The family of methodologies and approaches used and developed by the systemic design community has several characteristics that could play a vital role in supporting collective visioning and concerted action for sustainability transitions. It offers heuristics for bridging scales and domains and tools for constructing spaces of joint reflection, visioning and decision-making. These methodologies enable us to combine learning from speculation with the material process of trying out our ideas, as well as to draw on embodied experiences and emotions. Aesthetic traditions and craftsmanship transcend purely instrumentalist and functional objectives. Importantly, the practice of iteratively applying reflexivity, design thinking and systemic approaches to our own practices of prototyping, mapping or visualisation offers the potential to further develop relevant methodologies. A major caveat in deciding our way forwards is dependence on funding from industry and strong stakeholders, which constrains design criteria, framing, agendas, timelines and participants in commissioned systemic design work, while the dynamics of institutional structures and global scientific knowledge systems constrain the mobilisation and orientation of academic resources. However, as a community, we collectively have the expertise, resources and motivation to engage in concerted, informed and intentional action consistent with our ethics and value base. The presentation outlines some options and directions in methodological development that could support such work, as well as pointing to possible challenges and pitfalls at a time when our community is contemplating modes of growth, the formation of new alliances, a widening of methodological repertoires, and a critical examination of our current toolkits. It is suggested that one of the central questions we need to pose concerns a deeper reflection on what the objective of ‘systemic change’ actually entails.
Keywords: systemic design, designing methodological development, future-oriented methodologies, knowledge systems, agenda-setting, ethical praxis, systemic change