Towards Healthcare Sustainability: A developmental design approach

Format: Papers, RSD11, Topic: Health & Well-being, Topic: Methods & Methodology, Topic: Sociotechnical Systems

Pranay Arun Kumar and Peter Jones

Health Systems Studio, OCAD University | OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

We report on systemic design methods and outcomes from a workshop and continuing design development for a research agenda to propose effective waste and environmental strategies in the healthcare industry. The recent interest in systems and expansion of systemic design research has produced new avenues for designers to contribute to complex sociotechnical problems in designerly ways. We posit an approach called developmental design, as in developmental evaluation, satisfying the requirements when a longer-term, high-impact design goal is necessary, and typical design outcomes cannot be produced within a normal schedule of design products, as in many strategic design contexts. Developmental design is pursued through learning iterations following an ongoing series of design and evaluation interventions. The goal of the current study was to contribute to managing design for critical sustainability issues within the complexity of healthcare as an industry. Three phases of design research are discussed in this programme. First, a virtual design workshop produced a problematic from the contributions of mixed-expertise designers, using a selected set of tools from the systemic design toolkit. Analysis and design interventions were developed by the authors. A current phase of the study is developing a synthesis map, translating research to a design artefact which projects the complexity of a wicked problem rather than distilling complexities to distinct action points. Thus, the artefact—the synthesis map—serves as a frame of reference for the third phase of research, which is research on targeted interventions which are contextually and temporally relevant to stakeholders in sustainable healthcare policy.

KEYWORDS: developmental design, sociotechnical systems, healthcare, sustainability

Citation Data

Author(s): Pranay Arun Kumar and Peter Jones
Year: 2022
Title: Towards Healthcare Sustainability: A developmental design approach
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 181
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 20 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).


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.

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In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars 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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