Systemic Design Principles in Social Innovation: A Study of Expert Practices and Design Rationales

Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Bridget Malcolm
2020 She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation  
In recent decades, design has expanded from a practice aimed at designing things to one that helps to address complex societal challenges. In this context, a field of practice called systemic design has emerged, which combines elements of systems thinking with elements of design. We use a case study approach to investigate how expert practitioners carry out systemic design work in the context of public and social innovation, and explore what we can learn from their practices and design
more » ... s when we compare them to systems thinking theories and approaches. Based on findings from five case studies, we present five systemic design principles: 1) opening up and acknowledging the interrelatedness of problems; 2) developing empathy with the system; 3) strengthening human relationships to enable creativity and learning; 4) influencing mental models to enable change; and 5) adopting an evolutionary design approach to desired systemic change. One way that scholars can contribute to this field is by continuing to monitor and describe emerging systemic design principles developed and performed at the forefront of the field, strengthening these learnings by building on the body of knowledge about systems thinking and design.
doi:10.1016/j.sheji.2020.06.001 fatcat:jjba6nvu3zdydk5rxs5mktmwym