Systems Oriented Design

The designerly way to work with systems

The main mission of Systems Oriented Design is to build the designers own interpretation and implementation of systems thinking so that systems thinking can fully benefit from design thinking and practice and so that design thinking and practice can fully benefit from systems thinking.


The problems with leverage points

The problems with leverage points, stocks and flows, feedback loops, variables and positive and negative relations.

After the Chalmers workshop we had a discussion on the usefulness of systems concepts that were defined in other systems frameworks that are more on the hard side of systems thinking, like from systems dynamics and systems analyses

One of them is leverage points. Personally I find this term of Leverage Points very difficult to use and it is more fitted to a technical or systems analytical or systems dynamics way of thinking than Systems Oriented Design. I also find the causal model where everything is defined in variables and the relations are defined as negative or positive quite restricting and limited. We are working on a list of relations types which will be published when more mature. It shows that not all relations make sense to be represented with nodes and arrows. 


Workshop at Chalmers


Thursday and friday 24th and 25th Feb. we had a joint workshop with the system design class of associate professor Jaan-Henrik Kain at departemnt of architecture Chalmers Institute of Technology in Gothenburg Sweden.

The workshop went through 10 projects in five groups. Also there were four lectures two by Birger Sevaldson and two by Jaan-Henrik Kain.


Lectures with international professors

      carlo_vezzoli                   Wolfgang_Jonas   

     Carlo Vezzoli                                       Wolfgang Jonas 

Friday the 18th Feb. we had a lectures with Carlo Vezzoli and a lecture and short workshop by Wolfgang Jonas.

To read more about these two prominent guest lecturers go to the peoples section

Carlo Vezzoli Lectured about the Learning Network for Sustainability. He is a founder of the network and his great efforts in the field are widely acknowledged. This interesting initiative makes a big effort to make design sustainable. It is all based on the "copyleft" principle of sharing information. Carlo took us through a system for sustainable development of PSS (product service systems) that they developed in the project.

Wolfgang Jonas Professor from Braunschweig school of arts and design demonstrated a systems dynamic approach and a software tool developed by Professor Vester. Using the problems of piracy as a case the students went through a short workshop and the problem was also run through the software. The resulting output indicates that other means than gunboats might be far more efficient and cheaper than the current policy. 




At a lecture for the students of Michael Hensels wood studio I mapped wood as a material system together with the students. The media was the good old black board and the shown map emerged during two hours of conversation with the students. The mapping shows only selected parts of the whole complexity of the production, applicaiton and recycling of wood as a building material. But it gives a good hint to how vastly complex and interconnected one system is with the other. Especially the amount of fossile fuel based processes in the produciton and application of wood are mind provoking.

There is a very special feel to the good old black board which several of my collegues enjoy as well. I hope it never disappears.


Follow SOD on





Mother institution:






Main research networks:


 logo systemic design 150