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Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08)

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage.

Many approaches to systemic design presume a top-down, abstract predisposition of a world that might be.  The Creative Systemic approach emphasizes learning within communities towards the development of resilience.  Scholarly communities are nurtured at a local level, distributed across multiple peri-urban regional geographies.  The work of mapping and investigating emerging economies is informed by activities that include creative expression in social complexity that produces communal well-being.

  • Susu Nousala is a professor with the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai (People’s Republic of China).  She has previously had research positions at Aalto University (Finland), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Chiang Mai University (Thailand).
  • Jelena Sucic is a researcher in systemic design and sustainable processes based in Switzerland.  She previously led as the field specialist and project manager in the nascent research group, as she completed a double degree in the PoliTong project, completing a Master of Fine Arts in Product Service Service Design at Tongi University, simultaneously with a Master of Science in Systemic Design at Politecnico di Torino.

For brevity, the usual circle of introduction was requested written in chat, rather as verbal self-introductions.  This meant that our featured speakers start just a few minutes into the web video . … Read more (in a new tab)

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage.

Many approaches to systemic design presume a top-down, abstract predisposition of a world that might be.  The Creative Systemic approach emphasizes learning within communities towards the development of resilience.  Scholarly communities are nurtured at a local level, distributed across multiple peri-urban regional geographies.  The work of mapping and investigating emerging economies is informed by activities that include creative expression in social complexity that produces communal well-being.

  • Susu Nousala is a professor with the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai (People’s Republic of China).  She has previously had research positions at Aalto University (Finland), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Chiang Mai University (Thailand).
  • Jelena Sucic is a researcher in systemic design and sustainable processes based in Switzerland.  She previously led as the field specialist and project manager in the nascent research group, as she completed a double degree in the PoliTong project, completing a Master of Fine Arts in Product Service Service Design at Tongi University, simultaneously with a Master of Science in Systemic Design at Politecnico di Torino.

For brevity, the usual circle of introduction was requested written in chat, rather as verbal self-introductions.  This meant that our featured speakers start just a few minutes into the web video . … Read more (in a new tab)

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change, Peter H Jones + Ryan J A Murphy (ST-ON 2020/11/19)

While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there?

The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they had given over a few days for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

The talks covered some early research and conversation on deepening the understanding of “theories of change”.  After our usual round of self-introductions by meeting attendees, the core content starts in the web video recording after 12m45s.

The video file is also viewable and downloadable at the Internet Archive,

Video H.264 MP4
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.m4v]
(FHD 203kbps 276MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio was extracted from the video, and transcoded to MP3.

Audio
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.mp3]
(40MB) [on archive.org]

Here is the original abstract from the Systems Thinking Ontario November 9, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change

Peter Jones presents a customized talk from the RSD9 plenary session for ST ON. Ryan Murphy joins with a full presentation of his RSD9 talk.

We often use the model of “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals. Essentially these are the working theories by which we explain the logic of system change outcomes, and we often include quasi-systemic logic models to communicate them.… Read more (in a new tab)

While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there?

The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they had given over a few days for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

The talks covered some early research and conversation on deepening the understanding of “theories of change”.  After our usual round of self-introductions by meeting attendees, the core content starts in the web video recording after 12m45s.

The video file is also viewable and downloadable at the Internet Archive,

Video H.264 MP4
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.m4v]
(FHD 203kbps 276MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio was extracted from the video, and transcoded to MP3.

Audio
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.mp3]
(40MB) [on archive.org]

Here is the original abstract from the Systems Thinking Ontario November 9, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change

Peter Jones presents a customized talk from the RSD9 plenary session for ST ON. Ryan Murphy joins with a full presentation of his RSD9 talk.

We often use the model of “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals. Essentially these are the working theories by which we explain the logic of system change outcomes, and we often include quasi-systemic logic models to communicate them.… Read more (in a new tab)

Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack, Zaid Khan + David Akermanis (ST-ON 2020/09/14)

Two Major Research Projects (MRPs) — they might be called master’s theses elsewhere — by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis reflect the Systemic Design agenda within the OCADU program on Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI).    To graduate, all SFI students complete an MRP.  With many subjects and techniques covered during SFI studies, only a few exercise Systemic Design at their core.

The September session of Systems Thinking Ontario came shortly after the defence of the two MRPs in August.  As we had suspended convening in person during 2020, our monthly meeting was conducted online.  This afforded recordings to be shared more widely.

The video file is also available on the Internet Archive, for those who prefer a downloadable option.

Video H.264 MP4
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp4]
(FHD 785kbps 293MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio originally in M4A format has also been transcoded to MP3.

Audio
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.m4a]
(43MB)
20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp3]
(38MB)

Here is the original description for the Systems Thinking Ontario September 14, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack

A Major Research Project at OCADU is roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree thesis (with some administrative differences). To start off the new academic year, we will have fresh presentations following the successful defences in the Strategic Foresight & Innovation Program at OCADU over the last month, by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis.

(1) A Systems-Oriented Approach to Strategic Communications — Zaid Khan

Systemic Design has emerged as both a theory and a practice that integrates design thinking and systems thinking to help designers cope with complex social systems.… Read more (in a new tab)

Two Major Research Projects (MRPs) — they might be called master’s theses elsewhere — by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis reflect the Systemic Design agenda within the OCADU program on Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI).    To graduate, all SFI students complete an MRP.  With many subjects and techniques covered during SFI studies, only a few exercise Systemic Design at their core.

The September session of Systems Thinking Ontario came shortly after the defence of the two MRPs in August.  As we had suspended convening in person during 2020, our monthly meeting was conducted online.  This afforded recordings to be shared more widely.

The video file is also available on the Internet Archive, for those who prefer a downloadable option.

Video H.264 MP4
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp4]
(FHD 785kbps 293MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio originally in M4A format has also been transcoded to MP3.

Audio
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.m4a]
(43MB)
20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp3]
(38MB)

Here is the original description for the Systems Thinking Ontario September 14, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack

A Major Research Project at OCADU is roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree thesis (with some administrative differences). To start off the new academic year, we will have fresh presentations following the successful defences in the Strategic Foresight & Innovation Program at OCADU over the last month, by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis.

(1) A Systems-Oriented Approach to Strategic Communications — Zaid Khan

Systemic Design has emerged as both a theory and a practice that integrates design thinking and systems thinking to help designers cope with complex social systems.… Read more (in a new tab)

Systemic design agendas in education and design research

Research can take some time to wend through reflection, reviews and revisions.  An article coauthored with Susu Nousala and Peter Jones took about 2 years to formal publication.

While a working paper can be more open-ended, a scientific publication seeks greater closure.  From the conclusion, here’s a paragraph that wasn’t in our original 2016-2017 writing.

The RSD5 DesignX workshop provided for continuity and discourse building between members of various design programmes, practices and allegiances. It was a not intended as a venue for specifically articulating and defining the design research agendas linking DesignX with systemic design studies or with these agendas. Further development of these enquiries through other workshops and discourses will extend the continuity of the discussion and evolve something of a common language, if not a corpus, to better fulfil the potential of design research agendas in systemic design.

The RSD5 workshop held in Toronto October 2016 resulted in a rich body of conversations amongst participants that is only partially reflected in this summary.

Read more (in a new tab)

Research can take some time to wend through reflection, reviews and revisions.  An article coauthored with Susu Nousala and Peter Jones took about 2 years to formal publication.

While a working paper can be more open-ended, a scientific publication seeks greater closure.  From the conclusion, here’s a paragraph that wasn’t in our original 2016-2017 writing.

The RSD5 DesignX workshop provided for continuity and discourse building between members of various design programmes, practices and allegiances. It was a not intended as a venue for specifically articulating and defining the design research agendas linking DesignX with systemic design studies or with these agendas. Further development of these enquiries through other workshops and discourses will extend the continuity of the discussion and evolve something of a common language, if not a corpus, to better fulfil the potential of design research agendas in systemic design.

The RSD5 workshop held in Toronto October 2016 resulted in a rich body of conversations amongst participants that is only partially reflected in this summary.

Read more (in a new tab)

Some Future Paths for Design Professionals: DesignX and Systemic Design

Design professionals were attracted at the RSD5 (Relating Systems Thinking and Design) Symposium to a preconference workshop on October 13 at OCADU in Toronto, with the following abstract:

Since 2014, an international collaborative of design leaders has been exploring ways in which methods can be augmented, transitioning from the heritage legacy focus on products and services towards a broad range of complex sociotechnical systems and contemporary societal problems issues. At last year’s 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 found were proposed in the first DesignX workshop in October 2015, which have been published in the new design journal She Ji.  In October 2016, another DesignX workshop will be 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 RSD5 half-day workshop, to explore the relationships between systemic design, existing educational programs and the DesignX agenda. 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.

Read more (in a new tab)

Design professionals were attracted at the RSD5 (Relating Systems Thinking and Design) Symposium to a preconference workshop on October 13 at OCADU in Toronto, with the following abstract:

Since 2014, an international collaborative of design leaders has been exploring ways in which methods can be augmented, transitioning from the heritage legacy focus on products and services towards a broad range of complex sociotechnical systems and contemporary societal problems issues. At last year’s 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 found were proposed in the first DesignX workshop in October 2015, which have been published in the new design journal She Ji.  In October 2016, another DesignX workshop will be 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 RSD5 half-day workshop, to explore the relationships between systemic design, existing educational programs and the DesignX agenda. 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.

Read more (in a new tab)
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