RSD2 – Foundations: The Systemic Design Movement
RSD2 Symposium Proceedings 2011

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD2) 2013 Symposium

National Institute of Design

Chair and Editor: Birger Sevaldson, AHO

Co-Editor: Peter Jones, OCADU

The Second Symposium of Relating Systems Thinking and Design was held at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design 9-11 October, 2013.

The second Oslo symposium engaged over 120 participants in the emerging renaissance of systems thinking in design. The emerging context is being revealed in transdisciplinary responses to increasing complexity in all challenges faced by designers, innovators, and decision-makers everywhere. Our worlds have become too complex for linear and goal-driven management, as the modern world is experiencing hopelessly complicated social, economic, and political institutions. The global demand for sustainability, democratic economies, and better education, employment, and development has resulted in new movements, but perhaps insufficient redesign. The emerging social arrangements have become too complex for conventional thinking.

Sociotechnical, service, and activity systems are characterized by highly complex and emergent human-system relationships and benefit from nonlinear and creative design practices and engaged research perspectives. Design practices found effective in fields such as healthcare, governance, environmental stewardship, organizational management and social change, are of particular interest for cases and discussion in the conference.

The interrelationship between systems thinking and design action was the theme of last years RSD seminar at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. In re-examining the relationship of systems thinking to design we believe it possible for systems thinking and design praxis to develop the foundations for new, interrelated practices. This synergistic relationship will launch a new generation of systems-oriented thinkers empowered with the creativity and perspectives of design thinking. As educators and researchers, we also seek better theoretical foundations and rigour in design thinking.

Systemic Design has been suggested as a term for this emerging movement in design with its multiple expressions including e.g. Systems Oriented Design, Whole Systems Design, and is closely related to Dialogic Design. What binds systems related theories and practices together with design approaches may be the desire to reintroduce systems approaches with design toward a more effective integrated praxis, becoming more useful to designers (and stakeholders and clients) than evidenced by past performance. This implies the reshaping and design of systems approaches and the related practices so that they are better integrated into design processes.

Papers and presentations were organized for the following themes:

  • New systemic practices in design
  • Rethinking systems approaches from a design perspective
  • Relating design praxis and systems thinking
  • The role of systemic design when developing design practices in new areas
  • Teaching (systemic design or), systems thinking in design. (or design in systems approaches)
  • Relating systems and design theories, conceptually and pragmatically

The 2013 RSD2 proceedings are provided in abstracts and PDF files. Follow the links below or choose from the menus.

These proceedings are the result of a dialogue and discursive process within the community of practice, more than that of a traditional scientific publication process. For the RSD2 symposium, we called for long abstracts which were properly peer-reviewed. We received about 60 abstracts and accepted 40%. The accepted authors were asked to submit draft presentations which were commented on by the organizing committee. After the symposium, we invited all authors to develop their abstracts further to submit working papers. This was an opportunity to include inspirations from the symposium. The working papers have not been peer-reviewed and should be regarded as works in progress.

Two special issues of the design research journal FORMakademisk were published from the submitted and reviewed RSD2 papers: Theory issue and Practice issue.

In addition to the originally submitted abstracts, the proceedings contain the working papers, the presentations and in some cases additional material like videos. Special thanks to Patricia Kambitsch, Playthink for the sketchnotes.

Birger Sevaldson and Peter Jones
Editors, RSD2

Oslo | December 2013

Editorial Board: Birger Sevaldson, Peter Jones, Harold Nelson, Alex Ryan, Linda Blaasvær, Manuela Aguirre

Posted Mar-2014