RSD5 Workshops

 1. Perin Ruttonsha, University of Waterloo
Toward A (Social) Science of Settlement. Part I: Place-Based Ideologies

Planners have long recognized cities as sites for human development. But what can we say about who we are as societies based on the way that our urban systems are organized? In the first part of this workshop, we will consider how diverse norms, values, worldviews, and ideologies are embedded in urban spaces, and how these might be invisibly binding urban systems to the parameters by which they are defined. For Donella Meadows, one of the most inaccessible and potentially impactful points of leverage for change within systems are the paradigms around which they are constructed. Thomas Homer-Dixon presents ideological regimes are, in themselves, complex systems. Thus, if we hope to reform urban places through a shift in worldviews, we would be working across multiple layers of complexity: the ideological system, the urban system, and the dynamic integration between the two.

Part II: A Dwelling Perspective

Systemic and human-centred design approaches naturally consider human interactions as factors for design analyses. If we want to further understand cities as complex adaptive systems, we might explore how social interactions can aggregate in ways that are, ultimately, formative of places; or, in other words, how social processes can be generative of urban forms. This idea is briefly introduced in Ingold’s (2000) ‘dwelling perspective’, which expands on Heidegger’s conception of building as a complement to dwelling. As a complement to ‘science of cities’ thinking in the second part of this workshop, we will qualitatively examine the impact of flows on forms.

2. Jerry Koh and Claire Buré, MaRS Solutions Lab
Uber Public Value: The Role of Systemic Design in Highly Politicized Economic and Societal Issues

In this workshop, we will explore the role of systemic design in reshaping conversations around highly politicized economic and societal issues arising from disruptive new technologies and business models, and to reshape them into more desirable states. Participants will learn from each other and apply ideas to designing their own new initiatives based on each of the 3 case studies we present:

Airbnb and Beyond: The impact of home sharing platforms is felt in many places across the world and its growth is rapid. Concerns about neighbourhood effects, consumer safety, housing affordability, and tax compliance are among the key challenges for cities who are expected to respond in a timely manner and in a way that benefits the interests of its citizens.
Electricity utilities business and emerging consumer energy solutions: Electricity utilities are faced with a major challenge: either integrate energy resources and innovative energy technologies into their existing business models, and continue to deliver customer value in a changing energy landscape – or risk becoming obsolete.
Hospital procurement of innovative technology while maintaining patient safety: Emergency wait times in hospitals are long, and have led to recent deaths. Ontario hospitals have procurement policies that tend to hinder the use of innovative technologies. How can Ontario hospitals use procurement to solve the issue of emergency room wait times in a way that leverages innovative technologies that keeps patients safe and budgets low?

We will share the experiences of these 3 cases as fodder to launch into design and discussion of how to use systemic design to drive such challenges. We will introduce discussions on additional subject areas where disruptive change is occurring to allow participants to think critically about the core paradox questions to tackle, and key approaches to take.

3. Evan Barba, Georgetown University
Systemic Design for UX (SD4UX)

In this workshop we collectively develop materials that will be broadly useful in articulating what SD4UX is, adapting methods and approaches from systems and UX to better suit the SD4UX paradigm, and exploring ways to teach the SD4UX techniques we develop, in a variety of contexts.  As a way to begin the conversation and get a multitude of perspectives, the first third of the workshop will create a 14-week syllabus for a course in SD4UX. Educators will be able to take this syllabus framework with them and deploy it in their classrooms. Through brainstorming and discussion we will flesh out a 14-week plan with core texts and theories and practical methods and exercises.

During the second third of the workshop we will break into groups to more fully develop a subset of the materials we outline in our syllabus. The goal for this section will be to create a framework for a day-long workshop that introduces a wide audience to SD4UX.

The final third will focus on creating a presentation about SD4UX at a high level. Small teams will create presentation materials (slides, text, even short videos) that summarize and present key elements of SD4UX. These materials might be used to present SD4UX at the beginning of workshop, at a customer meeting, or to students and colleagues in a educational setting.

4. Nourhan Hegazy and Prateeksha Singh, OCAD University
Feeding Future Narratives: Building Empathy with Food through Systemic Design

This workshop adopts a design-led approach to systemic change. It will be part discovery, reflection and extrapolation. We will explore how multi-layered design tools (personal narratives + personification + auto and collective ethnography) when combined with guiding systemic principles, can be used to co-design a transitional narrative focused on building a preferred future.

Participants will be guided through iterative, visual design methods where they will explore how to create a desired future narrative about their relationship with food by revisiting stories of the past and present. The objective is to explore how we might be able to move towards a more healthy relationship with food and by extension a more sustainable food system by building an empathic connection with food and other generations.

The three segments (past, present, future) of iterative storytelling will act as a form of sense making; and the visual mapping of the stories will act as a tool for cognitive synthesis that can also be used to identify any enablers and barriers participants should make note of when planning for their future state. Participants will also discuss systems change through the collective power of individual choices and exercising of personal agency, and the potential impact for future generations.

5. Susu Nousala, David Ing & Peter Jones (Tongji U., Aalto U, and OCAD University)
Design X: Sketching Some Future Paths for Design Professionals

Since 2014, an international collaborative of design leaders has been exploring ways in which methods can be augmented, transitioning from the legacy focus on products and services towards a broad range of complex sociotechnical systems and contemporary societal problems. At the September 2015 RSD4 Symposium, DesignX founder Don Norman presented a keynote talk on the frontiers of design practice and necessity for advanced design education for highly complex sociotechnical problems. He identified the qualities of these systems as relevant to DesignX problems, and called for systemics, transdisciplinarity and the need for high-quality observations (or evidence) in design problems. Initial directions were proposed in the first DesignX workshop in October 2015, which have been published in the new design journal She Ji. In October 2016, the second DesignX workshop is held at Tongji University
in Shanghai, overlapping with the timing of the RSD5 Symposium.

We propose to sustain the relationships between RSD and DesignX with this half-day workshop, proposed to explore the relationships between systemic design, the DesignX agenda and educational programs. We invite RSD participants engaged in both of these contexts to join in a collaborative discussion aimed at further developing the design and education agendas in these discourse communities. We aim to capture experiences and insights from design leaders, educators and practitioners in Toronto, as input, validation and/or suggestions for further development of the DesignX direction.

6. Goran Matic and Ana Matic, OCAD University
Participatory Stakeholder Engagement Approaches in Healthcare

When designing for systemic impacts in healthcare we face a number of challenges around understanding stakeholders – and especially when facilitating across diverse perspectives that need to be successfully ‘converged’ into effective engagement approaches.
This workshop explores a design language for creating stakeholder-engagement approaches in healthcare – that might be applied in a variety of contexts;
With emphasis on the following questions:

  • How might we structure our facilitation considerations, to: design effective stakeholder  engagements
  • How might we identify the key stakeholder dynamics, to: ‘converge’ stakeholder input and  identify core design tensions
  • How might we consider the relevant affective systems, to: identify systemic-impact boundaries relevant to stakeholders

We look forward to co-designing facilitative approaches for effective stakeholder engagements in healthcare. The proposed facilitative design language and the associated workshop are based on the work currently performed at two leading healthcare institutions in Canada.

7. Greg Judelman, The Moment
Innovation Project Challenge

Play this game to set up an innovation project and learn a front-end innovation framework. The Innovation Project Challenge is a game-like workshop experience that supports leaders, entrepreneurs and cross-functional teams to set up their complex innovation projects for success. Players learn a front-end innovation framework that integrates methods and principles from service design, design thinking, agile, lean startup, stage-gate, systems thinking and organizational change. Teams then apply the framework to create a project plan and discuss the organizational and team barriers that could get in the way. Players take away a booklet that summarizes the framework and captures their insights and innovation project plan.

8. Birger Sevaldson, Oslo School of Architecture and Design & Marie Davidova, Czech Technical University
Gigamapping Workshop

As in every RSD, Birger Sevaldson introduces Gigamapping methods in a hands-on workshop. This year with Marie Davidova, Birger and Marie teach the basics of Gigamapping to a level where you can start using this simple but rich technique on you own. The content of the workshop includes an introduction lecture and 3 types of maps:  Network mapping, Timeline mapping, and Zip analyses.

Mapping Case: To engage with a specific case domain, Marie Davidova incorporates ideas from Performance Oriented Design as an integrated architecture that reacts to its environment. In the time of extreme conditions of climatic change, we need to generate environment friendly as well as habitable environments that can gain from previous generations developed in oriental cultures. A driver for performance might be the resettlement of climate and other refugees. By now, Canada has accepted 24 640 Syrian refugees. Canada has very diverse climate with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C between the coasts in summer, while winters, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces with continental climate, can drop below -40 °C. Climatic changes are already evident in Canada and drought; reduced quality of surface waters; a higher incidence of vector-borne diseases; more frequent heat waves resulting in reduced air quality and high human discomfort in urban centres; and an increase in storm surge flooding in coastal regions are anticipated (Richardson, 2010). Are there options to deal with such conditions in built environment?

9. Zachary Kaiser, Stephanie White, Kurt Richter, Michigan State University
Designing Resilient Urban Food Systems

In this highly participatory, interactive dialogue session, we invite attendees to explore emergent urban food exchange and provisioning systems as they occur in much of the global south. From the outside looking in, and to the casual observer, these food exchange systems often look chaotic, opportunistic, and inefficient. However, the qualities and relationships that comprise emergent and decentralized food systems might be used to retool western food systems to be more sustainable and inclusive.

The purpose of our proposed dialogue is three-fold:
To use resilience theory to frame emergent urban food exchange systems, and discuss how doing so potentially leads to new courses of action with respect to developing policy and practice.
To examine findings from two summers of action research in four markets in Lilongwe, Malawi.
To elicit feedback and input from dialogue attendees on possible courses of research on emergent urban food systems.

Using data gathered during two years of intensive two-week studies by students from MSU and Lilongwe University, this dialogue will leverage the various backgrounds and expertise of participants to identify new opportunities for research and intervention for this research program. Instead of privileging their roles as ‘experts’ in the conversation, the facilitators will foster a lively and participatory dialogue that values the various backgrounds and diverse expertise of all the attendees.

The dialogue will address various topics, including, but not limited to:

  • So-called ‘developing’ nations and inclusive, diverse visions of ‘development’
  • How design and policy interventions can shape future visions of what ‘development’ looks like that are not specifically western, and the assumptions underlying ‘modernization’
  • The complex relationships between policy, action, and stakeholders who are in the thick of it, trying to feed a hungry populous, and who look to western agricultural technologies and models of development (e.g., monocropping and centralization of wealth and food resources)
  • Critical pedagogy, appropriate technology, and human-scale design
  • Food security and Food safety
  • Cultural/regional specificity in design of food systems innovations

10. Josina Vink, Tai Huynh, Meagan Durlak, & Leslie Ruckman
Designing the Invisible – A Practitioner Dialogue

In this session, we will explore what it means to transform social systems (and ourselves) from the inside out. Through deep reflection and dialogue, we will investigate how design practitioners can re-shape invisible social forces (like norms, roles and beliefs) to realize fundamental change in systems.

Are you interested in designing for transformation? Do you want to move beyond tweaking existing products, services or experiences, to design radical, long-term changes to organizations, communities and ourselves? Designing the Invisible is a half-day dialogue for practitioners interested in designing for fundamental change within social systems to enable equitable and sustainable futures. The discussion will focus on how deeply held social structures (like collective norms, roles, values & beliefs) can be shaped through design practice, but also how they influence us as we design.

To begin the session there will be a short provocation on how we might think about the invisible social structures that guide our actions and their importance when designing for preferred futures in complex social systems. To make these discussions tangible, three practitioners will share short stories about how they have been grappling with changing the “rules of the game” in different spaces. Then we will have a short period of personal reflection using design diaries. This process of individual reflection will build into a large group dialogue about the potential and challenges of designing invisible social structures to realize transformation. The session will end with the collective development of guiding principles for engaging in this deep design work.

Key questions that will guide the dialogue include:

  • What are social structures and why do they matter when designing for transformation?
  • How do you influence social structures through design and how do they influence you?
  • What are the challenges of shaping social structures through design?
  • What are some strategies that could help us in this dynamic relationship with social structures when designing for transformation?

While the dialogue is open-ended, the goal of the session is to increase our collective literacy around the role of social structures in complex social systems and begin to equip ourselves with better strategies for shaping these invisible rules to aid in realizing preferred futures.

11. Kristel Van Ael, Philippe Vandenbroeck, Peters, & Gentile    Namahn and shiftN
Towards a Systemic Design Toolkit: A Practical Workshop

Namahn (BE), a human-centred design agency, and shiftN (BE), a futures and systems thinking studio from Brussels, are developing a Systemic Design Toolkit combining the methodologies of both practices. The toolkit is currently piloted with the EU Policy Lab of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. The toolkit is structured as a suite of discrete thinking-and-doing instruments, to be applied selectively, sequentially and iteratively. The purpose of this toolkit is to enable co-analyses of complex challenges and co-creation of systemic solutions mode with users and other stakeholders through:

  • Externalising the thinking process
  • Bringing together tools that embody systems thinking and design thinking principles in an overall framework
  • Transcending paradigms through co-creation

While the conference paper explores the theoretical underpinning and issues with a “toolkit” approach towards systemic design, this workshop aims to exchange insights between participants and facilitators in a hands-on, case-based format. We aim for a lively discussion.

12. Stephen Sillett, Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID)
Conceptual Action Sociometry for Spatial Meaning-Making around Soft Systems

ADCID follows a capacity-focussed approach in all it’s community projects, with strong ethical framing around building long-term projects which build local facilitation capacity within both community members and partner organisations. This work involves engaging complexity and uncertainty in soft systems. This requires reflective practices to make sense of our relationship to the system and inform adaptive decision making in: strategy development, implementation, monitoring, and developmental evaluation.

In the context of the RSD5 workshop, participants will probe a soft-system of their choosing, and reflect on the relationships they encounter. They reflect on personal/emotional responses provoked by doing so. What kinds of soft system relationships and dynamics are observed? In the situations being explored; what are the dynamics from different perceptual positions? How are possible structural roles, and norms in the soft system, interpreted by different actors? Does this challenge the way knowledge is constructed, negotiated, and decision making influenced?

The central method being facilitated in the workshop has been named by Stephen Sillett as “Conceptual Action Sociometry”. He first publicly facilitated the approach in 2009 at the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, University of Nebraska, Omaha. Since then, this method has been facilitated with local communities, teachers, and staff in organisations.  Participants orient themselves in the room by reflecting upon real situations (or constructed scenarios) that relate to a scope and theme being explored. It is a powerful process, that has many deeper levels.

The structured core of Conceptual Action Sociometry method relates 3 interlocking dimensions, whose coordinates are assigned to 3 locations in a room – participants position themselves in relation to these locations, and then orientate themselves to provoke tension. The process is facilitated in an emergent way, working with feedback from participants and integrating arts-based processes. The meaning-making unfolds in such a way, that participants’ Somatic Intelligence guides their engagement with the space. As the session progresses the participants meaning making becomes coupled with the space, which becomes increasingly psycho-active for the participants.

13. Russell Gundry, UK NHS, Philip & Finch
Self-managing the System of Healthcare

The workshop topic sits within the realm of systemic design in healthcare services: exploring an occluded area of opportunity to build resilience and balance demand. The issue of ‘self-management’ is a key factor in preventing ill health and avoiding complications, and as such is a priority focus for health services globally. A related session will be run at the UK National Health Service Expo University in September, and the outputs of these sessions will feed into a wider research agenda.

This workshop seeks to investigate the interrelational dynamics between and among systems relating to healthcare and self-management, suggesting that an opportunity area for addressing the problem of avoidable Long Term Conditions (LTCs) exists in the collective responsibility between healthcare services, people, patients and communities. It hypothesises that exploring the way in which people engage with healthcare may yield insight into transformational outcomes, made possible through deep learning.

The workshop will follow an outline format of:

  • A brief provocation, outlining a different way of thinking about self-management.
  • Several rounds of ‘work’ through which participants, working in small groups of 3-4 share their thoughts, ideas and responses to a focused question
  • The opportunity for emergent views emerging through open space facilitation
  • Synthesis conversations to draw out some of the key insights generated by the workshop

14. Hayley Lapalme, Cheryl Hsu, Beth Hunter & Jennifer Reynolds  (Nourish)
Designing for an Abundance Mindset in Healthcare Food Service

How can we harness the potential of healthcare food in patient UX, organizational culture, and community wellness? What are the narratives to challenge and shift to support the emergence of a more proactive, preventative culture that reconnects food and health?

This is a special “working workshop” being held with stakeholders in healthcare food service over the day at the Centre for Social Innovation. RSD participants registering for the workshop will have the opportunity to engage in generative ideation and process design with a real working group.