Katinka Bergema and Christine De Lille
The current societal challenges require different stakeholders to act on different systemic levels. Design is seen as a valuable approach to addressing these challenges. Whereas earlier studies provide insights into the practices designers need for systemic design, there is a lack of understanding of the practices designers need to scale up to create the needed impact. This paper describes a study on two large case studies that created systemic impact and what the project leads did to create the scale-up and impact they achieved. From these case studies, we found that creating a governance model, an action-driven approach, storytelling, and navigating can help to scale up and hand over to other stakeholders.
In both cases, the governance model was set up to ensure national and local ownership. By developing the tools and methods during the process that could be handed over to others, scale-up was enabled in both cases with limited budgets and time.
Both cases required and wanted to create impact where action on the ‘workfloor’ was required. In both cases, the strategic challenges were translated into smaller local experiments. With an action-driven approach, these local labs and experiments were connected to learning at a larger scale and provided insights into all sorts of challenges for implementation and scale-up.
In both cases, storytelling was used and helped in gaining traction and support throughout the process. The stories of people in the system were used to create an understanding across the different sectors of how different perspectives and people experience the problem and solutions and their accompanying needs. Also, in both cases, media attention helped to create awareness at the right levels to increase the impact and give an enormous boost to the scale-up of the projects.
The project leaders left room for intuiting. At some point, they felt the need to slow down, to speed up, to involve different people, to strengthen their relationships with people, to grasp opportunities. Both teams had a clear view of the process to follow and the aim to achieve but left room in their processes to grasp the opportunities and drift away when they felt they needed to do something differently.
Keywords: Scaling, Systemic change, Labs, Practices, Systemic Design
Related RSD11 workshop, “Framing a process model for design impact with a systemic lens”.