RSD12-Monterrey and RSD12-online

humanity, health, habitus

sustain­able design

3 speakers

systems work­shops

arts | business | engineering | health

diseño en México

design in Mexico panel


registration opens in sept

complexity abounds in ecosystems

Hosted by Tecnológico de Monterrey | October 9, 2023 | Monterrey, Mexico 

Massive changes are converging in the Latin American world, with the potential for new economic, geopolitical, and technological developments in societal systems. An inspiring position for the participatory ecosystems focus is proposed from the recent article by the Dean and professors of the hosting School of Art, Architecture and Design, in which an organic Mexi-futurism is proposed as a pathway to connect rich cultural traditions and design-led innovation, creating the conditions and platform for cross-cultural dialogues, an evolving design culture, and design practices in academia and regional innovators and institutions to participate. (Iñiguez Flores et al., 2019)

Considering the world-building scale of the cultural evolution of large cities such as Monterrey affords a liminal opportunity to invite participants from multiple sectors into the co-creation of ecosystems that foster these cultures, well-being, and a renewed sense of place. We might envision a large space of societal design for humanity, health, and habitus—through steering participatory ecosystems, an imperative put forward by systems scholar Béla Bánáthy.

Faced with a massive evolutionary transformation, with a change in the nature of change itself, we must recognize that incremental adaptation or restructuring of our existing systems is not working for us. We must realize we have to transform our systems—we have to become homo gubernator so that we can steer our fate and shape our future. (Bánáthy, 1997)

To create this new paradigm of sustainability, requires changing the unsustainable mind that we have inherited from our culture and the industrial revolution of the last two centuries. The work of evolutionary leaders is multidimensional, it requires leadership development as well as organizational learning and evolution. (Manga & Hollenhorst, 2004)


Banathy, Bela H. (1997). Designing social systems for a changing world. New York: Plenum Publishing.

Iñiguez Flores, R., Morán, R. M. L. & Ruano, D. S. (2019). Mexi-futurism: The transitorial path between tradition and innovation. Strategic Design Research Journal, 12 (02), 222-234. DOI:10.4013/sdrj.2019.122.08

Manga, M & Hollenhorst, T. (2004). Evolutionary Leadership for Building Sustainable Organizations. Center for Evolutionary Leadership & ifPeople.

Tecnológico de Monterrey

The evolving Mexican context disclosed by Tecnológico de Monterrey creates a significant opportunity for these ideas and conversations to take place in the participatory ecosystem afforded by RSD12.

Tecnológico de Monterrey initiated DistritoTec in 2012 in response to escalating urban decline and community safety in the area. An urban regeneration and innovation initiative, DistritoTec has developed from an ongoing collaboration between citizens, government, and non-governmental organisations. Today, DistritoTec is a Monterrey city improvement district recognised for blending urban regeneration and sustainability with citizen engagement and a high level of accessibility (Gaxiola-Beltrán et al., 2022). It is also a Global Network innovation district, and in 2022 Tech announced the construction of Expedition, an innovation and entrepreneurship building.


Gaxiola-Beltrán, A.L., Narezo-Balzaretti, J., Ramírez-Moreno, M.A., Pérez-Henríquez, B.L., Ramírez-Mendoza, R.A., Krajzewicz, D., Lozoya-Santos, J.d.J. (2021). Assessing Urban Accessibility in Monterrey, Mexico: A Transferable Approach to Evaluate Access to Main Destinations at the Metropolitan and Local Levels. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 7519.

Global Institute on Innovation Districts. (n.d.). The Ambition.

RSD12-Monterrey is hosted by the School of Architecture, Art and Design, Tecnológico de Monterrey.

RSD12-Monterrey invites students, faculty across departments, community developers and activists, business leaders and entrepreneurs, and stakeholders to come together with systems scholars and practitioners, design futurists, and innovation strategists.

The participatory ecosystems focus aims to discover research and design projects that have applied systemic design to placemaking and social innovation in ecosystems.

The work of evolu­tionary leaders is multi­dimensional

—Manga & Hollenhorst (2004)



Tecnológico de Monterrey hosts one-and-a-half days of sessions exploring participatory ecosystems and the discovery of research and design approaches that apply systemic design to placemaking and social innovation in ecosystems.

Ecosystems are dynamic and complex creations, with systems and subsystems comprised of individuals and organisations, resources, networks, and institutions interconnected in the pursuit of social, economic, and environmental goals. Positive attributes of an ecosystem are collaboration, learning, and stakeholder participation, along with evidence of experimentation, co-creation, and iteration; however, ecosystems face challenges such as exclusivity, fragmentation, unmet needs, lack of resources for social innovation, inadequate policy or uncertain governance, and resistance to change.

At the heart of these systemic challenges, there is a central necessity for participation—engagement of public stakeholders in co-creating the emergence of collective well-being. Participatory ecosystems strive to optimise the potential for innovation while addressing challenges by prioritising emic approaches and engaging diverse stakeholders in decision-making processes, problem-solving, and implementation of solutions. Unsurprisingly, complexity abounds in ecosystems, encountering all of RSD12’s entanglements: technology, environment, policy and power, and foundational.

ecosystem entangle­ments

How are participatory ecosystems providing ways for the inherent variety of knowledge, expertise, and perspectives to co-create and shape the future of society itself as it transitions through large-scale system changes?
What theories and methodologies are being employed to develop, scale, and create governance?

RSD12-Monterrey Organisers

RSD is a project of the SDA


Emanuele Giorgi

Peter Jones,

David Sanchez Ruano

Advisor: Roberto Iñiguez Flores

Hub Partners

circolo del design
Politecnico di Torino crest established 1859

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.


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