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RSD12-Ahmedabad: Design for Hopeful Futures


solutions and strategies that are optimistic, inclusive, inspiring, and empowering

Hosted by the National Institute of Design | October 9, 2023 | Ahmedabad, India

Systemic design for hopeful futures is an approach to design that seeks to create solutions and strategies that are optimistic, inclusive, inspiring, and empowering. This approach is rooted in the belief that design can be a powerful tool for positive change and that designers have a responsibility to create futures that are sustainable, equitable, and desirable.

Call for Contributions | Deadline for abstracts May 31 | Complete submissions due June 15 | Registration coming soon

RSD12-Ahmedabad Setting

The National Institute of Design (NID) hosting RSD12-Ahmedabad at the NID campus—a place for creativity and inspiration, with distinctive architecture, open spaces, creative spaces, landscaped courtyards, and gardens.

One of the key design methodologies emphasised at NID is systemic design, enriched by a curriculum that includes systems thinking, design research, and participatory design. Students engage in real-world design projects with an emphasis on a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. In addition to studio work, an active programme of workshops, seminars, and conferences supports NID’s focus on research and innovation. NID organised and hosted RSD9, the first online symposia, and piloted the hub model with a two-day RSD11 event.

NID has actively engaged with RSD for over a decade since Praveen Nahar’s RSD2 paper, presented in 2013). Faculty, students and NID’s community of practice have contributed many quality papers, presentations and workshops, and exceptional metaphor maps depicting the relationship between products, systems, and people.


Nahar, P. (2013). Teaching systems thinking and design at National Institute of Design, India (RSD2) Symposium.

Nahar, P. & Jones, P. (2020). RSD9 Editorial: Systemic Design for Well-Being. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

National Institute of Design. (2020) Tour the Gigamap Exhibition at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India [programme content]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

Systemic Design Association. (2020) RSD9 Systems Maps: Explainers [programme content]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium. Vimeo.

National Institute of Design. (2022). National Institute of Design Metaphor Maps [special collection]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

National Institute of Design. (2022). National Institute of Design RSD11 Programme [special collection]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

FOCUS: Designing for hopeful futures

The RSD12 call for contributions is now open and accepting submissions for papers, online workshops, and exhibits related to “hopeful futures.”

To apply systemic design for hopeful futures, designers must first engage with stakeholders to understand their hopes & fears, needs, aspirations, and concerns. This requires designers to adopt a human-centred approach that prioritises empathy, collaboration, and co-creation.

By involving stakeholders in the design process, designers can ensure that their solutions are grounded in the needs and values of the people they are meant to serve. Designers also need to take a systems thinking approach to identify the root causes of problems and to develop solutions that are integrated, holistic, and sustainable. This involves considering the social, economic, environmental, and cultural contexts in which design interventions will be implemented and ensuring that these interventions are aligned with broader systemic changes that may be required.

Finally, designers must be willing to experiment and iterate, recognising that the future is inherently uncertain and that solutions that work today may not work tomorrow. This requires a willingness to embrace complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty and to remain open to new ideas, perspectives, and feedback.

The goal of systemic design for hopeful futures is to create solutions that are not only effective and sustainable but also inspiring and empowering. By creating solutions that resonate with people’s aspirations and that inspire them to take action, designers can help to create a future that is hopeful, just, and equitable.

RSD Examples

Christopher Daniel, Gareth Owen Lloyd, Dulmini Perera, Sally Sutherland, Ben Sweeting, James Tooze, Jeffrey P. Turko, and Josina Vink (2022). Design over time: the “long now”. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11) Symposium.

Hillary Carey, Rachel Arredondo, Mihika Bansal, and Christopher Costes (2021). Reimagining the Futures Cone: Past, plurality, and perspective. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD10) Symposium.

Pupul Bisht (2019). Decolonizing Futures. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

Maggie Greyson (2022). Making Futures Present: A postcard from the future clears up your vision of the horizon. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11) Symposium.

Eloise Smith-Foster and Tom Castle (2022). Guiding Strategies For System Change with a Futures-Led, Human-Centred Design Approach. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11) Symposium.



Programme and schedule are in development.

Save the dates


To be confirmed.

About the organisers

Praveen Nahar is the Director of the National Institute of Design Ahmedabad (NID) and has been a faculty member in the product design discipline since 2002. His academic and professional interests include systems thinking in design, design thinking, sustainable design/green design, design in the public domain, social design, appropriate technology, and strategic design. Praveen presents internationally in the areas of systems oriented design, sustainability, and design thinking. He serves on conference committees, competition juries, and academic and advisory boards.

Neha Mandlik is an architect, furniture and interior designer, researcher and educator. She is a NID faculty member in the furniture and interior design discipline. Neha is a thinker and maker who believes research is the soul of the design process. Her areas of interest are design research, speculative design, furniture design, affordance, human factors and ergonomics of space, the future of home and work, sustainable and green spaces and soft robotics.

Sahil Thappa uses an anti-disciplinary approach to fuse design tools and methods, ecology, technology, tinkering and open-source technologies. He is an alumnus of the product design programme at NID and was one of the three global designers to be part of Kortrijk Designers In Residence 2017: Enabling liquid boundaries by social design. He is faculty in Product Design and teaches making, open source and systems thinking and heads the User Centred Design Lab.

NID logo
National Institute of Design entrance

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 scholar’s spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholar's 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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