source:Systemic Design Principles in Social Innovation: A Study of Expert Practices and Design Rationales – ScienceDirect
Volume 6, Issue 3, Autumn 2020, Pages 386-407
Systemic Design Principles in Social Innovation: A Study of Expert Practices and Design Rationales
Systemic design is an emerging field of practice within social innovation.•
Using a systems lens, we identify systemic design principles in expert practice.•
Systemic perspective-taking and problem exploration are practice-related principles.•
Principles in design rationales include influencing both human relations and mental models.•
We promote mutual learning between social innovation frontrunners and academia.
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 rationales 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.