RSD3 – “Relating” Systems and Design

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD3) 2014 Symposium

Citation: Author. (2014). Article title. In Proceedings of RSD3, Third Symposium of Relating Systems Thinking to Design. Oslo, Norway: Oslo School of Architecture and Design, October 15-17, 2014.

Published by Oslo School of Architecture and Design (SDRN)

ISBN: 978-82-547-0263-5

AHO hosted RSD1 RSD2 RSD3 RSD6

Chair: Birger Sevaldson
Co-Editors: Birger Sevaldson and Peter Jones

Oslo School of Architecture and Design | OCAD University

The third Oslo symposium engaged over 200 participants and over 50 authors, and a much broader range of contributions were brought across related fields of design and systemics. The emerging renaissance of systems thinking in design responds to the increasing complexity in all challenges faced by designers, strategists, and transdisciplinary innovators. We are facing deeply entangled problematics in natural, social, economic, and political systems. Our professional and organizational worlds have become too complex for linear goal-driven management, and the solution of conventional design thinking is insufficient to address complexity across domains, scales, and networks. New thinking, new knowledge, and new forms of intervention are required to take on this web of interconnected challenges.

The five keynote speakers established a significant presence for the field, “relating” from both the systems and design disciplines. With John Thackara, Hugh Dubberly, Daniela Sangiorgi, and Harold Nelson all speaking, a new critical convergence was palpable. RSD3 was also the last public lecture given by keynote speaker Ranulph Glanville, the outgoing chair of the American Society of Cybernetics, whose words stay with the community years later.

The core planning team of the RSD symposia established the Systemic Design Research Network organized as a collaborative research group shared between AHO and OCAD University and independent researchers. Peter Jones had previously initiated a Systemic Design track and interest group at the Washington ISSS conference, which continued with the 2015 Berlin conference.

Papers and presentations were organized for the following themes:

  • Social Design
  • Education
  • Service Design and Design for Public Services
  • Theories and Methods of Systemic Design
  • Business and Enterprise Design, Sustainability and Economic Policy
  • The Built Environment
  • Systems Oriented Design

Formal proceedings were developed with RSD3, following a dialogue and discursive process within the community of practice, as opposed to a traditional scientific publication process. The publication ladder employed in successive RSD Symposia was started at RSD3. The intent of the staged process was to create a “long tail” or precedent work, enabling longer-term engagement with the ideas before publishing, with a low entry threshold leading to high-quality final papers for those continuing with publication.

  1. Submission and peer-reviewing of abstracts,
  2. Presentations and dialogues at the RSD Symposium,
  3. Post-production and submission of the working papers,
  4. Publication of the symposium proceedings with SDRN as publisher
  5. Publication of selected fully developed and peer-reviewed scientific papers in an external publishing channel.

This process was initiated with RSD2 and worked well, resulting in two special issues of the design research journal FORMakademisk.

In addition to the originally submitted abstracts, the RSD3 proceedings contain the working papers and presentations. These were submitted after the symposium by most, but not, all authors. Appreciation to Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink and Daniela Olsen for the sketchnotes.


Peter Jones and Birger Sevaldson
Co-Chairs, RSD3

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

Posted Feb-2015