Birger Sevaldson. Holistic and dynamic concepts in design
How may the inherent abilities of the designer contribute to the development of systemic design?
This presentation will be a rhetoric monologue that will discuss some of the ideas and approaches known in design over a long period of time. It will discuss these in relation to the emerging concept of systemic design. Earlier attempts to integrate systems thinking in design have largely failed. Explanations for this failure have been arguments about systems approaches being alien to designerly ways, or the systems approaches have been too inflexible and dogmatic and the seamless integration into designing has failed. But there might be other additional reasons that so far have been largely overlooked. I will argue that design over time has developed a series of concepts in dealing with complex issues and to generate holistic resolutions. Some of these ideas and concepts are so basic and embedded in the designerly DNA that this might explain why they have not been looked at closer in this discussion. Systemic approaches have faced a resistance when entering the fields of design not only because they misfit but also because they had to compete with already embedded and integrated approaches and concepts. The radical potential of systemic design is that it might create new ways of relating design and systems thinking and hence also these inherent designerly concepts. Understanding the inherent ideas and concepts in regard to systemic design will shed more light on the problems systems thinking has faced regarding the design field. I propose that these designerly concepts to deal with complexity and create holistic solutions are the core of what design brings to systems thinking.
One of the central features of the designer is the ability to create harmonic wholes. Confronted with many demands, briefs, complexities the designer aims at generating one holistic response that solves some or many of the contradictory inputs in the shape of a more or less esthetically beautiful and elegant form.
In resent debates in design research this ability to design has been regarded as less important compared to the effort to move design closer to scientific research. If this shift comes at the cost of the mentioned central ability it will be catastrophic on several levels. First this designerly ability is truly the hallmark of design work and it is a genuinely specific activity that is particular to designers. We might find seemingly similar activities in other neighbouring fields like art and engineering, but none of them have the complete and versatile version as found in design. There is a danger that abandoning this root competence will destroy design. The core competence of composing holistic solutions will erode and we will see lesser solutions. Even as we speak discussing beauty, elegance and aesthetics in the context of systems thinking seems problematic.
Cathrine Einarsson. Designing for acute psychiatric care in a learning process of systems oriented design
How does learning a systems oriented design approach together, affect and impact the co-design process and outcome between designer, and health professionals at an acute psychiatric ward? A ward team is consisting of psychiatrists, psychologist, special nurses, nurses, unit manager, lead special nurse, social worker, all working closely with inpatients at the ward in an intertwined, multi-disciplinary team. Not only focusing on treatment at the ward, but also building strong relationships to the patients “outerworld”. The team is very passionate, willing and open to change (J. Schaeper) as well as comfortable with open-ended processes. But at the same time they are restricted by the old ways of doing in healthcare practice (Jones 2013). Their role in the process has been to facilitate and contribute with resources, open up the ward for the designers to research and observe, participate in co-research and co-design workshops, facilitate meetings with users and the designers to learn about the ward, and participate making design interventions at the ward.
The result of this process will yield interesting view points on how the different parties approached and shaped the systems oriented service design process towards the final result of the project. What were the perceived relevance and value from both perspectives, and when did it occur? Doing this will provide a rare insight into where the real impact happened in the project and also what else the process triggered apart from the concrete design solution in the end.
Presentation with notes
Linda Natalia Tunheim. Designing for Health at Sea
In this project I look at how to offer better health care services for seafarers onboard ships. Health care on land has gone through tremendous changes the last century. With all the modern technologies that has been developed, which also keep evolving and improving, medical practitioner´s possibilities to treat patients have greatly improved. We can now be operated on by a world known surgeon located in the US while being hospitalized in Norway. Or have an appointment with our general practitioner to discuss health issues from our home. Still for people working at sea, very little has changed. In this project I look at, and investigate all the different interconnected systems surrounding healthcare at sea to identify design opportunities that will help it reach the same level of preparedness as on land.
The project is developed using system oriented design thinking, great user insight and service design methodology. In order to get a holistic view of the medical contingency at sea I used Giga mapping as the main tool. A system perspective has been essential to identify where to intervene (D. Meadows) in the large system that surrounds Healthcare at sea.
Benedicte Wildhagen. Strategy is the solution – but what is the problem?
I will address the relevance of Systems Oriented Design (SOD) in the development of good strategy – and how it can contribute to make sense of a bad strategy. I will showcase how SOD shifts the conversation towards exploration of complexity, diagnosis and the design of actions for strategic impact. My views are based on the accumulated work experience within the Norwegian Centre for Design & Architecture (previously Norwegian Design Council & Norsk Form) and my observations as a sensor for the SOD Master-courses at AHO, which I’ve been following since 2010.
Sevaldson (2013) describes SOD as un-dogmatic and design oriented in its approach to systems. The SOD designer is initially less concerned about hierarchies and boundaries of systems and more interested in looking at vast fields of relations and patterns of interactions. The SOD designer is looking beyond the object (product or service) and perceives the object merely as a “symptom” or “outcropping” of vast systems that lay behind the object. When dealing with very complex issues, SOD regards designing the design process for each individual project, as the central strategy. When we begin scoping complex design processes we promote problem-orientation. The absence of a good strategy quite often becomes apparent and an initial challenge. We need to address this and support the decision makers to diagnose what the problem is, not focus on what the solution might be.
A SOD core team can be brought into the organization, and through team work with key stakeholders be able to explore complexity. The team make a (1) diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of one or more existing, or unprecedented, challenges, they make (2) recommendations on how to deal with the challenges and (3) actions designed to carry them out. Visualization and Giga-mapping are essential tools to enable shared understanding and drive the process forward – from diagnosing to suggested actions.
Jonathan Romm and Adrian Paulsen. Professional application of Systems Oriented Design: Developments in practice
Halogen is one of the leading digital design consultancies in Norway, with expertise in design of critical systems and applications, websites, intranets, products and processes. One common denominator in all of Halogen’s services and projects is a human-centered design approach aiming for holistic user experiences. The company has through recent years gone from being experts in digital user experience to become a strategic design expertise with focus on service design, design of critical systems, innovation and work processes. This means that projects are much more complex on many levels such as operation, process and deliveries.
Halogen has established a partnership with The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) by applying the proven methods and techniques of Systems Oriented Design into a practical and commercial context. Through the last couple of years Halogen has carried out more than 20 design projects using System Oriented Design as a central approach.
Our experience with applying Systems Oriented Design in a commercial context has led us to develop new techniques and expand the usage of the method. This includes:
1. The use of predesigned GIGA-map layouts.
2. The development of four main GIGA-map typologies.
3. Commercial usage of the concept of establishing ceative spaces both at company office and mirrored to our clients.
4. Developing techniques for selling Systems Oriented Design.
Systems Oriented Design has proven to be a cost effective and practical tool for dealing with development in complex settings. It provides and delivers an organisational strategic alignment. At the same time it creates a basis for the development of products and services that connects and fits into larger contexts.
Manuela Aguirre and Adrian Paulsen. Using material properties to understand and shape relationships in public and social services.
Public and social services are becoming more relational and less transactional (Muir & Parker, 2014). As we evaluate different public services on a complexity spectrum, those who rely on human and interpersonal skills – like healthcare, education, ageing, and immigration – depend on the relational capacity of service providers and the relational support from family and peers. When attempting to deconstruct social systems in its basic elements, we have nodes and relations between the nodes. Specifically in social systems, nodes represent actors or institutions where these become more evident than the connections between them. This also characterizes how the complexity of systems has been historically mapped in two dimensions. The representation of hard systems, like in systems dynamics (Jay Wright Forrester, 1989) and in soft systems, like rich pictures (Checkland, 2000a), has given more attention to the nodes than the relationships between the nodes. Giga Mapping (Sevaldson, 2011) draws attention to this and created a color-coded topology to classify systemic relations (Sevaldson, 2013). Inspired on this topology, we design a three dimensional tool that uses physical material properties – like yarn, stainless steel, and rubber elastics – to understand and shape relational public and social services. We used this tool at a workshop at RSD3, where we explored the relational properties of different materials, we compared relational mapping in two and three dimensions and experimented with the format of group facilitation. The output was a relational-material vocabulary for each of the three-public and social service challenges presented. The relational-material vocabulary allowed teams to granularly define the properties of the relationships between the actors in a socially complex public service setting.