Systemic design for territorial enhance­ment and industrial innovation

localising systemic change within the driving context of regional economics

Hosted by Sys_Lab, Politecnico di Torino and Circolo del Design | October 16, 2023 | Location: Circolo del Design | Turin, Italy

Upheavals in geopolitical tensions, climate change, and technology advancements radically affect networks and value chains. In Italy, these macro-trends, and the resulting transformations, are being met with strategic innovation and design-led approaches—with the aim of bringing value back to the territories, preserving their cultures and creating resilient ecosystems. Systemic design, as a framework capable of holding geospatial economic development with locality, can be the key to localising systemic change within the driving context of regional economics.


In their RSD7 article, Systemic Design for Sustainable Territorial Development, Chiara Battistoni and Silvia Barbero frame what’s needed for an ecosystem to support autopoietic local economies. Five years later, at RSD12, we are holding space to explore current developments and considering how might systemic design initiate and support structural changes by valuing territorial/regional assets, whether historically rooted or yet to be unlocked, to design solutions specifically tailored for these contexts.

Systemic design can provide an answer to creating eco-innovation and environmental, social and economic sustainability, especially at the local level. (Battistoni & Barbero, 2018)


Battistoni, C. & Barbero, S. (2018). Systemic Design for Sustainable Territorial Development. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD7.

Circolo del Design | Palazzo Costa Carrù della Trinita

RSD12-Turin Programme

Sys Lab and Circolo del Design will closely collaborate on making systemic design impacts that resonate within our communities and beyond.


RSD12-TURIN is organised by the scientific coordination of Sys_Lab, a research group within Politecnico di Torino.

Circolo del Design

The event will be hosted at Circolo del Design, a renovated space enclosed in the ancient courtyard of Palazzo Costa Carrù della Trinita in Turin city centre. The locale is well known within the Turin design community because it hosts talks, exhibitions, and workshops and contributes to spreading the design culture, fostering the connections between design skills and the productive, social, and cultural surroundings.

Partner: Lavazza


This is the second RSD symposium hosted by Politecnico di Torino. The RSD7 symposium was held at the Politecnico di Torino from October 23–28, 2018. This symposium launched the official establishment of the Systemic Design Association and a new phase in the advancement of systemic design as an interdiscipline.

Challenging Complexity by Systemic Design towards Sustainability

Editor & Chair: Silvia Barbero, Politecnico di Torino

RSD12-TURIN is organised by the scientific coordination of Sys_Lab and hosted at Circolo del Design.

Sys Lab is a research group at the Politecnico di Torino that has been exploring systemic design methods and tools for sustainability and the Circular Economy for over 10 years.

The Circolo del Design nurtures and spreads the culture of design, helping to strengthen the local design system and promoting connections between design skills and the productive, social and cultural world.

RSD12-Turin hosts the exhibition May Contain Traces of Forest, a project by Circolo del Design, curated by Elisabetta Donati de Conti and Giorgio Vacchiano.


How might systemic design initiate and support structural changes by valuing territorial/regional assets?

Carolina Giraldo Nohra | RSD12-TURIN KEYNOTE


Localising systemic change will delve into work integrating spatial thinking and analysis with systems thinking and design principles. These approaches often employ geospatial data and technologies; however, location, size, history, and culture can influence systems’ behaviours, interactions, and dynamics, and design brings an integrated and holistic perspective to territorial enhancement and industrial innovation.

The methodology

The Sys Lab team has developed a methodology combining a design vision with an interest in analysing, exploring, and developing complex systems in response to wicked problems. Building on well-established systemic design models, the Sys_Lab methodology observes five steps when approaching complex scenarios holistically. These steps also support active cooperation among stakeholders.

  1. The holistic diagnosis of the current scenario, considering both the surrounding context and the flows of energy and matter
  2. The identification of challenges and opportunities of the current scenario and its flows
  3. The design of a new systemic model based on relationships between processes and actors, which optimises information, energy and material flows and gives value to waste as resources
  4. The identification and study of the new outcomes generated by the new systemic model
  5. The validation of the system by demonstrating its feasibility and by implementing the project in the specific context

Adapted from

localising entangle­ments

How might systemic design initiate and support structural changes by valuing territorial/regional assets, whether historically rooted or yet to be unlocked, to design solutions specifically tailored for these contexts?
How are we building resilient local ecosystems together with the local stakeholders?
What are the contexts and boundaries for systemic change?
What are the initiatives and activities needed to activate a systemic change?

RSD12-Turin Organisers

RSD12 is a project of the SDA


Eliana Ferrulli |

Mariapaola Puglielli |


Silvia Barbero |


Sara Fortunati |

Hub Partners

circolo del design
Politecnico di Torino crest established 1859
systemic design lab

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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