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Systemic design thinking for creating sustainable products through women self help groups

Format: Papers, RSD9, Topic: Culture & Society

Poonam Jayant Singh

Indian Council for Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

The systemic design thinking approach has been used to empower marginalised women communities through co-creating products with locally available raw material existing in the surrounding area to help in livelihood generation. Two experimental case studies were used to empower women and learn from ground realities by being a spectator participant. Locally and freely available clay and “chikan”, a Geographical Indication of Lucknow, a traditional artisanal form of designing motifs by threads on cloth, using locally available material showed how design intervention can provide a solution for change. Rural Women Self Help Groups (RW-SHG), designed to empower women at the community level also act as microfinance institutes where women lend and collect finances for their needs. The women need handholding support for understanding market needs, bringing new products to the market, designing with functionality and market behaviour. Urban market reach with sustainable, eco-friendly products by creations of rural women was one of the targeted goals. A quadrupole intervention with society, academia, Government organisations, Non-Governmental organisations and business groups together can co-create community empowerment. The two case studies give a glimpse of the problems faced by women and how as a spectator participant, lessons can be used to create a working model with coordinated effort to empower women.

Citation Data

Author(s): Author: Poonam Jayant Singh
Title: Systemic design thinking for creating sustainable products through women self help groups
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 4 October 2020
Last update:
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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).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

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

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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

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In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholar's spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

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