solutions and strategies that are optimistic, inclusive, inspiring, and empowering
a significant opportunity for designers is to build systems and tools that encourage a vision for the future
Hosted by the National Institute of Design | October 8 & 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.
Design is increasingly concerned with systemic complexity. This follows, in part, from the interconnected nature of contemporary design questions, which are characterised by conflicting values, unpredictable interdependencies, and uncertain boundaries. At the same time, the contemporary entanglement of the social, political, and ecological means that even design’s traditional domains now exhibit and participate in the complexity of social systems.
—Tom Ainsworth, Shilpi Srivastava, and Shibaji Bose (2022)
Ainsworth, T., Srivastava, S., & Bose, S. (2022). Anticipating Futures: Forecasting and climate preparedness for co-located hazards in India. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11. https://rsdsymposium.org/futures-forecasting-and-climate-preparedness-india/
The Eames Plaza, a historic monument within the NID campus, Ahmedabad
The National Institute of Design (NID) hosting RSD12-Ahmedabad at NID’s Ahmedabad 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.
Despite what numerous people have to say, we know that the metaverse is inevitable. In such a scenario, it becomes our responsibility to foresee the opportunities as well as the threats, and we must work towards making a more humane metaverse and improving our overall digital presence.
—Ganesh Kumar, Krishnakant Saini, Nikhil Soman, Vagmita Parmar, Praveen Nahar, and Sahil Thappa (2022)
Kumar, G., Saini, K., Soman, N., Parmar, V., Nahar, P., & Thappa, S. (2022). Envisioning the Metaverse [map]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11. https://rsdsymposium.org/envisioning-the-metaverse-250/
NID Systems Maps
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. https://rsdsymposium.org/nid-exhibition/
Systemic Design Association. (2020) RSD9 Systems Maps: Explainers [programme content]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD9. Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/showcase/8642055
National Institute of Design. (2022). National Institute of Design Metaphor Maps [special collection]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11. https://rsdsymposium.org/category/rsd11-nid-maps/
ON-CAMPUS SYMPOSIUM2-day symposium
- The registration fee covers access to RSD12-Ahmedabad. All other costs shall be borne by the participant themselves.
- Limited to fifty seats.
The National Institute of Design also hosted RSD9 and a special on-campus RSD11 programme.
We aim to make the event as accessible as possible. Keeping students, educators and industry in mind, we have kept a registration fee of INR 600.
For any queries, please contact email@example.com
problems identified from this point of view seemed to be at the very core of the wicked problem at hand
To apply systemic design for hopeful futures, designers must first engage with stakeholders to understand their hopes and 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.
Systems thinking provided us with perspective or point of view of a much larger scale and intricacies of interconnectedness between the different elements in the said system. Problems identified from this point of view seemed to be at the very core of the wicked problem at hand. Thus, systems thinking helped us with the decision making of prioritizing issues and acting accordingly.
—Bharath Surendra, Manish Kumar, Shubham Yadav, Praveen Nahar, and Sahil Thappa (2020)
Surendra, B., Kumar, M., Yadav, S., Nahar, P. & Sahil Thappa, S. (2020). The story of demand and supply of resources. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD9. https://rsdsymposium.org/the-story-of-demand-and-supply-of-resources/