RSD4 2015

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD4) 2015 Symposium 

Editors: Dr. Alex Ryan and Peter Jones

Citation: Author. (2015). Article title. In Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD4) 2015 Symposium. Banff, Canada, September 1-3, 2015.

Published by: Systemic Design Research Network

ISBN: 978-0-9950245-0-2

With the fourth RSD symposium at Banff, Canada the conference turned a corner, moving from Oslo to North America and enlarging the scope of papers and talks from previous years. 40 authors across a range of related fields of design and systemics.

The proceedings are published and available online as open access documents. All copyrights belong to the authors.

RSD4 Editorial Board: Jodi Forlizzi, Peter Jones, Harold Nelson,  Alex Ryan, Birger Sevaldson


Keynote Speakers

Five keynote speakers presented a range of compelling intellectual engagements, from Don Norman’s provocations to develop a design practice capable of dealing with significant complexity, to Lia Patricio’s resonant case study and model of integration in the Portuguese health records system, to AP-J’s cutting-edge architectural models. Ursula Tischner and and Mugendi M’Riitha shared leading sustainability approaches.  The Keynote page provides videos and sketchnotes of the talks.

  • Lia Patricio – A Framework for Co-creating Service Platforms 

Published Articles

All articles and abstracts are copyright (c) 2015 by the respective authors, unless stated otherwise.


  • Ben Sweeting. The Implicit Ethics of Designing.
  • Joshua Bloom. A History of Design’s Sense of Complexity.
  • Nelson, Ryan, Sevaldson & Jones. Formulating the Oslo Questions.
  • Patrick Suen.  Conditions that Foster an Ability to Reframe Problems.
  • Diego Gomez Venegas. Designing technological apparatuses for confrontation.


  • Perin Ruttonsha. Scaling In: Towards a Paradigm of Abundance within Limits.
  • Chih-Chun Chen and Nathan Crilly. Systems design combining rational design and evolution.
  • Eloise Taysom and Nathan Crilly. Perspectives on the Design of Resilient Systems.
  • John & Jenny Darzentas. Systems Thinking for Design Thinking.
  • Marah Moore, Claire Nicklin & Keith Miller. Evaluation at the frontiers of systemic design.

Capacity Building

  • Yunsun Chung-Shin. Working with the Youth Community in Dubai to bridge Passion and Innovation Methods.
  • Manuela Aguirre and Sarah Schulman. Seeding and spreading capacity for systems design across social service organisations.
  • Shauna MacEachern, Marie-Lou Meawasige, Erica Sawula, & Dorina Simeonov. Moving towards Systems and Design Thinking through Implementation Science.
  • Frederick Steier and Travis Thompson. Systemic Design of an Idea Zone at a Science Center.
  • Eric Benson and Yvette Perullo. More than the sum of its parts: Systems thinking in design education.

Public Value

  • Jehn, Spina, Lowe & Turner. Reforming the Family Justice System Initiative.
  • Michelle Jehn and Shauna Rae. Ski2LRT uses Systemic Design to Transform Winter Community in Edmonton.
  • Hayley Lapalme. Public Sector Purchasers as Curators and Value Creators in the Food System.
  • Alex Ryan & Keren Perla. The Alberta CoLab Experience: Embedding Systemic Design in Government.
  • Ishani Ghosh & Praveen Nahar. Scaling-up Nutrition: Bridging the Great Indian Hunger Divide.
  • Brian Woodward & Arden Brummel. Environmental Policy Development and Decision-Making.
  • Gena Rotstein. A Case Study on Systems Change in the Charitable Sector.

Sustainability and Health

  • John Cassel. Permaculture as a Systemic Design Practice.
  • Silvia Barbero. Systemic Design for Food Sustainability.
  • Peter Jones. Designing Flourishing Societies as a Practice of Cultural Futures.
  • Kristin Støren Wigum. Value Platforms as Compass in System Oriented Design for Sustainability.
  • Evan Barba and Audrey Stewart. Co-design for Second-Order Effects and Institutional Change.
  • Enninga, Verhoeven, Van der Lugt & Brinksma. Designing Interventions in a Complex Health Care Setting.
  • Elizabeth LeBlanc. On the Same Page, Giving Form to Complexity.

Practice and Applications

  • Birger Sevaldson. Gigamaps: Their Role as Bridging Artefacts.
  • Jonathan Romm, Larssen & Adrian Paulsen. Professional application of Systems Oriented Design.
  • Narayana Mandaleeka. Multi-Modeling: A Systemic approach to business solution design.
  • Michel de Blois and James Eaves. Emergence of a convergence: Systemic synergies between entrepreneurship and design processes.


1. Creating Spaces for Rich Dialogues and Systemic Reflections
Jonathan Romm, Astrid Twenebowa Larssen, Adrian Paulsen

2. Reshaping the Exceptional Economy of the Design Industry through Systems Thinking: The Design Laboratory Case Study
Hannah Park

3. “It’s Not All Pointless”- Exploring Design Methods to Impact Change in Alberta Human Services 
Ben Weinlick, Brooks Hanewich

4. Designing Empathy: Systemic Design and the Art of ‘Homo Empaticus’
Keren Perla, Jonathan Veale

6. Playing in a Field of Possibility: Groups, Games, and Designing in Complex Systems
Deirdre Duffy

7. Systemic Design as Ecologizing: Design Leadership in the Anthropocene
Peter Jones

8. (Intentionally Left Blank)
An emergent created with and responsive to the inquiries and interests of participants.
Marci Segal


Editorial Process

The Systemic Design Research Network (SDRN) continues to maintain the planning team of the RSD symposia established  organized as a collaborative research group shared between AHO and OCAD University and independent researchers.  SDRN (Peter Jones) has also continued to develop the Systemic Design track and interest group at the annual ISSS conference, held in Berlin 2015.

Proceedings are the result of a dialogue and discursive process within the community of practice, and while it follows peer review within an extended reviewer panel, it differs from the traditional scientific publication process. The process contains five steps, creating long term engagement, low entry threshold, and a high level of final output:

1) the submission and peer reviewing of abstracts,
2) the presentations and dialogues at the RSD symposium,
3) the post-production and submission of a working papers,
4) the publication of the symposium proceedings with SDRN as publisher
5) the publication of selected fully developed and peer reviewed scientific papers in an external publishing channel.
This process was tested with RSD2 and has been used consistently in RSD and for two special issues of the design research journal FORMakademisk.  Future symposia will follow the same process. We expect to continue with fully-developed and peer-reviewed selected publications in an annual special issue of FORMakademisk.

In addition to the original abstracts the RSD4 proceedings provide working papers, final presentations and live sketchnotes. Working papers were developed and submitted after the symposium by most authors, following the evolutionary mode of RSD publication. Special thanks again to Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink and Linda Blaasvaer of AHO for the sketchnotes.