between systemic research, design, policy-making and activism.

Systemic thinking is one step, but ecosystemic thinking, designing, and acting is the ultimate phase to achieve, establishing symbiosis between humans, their productions and environmental conditions embodying the ARMSADA principle, moving out of predation, domination framework and embracing a collaborative mode of operation and existence. The change in mind thought demands to integrate complexity and tentacular thinking; in this maze, the Ariane’s thread is the work of Gregory Bateson, who has paved the way and laid the groundwork for a pragmatic ecological intelligence.

Ryan Murphy – What would a Systemic Design Science look like? Challenging and augmenting systemic design with philosophies, tools, and methods from information systems

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Systemic design has its roots in design science. However, systemic designers rarely use or adapt design science frameworks and methodologies (with some exceptions). In this presentation, I propose a new subfield of systemic design — systemic design science — that provides philosophies and processes for the scientific evaluation of systemic design concepts and artefacts while bringing ideas from design science (especially from the field of information systems) into systemic design theory and practice. To inspire this subfield, I first provide a brief background of design science in systemic design. I specifically draw on information systems (IS) design science, which has grown into a significant sub-discipline used to develop theory, apply theory in the design and development of artefacts, guide the research process, and analyse research outcomes. I then show how systemic design can benefit from an IS design science approach in developing theory and artefacts. IS design science follows a rich tradition of developing design theories and principles from kernel theories, sometimes across disciplines. IS design scientists have been working for decades to understand translating theoretical knowledge into practical design principles and, further, into artefacts instantiating those principles in real-world applications. (This is the “design” of design science.) IS design scientists also work in reverse. They study the use of designed artefacts for insights about design principles and abstract lessons into generalised theory. (This is the “science” of design science.)

Similarly, systemic designers translate stakeholder engagement and theory into models of systemic problems (the “systemic”), which are then used to design social innovations and strategies for change (the “design”). These systems models, strategies, and innovations are all analogous to the artefacts of IS design science. Thus, a design science-inspired approach may help systemic designers make these twin processes of knowledge translation and abstraction more systematic and procedural — hence, a new “systemic design science.” Last, I outline some interesting methodologies and frameworks from IS design science and how systemic designers may use them to design, share, and assess systemic design artefacts. The call for papers for RSD11 specifically questions the conventions and assumptions of the discipline, calling for approaches beyond the methodological focus of systems thinking to augment or challenge systemic design. I hope that (re)introducing design science to the discipline will embed the self-questioning nature of science into the system of systemic design.

Xiaolin Shen and Daniela Sangiorgi – Leveraging Well-Being: Toward an integrative framework for a service design approach

Politecnico di Milano, Italy

In recent decades, there has been an increasing awareness of the impact that design can have on supporting well-being in different aspects. Design researchers have proposed disparate design concepts related to well-being. In this paper, the authors aim to propose an integrative framework for a Service Design approach in design for well-being that can better promote a more systemic perspective. The paper develops a critical literature review of design research for well-being and its key theoretical constructs in the different fields of product design, interaction design, and, lately, service and systemic design. It intends to understand the multi-faceted and multi-level understanding of design for well-being. By reviewing the literature, the authors found that the goal of design research has been evolving from simply offering users enjoyable positive experiences to enhancing the long-term well-being of individuals and then to the collective well-being of communities and societies through design. The authors then summarise and divide these design conceptualizations into three levels: design to bring pleasure or positive emotion or reduce pain to individuals; design to meet people’s individual fulfilling needs; and design to improve external conditions or resources collectively. After that, the authors suggest the potential to introduce transformative service research to construct the notion of well-being in a nested and ecosystem perspective. In the discussion part, the authors introduce a service ecosystem multi-level perspective on service design and its potential application in the developing field of service design for well-being.

Lara Rodgett – Transgressing Creativity

Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom

We are in the midst of our planet failing – affecting every human decision and interaction we individually and collectively make. Creativity is increasingly being relied upon to ‘solve’ the problems within our ecological, social, political and economic systems. However, the opportunity for many to engage with any of these problems is constricted by top-down power structures and the general understanding of what and where creativity is. Accessibility is the key barrier, and the semantic boundaries need to be reframed. This will be approached by introducing the Four C Model of Creativity, with a particular focus on Little-c and Mini-c, so that creative understanding can be brought into the everyday. The aim is to design an interventionist framework that allows being creative from being perceived as an external facing skill to an internal facing tool that raises the attributes of building towards a tolerance to ambiguity (the climate crisis) and a willingness to grow (moving from the individual to the collective). This dialogue-focused research explores through questioning literature and talks, thematically analysing qualitative data from interviews, and designing micro-interventionist engagements that explore how we can start new knowledge-based conversations that have the potential to prompt social and ecological behavioural change.

Wen Lu, Silvia Barbero and Amina Pereno – Systemic Design for Elderly Healthcare: Analysis of the current responses in China, Italy and Japan

Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Accompanied by the continuous changes in society, environment, culture, science and technology, the changing demographic structure of the world is also leading all countries to face multi-level cross-cutting and comprehensive challenges from the social, economic and environmental perspectives because of the increasing ageing of the population. Few studies use a systemic design approach to discuss the gaps in healthcare policy under different political regimes, thus expanding the discussion of the complex social, economic and environmental problems that older adults face in community care. The knowledge generated through ageing research can potentially improve individual lives and society (Editorial,2021). In contrast, cross-cutting policy gaps are especially relevant to improving the quality of life of older adults, the quality of healthcare and the quality of nursing staff in community care.

The paper adopts a deductive research methodology, starting from the general perspective of cross-cutting policy gaps, criteria-specific gaps and systemic design contribution. This paper outlines the systemic challenges of population ageing in China, Italy and Japan. The research cross-analysed models of cross-scale community care and community care stakeholder map derived from differences in healthcare policies and levels of sustainability under different political regimes in China, Italy and Japan. A holistic vision of sustainable healthcare should not consider only the treatment’s social, economic and environmental impacts. It should also take into consideration the care seekers and care providers in relation to their context by analysing the interactions they establish among them and with the context itself, assessing the influences from and consequences they generate on it, and the systemic design approach is built around four other fundamental principles that contribute to environmental, social and economic sustainability (Silvia B. & Agnese P.,2017). Therefore, this paper attempts to add key criteria for whether healthcare policy considers elderly care, mainly considering whether community care can reduce the burden on home care stakeholders brought about by long-term care and whether it considers effective age-appropriate design.

Nicolas Roussignol – Rethinking the Business Model Concept in the Anthropocene Era: Proposal for a systemic approach to the business model

PSL Paris-Dauphine University, France

This paper presents the state of progress of my PhD thesis that I am conducting with PSL Paris-Dauphine University. My project elaborates a new description and visual representation of the business model concept applying systems thinking principles and a methodology to accompany stakeholders to rethink their business model through systemic design-oriented workshops. Indeed, we believe that this way of thinking, contrary to analytical thinking, may help business leaders and entrepreneurs to become more aware of the impact of their companies on their environment and to make them act differently to face complex Anthropogenic challenges. To conduct our research, we work for Biocoop, a French network of specialised organic food shops, and accompany shops to rethink how they apprehend their business model through collaborative research, including interviews and workshops with different stakeholders – employees, customers, producers, and association representatives. Biocoop food shops have several purposes: the desire to change consumption habits, for consumption that is more respectful of people – both in terms of food quality and respect for work – and of nature. However, shop owners find it complex to align these different purposes with the economic imperative. Thus, our guidance may help them to find the levers to articulate those purposes while training them to think in systems.

Posted October 2022 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 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) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.

Posted October 2022