SOU SOU: Supporting transitions through ritual, friendship and play

Format: Papers, RSD11, RSD11: Methods and the worlds they make, Topic: Cases & Practice, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Cheryl Hsu, Adrienne Pacini, Kimberley Peter, and Michael Schaus

Systemic Design Researcher & Strategist, Consultant | Principal, Strategic Design, SHS Consulting | Director, Design for AI, RBC | Principal, Strategic Foresight, Scotiabank

This work aims to act as a case study for how we might establish different conventions in how colleagues and communities of practice convene to make progress on large-scale transformation or systems change initiatives. We propose a small, intentional, relational unit with the core elements of commitment over time, thematic cycles, events led by contributors taking turns within a given cycle, a safe place to lead and participate in different practices, opportunities to experience and learn together, and ritual as a wrapper around it all. In this case study, we share a path using the construct of a “Sou Sou”–a group savings club–over several yearly cycles in which the value contributed has been both literal and metaphoric currency toward a shared pool of practice and the pleasure of growing friendships that enrich the lives and competencies of the contributors.

The authors believe others leading change initiatives or working through transitions themselves might find inspiration in a ritual-based approach that amplifies the skills of the contributors while also providing an ongoing platform for creativity and fun. This presentation is about how we might support ourselves and others in transitions through ritual, friendship, and play, where relationships are the essential element in any system change, and the pleasure they provide in sustaining energy for ongoing transitions.

KEYWORDS: sou-sou, ritual, friendship, play, practice, social infrastructure, transitions, systems change

Citation Data

Author(s): Cheryl Hsu, Adrienne Pacini, Kimberley Peter, and Michael Schaus
Year: 2022
Title: SOU SOU: Supporting transitions through ritual, friendship and play
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 165
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 21 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

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).


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Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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