Relating Systems Thinking and Design

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We hereby invite you to join us at our small seminar where we discuss how systems thinking should and could be related to design thinking and design practice. Click the flyer above to get a better view and click the read on button below to get more information about the program and the speakers.

Date: 4th and 5th October

Venue: Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Small Auditorium.

Admission: free

Seminar organizers: Birger Sevaldson and Marit Helgesen

Contact info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Wednesday 3rd October: Pre_seminar workshop.

This is a closed workshop for the PhD candidates of SOD. If you are not invited but still whish to join the workshop, please send me an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thursday 4th of October Seminar day 1

09:00 a.m.

Birger Sevaldson


09:15 a.m.

Keynote Lecture:
Harold Nelson

 Systemics, the Logic of Design

10:15 a.m.

Sigrunn Lurås

The difficulty of designing when safety is at stake. Thoughts around a systems approach

10:45 a.m.

Coffe break

11:00 a.m.

Anita Woll

Use of GIGA-mapping in participatory design processes.

11:30 p.m.

Helge Tor Kristiansen

The complexity of designing a ship bridge as one integrated unit

12:00 p.m.


01:00 p.m.

 AHO Lecture Series:
Colleen Ponto & Peter Coughlan

Systems Thinking and Design Thinking: An Integrated Approach to Solving Tough Problems.

02:00 p.m.

Defne Sunguroglu Hensel

A Systems Model for Multi-functional Performance Integration.

2:30 a.m.

Coffee break

02:45 a.m.

Birger Sevaldson

The new Gesamtkunstwerk: Holistic design for our times



Friday 5th of October: Seminar day 2


Keynote Lecture:
Peter Jones

Co-design for Complexity: Deepening Design
and Systems Sciences


Adrian Paulsen

From a visual sketch to complex systems thinking.


Coffee break



Alex Ryan

Systemic Design Inguiry: The Design of Military Strategy


Rafael Laurenti

Sustainability Driven Systems-Oriented Design: A broader systems approach to product design





Michael Hensel

Knowing the unknown: The predicament of core knowledge and the boundary problem in architecture


Jan Kristian Strømsnes and Manuela Aguirre

Designing for Dignity in a Sexual Violence Response System.


Coffee Break



Summary discussion



Saturday 6th October: Post_seminar workshop:

This is a closed workshop with the speakers. 



About the speakers (in order of appearance):


Harold Nelson

Harold N copy

Dr. Harold Nelson is a visiting scholar in the School of Computer Science at the University of Montana. He was the 2009-2010 Nierenberg Distinguished Professor of Design in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He was an affiliated Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington and has recently worked in research for the NSF funded center for Learning in Informal and Formal Environments at the University of Washington, Stanford University and SRI.

He is a past-president and a trustee of the International Society for Systems Science. For over twelve years Dr. Nelson was the head of the Graduate Programs in Whole Systems Design at Antioch University.

As a consultant, Dr. Nelson has worked with a variety of organizations in the field of organizational systems design where he brings both design thinking and systems science to the study of organizations and innovation.

Dr. Nelson received his Ph.D. in Social Systems Design, graduating with distinction, from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his Master of Architecture degree from U.C. Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Architecture from Montana State University.

Dr. Nelson co-authored with Dr. Erik Stolterman the book “The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World; Foundations and Fundamentals of Design Competence”.


Sigrun Lurås

01 Sigrun LuraÌŠs

Sigrun Lurås is a Ph.D. Fellow in Systems Oriented Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. She holds a Master in Industrial Design Engineering from NTNU in 2005. She also has two years of Engineering Cybernetics studies at undergraduate level and upgrading courses in Human Factors and Psychology. Prior to starting on her Ph.D. Sigrun worked for six years as an interaction designer and human factors specialist. Sigrun is particularly interested in design for safety critical systems, and her Ph.D. project addresses how Systems Oriented Design can be used to design for sense making on the bridge of offshore service vessels.


Anita Woll


Anita Woll is a Ph.D candidate in Design of Information system at the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo. She holds a Master of Sciences in Informatics and a Master of Public Health, and has a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Computer Science. Anita has received a fellowship for four years that include one year of duty work as an ICT advisor in relation to Audio and Video systems (multimedia) at Rambøll. The main scope of her Ph. D project is to develop new Smart House Technology to support elderly people living at a Residential Care+ to extend the time the elderly could be self-reliant in their private homes. Her project includes participatory design, information visualization by use of GIGA mapping, human computer interaction within the context of private and public spaces, prototyping and usability testing.


Helge Tor Kristiansen


Helge is an assistant professor at Aalesund University College with a master in Electrical Engineering from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and a master in Information Technology from Aalborg University. He has given lectures in a wide range of subjects like electrical installations on- and offshore, power electronics and electrical machinery, computer networking and computer security, interaction design and human computer interaction (HCI).

Helge is today a PhD-fellow at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design participating in the project Ulstein Bridge Concept (UBC). Helges main interest is interaction design and HCI in bridge design, focusing on the need of bridging the gap between maritime human factors, HCI research and design research.


Colleen Ponto


Colleen Ponto, Ed.D., teaches at Seattle University where she is a core faculty member of the Organization Systems Renewal (OSR) Graduate Program, a program in the design and leadership of systemic organizational change. She also teaches at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute which offers an MBA in Sustainable Systems where she serves as adjunct faculty. Systems thinking is at the heart of Colleen’s teaching and consulting and she specializes in helping clients develop their systems thinking skills in order to design and realize their preferred future.


Peter Coughlan

coughlan headshot

Peter Coughlan, Ph.D., is a partner at IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy. Peter is a founder of IDEO’s transformation practice, which uses a design thinking approach to help clients with ‑systemic change informed by customer needs. Peter has worked in a range of different industries and organizations of differing stages of maturity, from hospital systems to high-tech startups. Through his client work and teaching, he has recently begun to deepen his exploration of the integration of design thinking and systems thinking.


Defne Sunguroglu Hensel


Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel [MSc AA EmTech AA Dipl RIBA II] (born 1979, İstanbul, Turkey) is an architect, interior architect, researcher and board member in OCEAN Design Research Association (2008) and research fellow at AHO (2008-2012), the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. She studied architecture Part I at Kent University and completed her diploma degree at the Architectural Association, where she also gained her MSc in the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme. Currently, she pursues her PhD entitled: Correlating Biology and Architecture in Problem-Solving, as a Research Fellow, a stipend by AHO.

In the field of Research by Design, her interdisciplinary work extends into the fields of biology, engineering, material science, micro-climatology and computation and receives great support from the industry. She pursues an integral approach to materials in architectural design, currently focusing on wood and brick. Multiple performance in architecture forms the core of her research where it is essential to advance on the understanding and utilization of materials’ inherent properties and the spatial material organization that correlate to an alternative approach to sustainable and ecological design. Team efforts and collaborations within and beyond OCEAN make it possible to engage in complex questions related to our built environment. 


Birger Sevaldson


Birger Sevaldson is professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. He is a member of the OCEAN design research network. He is trained as an interior architect and furniture designer and he has been practicing in various fields of design, including architecture and interior design, furniture design, industrial design and art based projects. He has a PhD in creative design computing and has been researching systems thinking in design for the last ten years. He is central in the development of Systems Oriented Design (SOD).  His research focus is to develop SOD as design practice to help designers to better cope with the increased challenges of globalisation and the need for sustainability. He has published in various themes including design creativity, methodology, digital design, research by design and SOD.



Peter Jones

Peter jones-headshot2

Dr. Jones is associate professor at Toronto’s OCAD University, where he is a senior fellow of the Strategic Innovation Lab and teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program. He is managing partner of Dialogic Design International, an organizational and strategic design consultancy he founded in 2007. Peter is a board member of the Institute for 21st Century Agoas, the organization founded by Dr. Aleco Christakis, which promotes the practice and science of dialogic design for democratic, collaborative action for socially complex problem systems. He started and facilitates the Toronto-based educational and consultative community of practice known as Design with Dialogue.

Peter also founded and leads Redesign, Inc. an innovation research company now based in Toronto. Redesign conducts ethnographic and design research to guide innovations consistent with advancing systemic change in organizations, social systems and markets. Peter has designed leading information resources used in scientific, legal, and medical practice, and conducts ethnographic and design research to help people understand the impact of innovations that will impact these fields and change practice.

Peter’s books, papers and online work are listed at He maintains active communities and resources at:  Healthcare design book community  Online community for DwD practice  Agoras Institute site  Online community for Structured Dialogic Design practice

Twitter: @redesign @globalagoras @designforcare


Adrian Paulsen

adrian profilbildet 2011 PLAKAT

Adrian Paulsen graduated his Industrial Design MA from Oslo school of Architecture and design. His current practice involves Freelance Designing, running the Service Design MA course & part-time teaching SOD methodology at AHO.

His work is mainly within the fields of Systems oriented design, Service Design, visual process facilitation and workshop facilitation. With project experience stretching from developing Oil spill response solutions to internal process facilitation for companies stretching from insurance providers, ship wharf, design consultancies and start-up companies. In his work he explores how to merge the low barrier sketch-note tools with high complexity GIGA-mapping tools and systems oriented design process methodology in both academic and consultancy context.

In short: A highly curious systems head, always doodling & enjoys co-creating.


Alex Ryan

alex ryan

Since 2008, Dr. Alex Ryan has been an Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton and is a recipient of the firm’s highest honor, the Values In Practice award. Dr. Ryan currently leads the theory hub for Booz Allen’s Center for the Application of Design. He has taught operational and strategic design at the U.S. School of Advanced Military Studies as well as with a range of civilian and military clients, from the Government of Alberta to U.S. Special Operations Command. Dr. Ryan also has 9 years’ experience as a complex systems scientist with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation. His dissertation in applied mathematics advanced a multidisciplinary approach to complex systems design.


Rafael Laurenti

Rafael SOD

Rafael Laurenti is a PhD candidate at the Division of Industrial Ecology of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Production Engineering and a master’s degree in New Product Development from University of Sao Paulo. He was a young researcher guest at the Centre of Virtual Manufacturing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, and has worked for the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer. In his PhD, Rafael uses Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Modeling and Simulation to understand how product design could foster sustainable production, consumption and waste management systems.

Project description:

Sustainability driven Systems-oriented Design is a collaborative project between professor Birger Sevaldson Professor Björn Frostell from the Division of Industrial Ecology KTH, and Rafael Laurenti. The aim of the project is to develop a conceptual framework which integrates sustainability aspects into the umbrella of systems-oriented design. The purpose of the framework is to identify and deal with sustainability challenges, such as, ecological and social negative externalities, rebound effects, length of life-span, societal inequalities, involved in the life cycle of the product/system service being designed.


Michael Hensel


Prof. Michael U. Hensel [Dipl. Ing. Grad Dipl Des AA](born 1965, Celle, Germany) is an architect, researcher, educator and writer. He is professor for architecture at AHO the Oslo School of Architecture and Design where he directs the Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics. He is a founding member of OCEAN (1994) and acted as founding chairman of the OCEAN Design Research Association (2008). Since 2008 he serves as a board member. He also was board member of BIONIS – The Biomimetics Network for Industrial Sustainability from 2007 to 2011. Previously he taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (1993 to 2009), where he developed the curriculum for and co-directed the Emergent Technologies and Design Program (2001 to 2009). He held visiting professorships and innovation fellowships and taught and lectured in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. His research interests and efforts include formulating the theoretical and methodological framework for Performance-oriented Architecture and developing a biological paradigm for design and sustainability of the built environment. Michael has extensively written on this and other topics in architecture and urban design. He has published, lectured and exhibited in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.


Jan Kristian Strømsnes

Jan Kristian Kvadratisk

Jan Kristian Strømsnes is an Industrial Designer with a Master degree from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). He has studied at schools such as University College of Akershus (HiAk), School of Design and Crafts (HDK) in Sweden and Aarhus School of Architecture (AAA) in Denmark. Jan Kristian uses Systems Oriented Design as method to get a holistic understanding of complex social issues, organizations or companies. The SOD method allows him to identify innovations or solutions to specific problems. Through research displayed on the information platform called Giga maps, he communicates his delivery in a way that is visual, clear and easy understandable.


Manuela Aguirre


Manuela Aguirre is a system/service designer that recently graduated from The Oslo School of Architecture and Design. She was born in Santiago, Chile; place where she initiated her design studies.  In collaboration with Jan Kristian Strømsnes, Manuela’s master project deals with design methods get a holistic understanding the complexity of sexual violence by collaborating closely with the medical and legal sectors.  She now starts to work in the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, USA as a service designer to help transform the delivery and experience of health care by design.