After several years of working with industrial design as a tool for exploring the types of radical systemic change that climate change arguably needs, it now seems timely to discuss the systemic approach, per se. Much at odds with current discourse, this article defends existing disciplinary skills by revisiting four seminal scholars within system thinking and cybernetics, which arguably were significant for giving rise to the current praxeology of systems oriented design (SOD) and its continued development. The article makes three brief explorations, covering (i) the holistic worldview, having nature as a guiding metaphor versus the mechanical having a machine as a guiding metaphor, (ii) the expected turning point for radical climate action and why it has not turned up yet and (iii) the ecology of disciplines and its knowledge production, and how the modes of disciplinary cooperation tend to be, more or less, easy to control.
These discussions intend to explore the tensions between the worldviews that direct our understanding and action. The article shows how the ‘worldview makes the methods’ as much, if not more, than the other way around. Finally, the paper tries to establish a creative dialogue with the SOD community by both questioning its current main foci on the current system’s complexity and, at the same time, suggesting how the SOD praxeology could be potentially much more beneficial if its view instead were directed towards ways to transcend the current system.
Keywords: SOD, radical system change, global warming, calcified complexity, system thinking, industrial design, design agency