Select Page


Systemic design for hopeful futures

Systemic design for hopeful futures is an approach to design that seeks to create solutions and strategies that are optimistic, inclusive, inspiring, and empowering. This approach is rooted in the belief that design can be a powerful tool for positive change and that designers have a responsibility to create futures that are sustainable, equitable, and desirable. To apply systemic design for hopeful futures, designers must first engage with stakeholders to understand their hopes and fears, needs, aspirations, and concerns. This requires designers to adopt a human-centred approach prioritising empathy, collaboration, and co-creation.

By involving stakeholders in the design process, designers can ensure that their solutions are grounded in the needs and values of the people they are meant to serve. Designers also need to take a systems thinking approach to identify the root causes of problems and to develop solutions that are integrated, holistic, and sustainable. This involves considering the social, economic, environmental, and cultural contexts in which design interventions will be implemented and ensuring that these interventions are aligned with broader systemic changes that may be required. Finally, designers must be willing to experiment and iterate, recognising that the future is inherently uncertain and that solutions that work today may not work tomorrow. This requires a willingness to embrace complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty and to remain open to new ideas, perspectives, and feedback.

Faculty, students and NID’s community of practice have contributed many quality papers, presentations, workshops, and exceptional metaphor maps depicting the relationship between products, systems, and people.

NID logo

The National Institute of Design has actively engaged with RSD for over a decade since Praveen Nahar’s RSD2 paper, presented in 2013). NID organised and hosted RSD9, the first online symposia, piloted the hub model with a two-day RSD11 event, and hosted RSD12-Ahmedabad at NID’s Ahmedabad campus.


Praveen Nahar, Director,
Sahil Thappa,
Neha Mandlik,

One of the key design methodologies emphasised at The National Institute of Design (NID) is systemic design, enriched by a curriculum that includes systems thinking, design research, and participatory design. Students engage in real-world design projects with an emphasis on a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. In addition to studio work, an active programme of workshops, seminars, and conferences supports NID’s focus on research and innovation.

The goal of systemic design for hopeful futures is to create solutions that are not only effective and sustainable but also inspiring and empowering. By creating solutions that resonate with people’s aspirations and that inspire them to take action, designers can help to create a future that is hopeful, just, and equitable.

Systems thinking provided us with perspective or point of view of a much larger scale and intricacies of interconnectedness between the different elements in the said system. Problems identified from this point of view seemed to be at the very core of the wicked problem at hand. Thus, systems thinking helped us with the decision making of prioritizing issues and acting accordingly.

—Bharath Surendra, Manish Kumar, Shubham Yadav, Praveen Nahar, and Sahil Thappa (2020)

Surendra, B., Kumar, M., Yadav, S., Nahar, P. & Sahil Thappa, S. (2020). The story of demand and supply of resources. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and DesignRSD9

Design is increasingly concerned with systemic complexity. This follows, in part, from the interconnected nature of contemporary design questions, which are characterised by conflicting values, unpredictable interdependencies, and uncertain boundaries. At the same time, the contemporary entanglement of the social, political, and ecological means that even design’s traditional domains now exhibit and participate in the complexity of social systems.

—Tom Ainsworth, Shilpi Srivastava, and Shibaji Bose (2022)

Ainsworth, T., Srivastava, S., & Bose, S. (2022). Anticipating Futures: Forecasting and climate preparedness for co-located hazards in India. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11

Despite what numerous people have to say, we know that the metaverse is inevitable. In such a scenario, it becomes our responsibility to foresee the opportunities as well as the threats, and we must work towards making a more humane metaverse and improving our overall digital presence.

—Ganesh Kumar, Krishnakant Saini, Nikhil Soman, Vagmita Parmar, Praveen Nahar, and Sahil Thappa (2022)

Kumar, G., Saini, K., Soman, N., Parmar, V., Nahar, P., & Thappa, S. (2022). Envisioning the Metaverse [map]. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11

Talks: Stories

Talks: Stories

Queenie Clarke | Guido Campi | Tatiana Efremenko and Honorata Grzesikowska | Chantal Spencer | Elise Talgorn | Victor Udoewa | Danielle Lake, Sandy Marshall, Rozana Carducci, Nick Gozik and Tracey Thurnes | Anna Margolis and Fenna Blomsma | Michalina Fidos

Talks: Language & AI

Talks: Language & AI

Eryk Salvaggio | Helen Avery | Tiwanee Van der Horst, Anja Overdiek and Maaike Harbers | Soenke Zehle, Sónia Alves, David Crombie and Esko Reinikainen | Steve Battle | Angie Fleming, Michele Fenlon and Ruslan Hetu


Verified by MonsterInsights