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Building a Systemic Designer’s Library: Borrowing from multiple disciplines to develop systemic design mental models


Beatrice V. Luna

Speaking to the conference’s themes of augmenting systemic approaches with new perspectives and strengthening transdisciplinary connections, this presentation expands on the use of metaphors and analogical thinking in systemic design by offering a work-in-progress catalogue of mental models drawing concepts from multiple disciplines to support systemic design approaches.

It first explores how analogical thinking supports systemic design, and then catalogues how practitioners have previously used metaphors as tools that facilitate design activities (from products to services and systemic interventions). 
Finally, adding to this catalogue, I present mental models using analogues drawn from different disciplines and show how doing so can offer new perspectives, mental models, and techniques designers can adapt to strengthen their practice.

I present sample mental models drawn from physics, medicine, and economics and show the possibilities these offer to systemic design activities, such as framing problem spaces, generating objective ideas, and facilitating change. 

Keywords: systemic design, transdisciplinary lenses, metaphors, analogical thinking, analogies, transdisciplinary thinking, physics in systemic design, medicine in systemic design, economics in systemic design, thinking hats

Pre-proceedings drafts are available for RSD11 participants to review. The corresponding paper number is at the end of the title. The papers have been peer-reviewed, and the authors have made revisions. Following RSD11, authors will have a final period to revise their work from the feedback received at RSD before the proceedings are formally published.

Posted September 2022 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.