RSD7 Books & Beers

Proceedings of RSD7, Relating Systems Thinking and Design 7
Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy  23th-26th October 2018

During the 7th edition of RSD we experienced some moments of relaxed “learning-and-doing time”. At the end of each day, three decompressing “Books and Beers” events were hosted in the close venue of Eataly. On that occasion, 5 recently published books were introduced to the audience and discussed in a more informal environment.

Books presented at RSD7:

Silvia Barbero
Systemic Design Method Guide for policy making, a Circular Europe on the way
published by Allemandi

Franco Fassio, Nadia Tecco
Circular economy for food. Materia, energia e conoscenza, in circolo
published by Edizioni Ambiente

Peter Jones, Kyoichi Kijima
Systemic Design: Theory, Methods, and Practice
published by Springer

Pier Paolo Peruccio
Olivetti Makes: Design. Industry. Society.
(Forthcoming)

Carlo Vezzoli, Fabrizio Ceschin, Lilac Osanjo, Mugendi K. M’rithaa, Richie Moalosi
Designing Sustainable Energy for All: Sustainable Product-service System Design Applied to Distributed Renewable Energy
published by Springer


Systemic Design Method Guide for policy making, a Circular Europe on the way

Silvia Barbero

published by Allemandi

This volume aims at clarifying the role of Circular Economy according to a sustainable development and how policymakers can target it effectively in their activities. The main question is: which methodology can policy managers use in order to define a clear path towards a circular economy in their regions? Indeed, this path means shifting from a linear and mechanistic approach to a holistic and integrated one, where the number of variables and relations generates a complex environment. So, the policies should manage and solve complex problems with new structured innovation approaches compared to the past. Specifically, the Systemic Design method provides specific tools in order to manage complex situations, to design new relations among the entities of a territory, to visualize the hidden potentialities and to boost proactive collaboration among local actors. This book is a guide to Systemic Design as a key methodology to establish sustainable regional action plans towards a Circular Economy. As the result of an intense dialogue between people who present different perspectives and seek for a common language in the current complexity of policy-making and designing, this is the first of a three-book series published across a four-year period (2016–2020) as part of the RETRACE Project funded by the Interreg Europe Programme.

COVER: systemic design method guide for policymaking

Circular economy for food. Materia, energia e conoscenza, in circolo

Franco Fassio, Nadia Tecco

published by Edizioni Ambiente

The ways we have produced and consumed food over the past fifty years have had devastating impacts on ecosystems and human societies. The agro-industrial sector has contributed to exceeding 4 of the 9 thresholds that determine global limits – climate change, loss of biodiversity, changes in the nitrogen and phosphorus cycle, changes in land use. The consumption of unhealthy food is causing serious health problems, and while almost a billion people have no food, we throw away enough food to feed them without problems. It is clear that the current system, based on a rigidly linear logic, does not work, and that the transition to a circular economy would bring enormous benefits to the environment and consumers. A logic that can be partly traced back to the knowledge and traditions of rural civilization, where everything was reused, and that could promote awareness of the dynamics and cultural relationships underlying the act of eating, encouraging the food system to find a new balance. Circular Economy for Food takes stock of the current transformation, and in addition to the contributions of some of the most prestigious Italian experts, presents forty case studies dedicated to companies in the food sector that have focused on circularity to pave the way for innovations that can reduce waste and improve the eco-efficiency and efficiency of products, services and processes in the food system.


Systemic Design: Theory, Methods, and Practice

Peter Jones, Kyoichi Kijima

published by Springer

This book presents emerging work in the co-evolving fields of design-led systemics, referred to as systemic design to distinguish it from the engineering and hard science epistemologies of system design or systems engineering. There are significant societal forces and organizational demands impelling the requirement for “better means of change” through integrated design practices of systems and services. Here we call on advanced design to lead programs of strategic scale and higher complexity (e.g., social policy, healthcare, education, urbanization) while adapting systems thinking methods, creatively pushing the boundaries beyond the popular modes of systems dynamics and soft systems. Systemic design is distinguished by its scale, social complexity and integration – it is concerned with higher-order systems that that entail multiple subsystems. By integrating systems thinking and its methods, systemic design brings human-centred design to complex, multi-stakeholder service systems. As designers engage with ever more complex problem areas, it is necessary to draw on a basis other than individual creativity and contemporary “design thinking” methods. Systems theories can co-evolve with a new school of design theory to resolve informed action on today’s highly resilient complex problems and can deal effectively with demanding, contested and high-stakes challenges.


Olivetti Makes: Design. Industry. Society.

Pier Paolo Peruccio

(Forthcoming)

Olivetti Makes describes the results of an industrial expansion project in Latin America launched by Olivetti starting in the 1920s, upon establishment of one of the first foreign Olivetti sales branches in Argentina.
The book looks back at an insufficiently investigated chapter in the history of Olivetti, founded more than 110 years ago in Ivrea (Italy), an industrial city that was recently inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Olivetti Makes illustrates the concrete dimension of the cultural and industrial policy adopted by Olivetti in Mexico starting in 1949, when the first embryo of a company selling Olivetti products was born.
At first a simple outpost for selling of incredible writing and calculation machines imported from Italy, it was renovated and expanded little by little to become – in the 1960s – a manufacturing workshop and later a full-fledged facility for the production and sale of Made in Mexico devices. The flagship product for Olivetti in Mexico would become the portable typewriter, which would manage to penetrate the school market in particular, implying a positive outcome not only in terms of sale, but also in terms of familiarity with a high-tech product at the time.
The title references the action of “doing” and “producing”, but also the ability to pragmatically “communicate” the aesthetic and technological qualities of products through graphic design and other visual artifacts, as exhibited at the Olivetti retail outlets – above all the showroom on Paseo de la Reforma.
In Mexico the company also designed the workplace and workshop itself by attempting to replicate positive models of factory-society relationship, strong of the experience gained in Italy. Some of the projects and goals would only remain on paper (e.g. the factory model designed by architect Ricardo Legorreta), also due to a political and economic context where it was not easy to implement the full-on “olivettian” business model and an epochal technology shift – the passage from mechanical to electronic machinery – that revolutionized the global typewriter and calculating machine industry, with tangible consequences both in the development of new products and in the reorganization of industrial processes.
The Olivetti Makes book intertwines numerous histories related to industrial products – economic, social, political, industrial, and cultural history – by analysing a period in the history of Mexico spanning from the 1950s to the 1980s.
A chapter is dedicated to the role played by Olivetti in the design and supply of management tools for the 1968 XIX Olympic Games press service network. The Ivrea-based company was put in charge of the entire media system for the event: design – in the slightest detail – of furnishings and equipment for the 20 press centres, and the supply of typewriters with keyboards catering for over 30 alphabets. The task also included hiring specialists, interpreters, and other staff for the design of a large number of graphic products and merchandise, with the reporter’s kit boasting a white shoulder bag heading the line.
Finally, Olivetti Makes offers an unprecedented outlook on environmental sustainability. It outlines the role played by Aurelio Peccei – founder of the Club of Rome in 1968 and CEO of Olivetti from 1964 to 1967 – in launching an international debate on the future of planet Earth. Those were the years of pioneering personal computer projects, of the publication of essays concerning so-called “future studies”, and the publication of the book The Limits to Growth (1972). They are extremely important and current topics, which also cropped up in the “olivettian” cultural context.


Designing Sustainable Energy for All: Sustainable Product-service System Design Applied to Distributed Renewable Energy

Carlo Vezzoli, Fabrizio Ceschin, Lilac Osanjo, Mugendi K. M’rithaa, Richie Moalosi

published by Springer

Access to energy is one of the greatest challenges for many people living in low-income and developing contexts, as around 1.4 billion people lack access to electricity.
Distributed Renewable Energy systems (DRE) are considered a promising approach to address this challenge and provide energy access to all. However, even if promising, the implementation of DRE systems is not always straightforward.
The book analyses, discusses and classifies the promising Sustainable Product-Service System (S.PSS) business models to deliver Distributed Renewable Energy systems in an effective, efficient and sustainable way. Its message is supported with cases studies and examples, discussing the economic, environmental and socioethical benefits as well as its limitations and barriers to its implementation. An innovative design approach is proposed and a set of design tools are supplied, enabling readers to create and develop Sustainable Product-Service System (S.PSS) solutions to deliver Distributed Renewable Energy systems.
Practical applications of the book is design approach and tools by companies and practitioners are discussed and the book will be of interest to readers in design, industry, govermanetal institution, NGOs as well as researchers.