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.

News blog

GIGA-maps are designed artifacts


Friday 2nd December: What does it mean to approach the complexity of the world as a designer? How do we work with rich information in a designerly way?

The GIGA-map is a designed artifact. It is obviously not meant to be an accurate record of complex systems “out there”. When working with GIGA-mapping one works with information as a designer in a constructivist way. The information is designed through several iterations, creating a deep knowledge and internalization and building a rich world view of the problematique. This design process is a knowledge building and constructing process where we go through many iterations, from rough sketch to refined and ordered and beautiful information visualization, via dialogues and incubations. The process of refinement is a process where the information is reprocessed and transformed through and by design. Through this process richness is maintained by the juxtaposing and layering of different categories or types of information. Bringing seemingly unrelated information together and finding or better constructing their interrelations is central. Most of the GIGA-maps are process tools and are not meant for communication except between their owners. One becomes an owner by creating them. Clients and partners can be co-owners of these visualized processes but the output is not meant to communicate with external receivers. Only towards the end of the process the information visualization might move towards a communicative mode where it becomes more inclusive to people who have not been involved in the process.

Including experts, stakeholders and clients at early or later stages is a highly effective way of dialogic design and deep involvement.


Why brainstorming doesn't work

8th November 2011: We often were critical to brainstorming and other similar techniques like idea cards that promise a quick way to creativity. I think the quick ideas from such techniques are badly rooted and will mostly fall appart when "put in the rain". For producing deeply grounded synergetic and recilient creative resolutions to complex problems one needs to go into longer processes such as described long ago by Jaques Hadarmad. His model was described with four stages, preparation, incubation, illumination and evaluation. This indicates an individual creativity but also a creativity in context or a systemic model of creativity as described by e.g. Csikszentmihalyi. We still use brain storming at occations and moments in the process, but the studies referred to in the article below make me doupt even that. Im looking forward to some tests...

Read the Washington Post blog article here: >>>>>>

Here is the link to one of the studies by Nicholas W. Kohn and Steven M. Smith
Collaborative fixation: Effects of others' ideas on brainstorming  >>>>>>


Collaborative fixation: Effects of others' ideas on brainstorming

  1. Nicholas W. Kohn1,*,
  2. Steven M. Smith2

Risk Management

2nd October 2011: Magnus Bjelkerud had a lecture on the topic of Risk Management for the AHO master students. He especially emphazised the advantage of the GIGA-maps to identify hazards in a system.


Harold Nelson at AHO


31st November 2011: Professor Harold Nelson visited the S.O.D. studio and gave a lecture and had a discussion with the students about their projects. Harold Nelson is one of the important scholars when it comes to systems thinking in design and it was a great pleasure to hear him lecture.

read more about Harold below

GIGA-mapping workshop in Tallin

30th October 2011: The 17th to 21st Oct we did run a GIGA-mapping workshop at the Technical University of Tallin, Estland at the design department. Twenty masters students, many international and with prior work experience, working with design for physical activity under the guidance of professor Martin Pärn participated. The feedback from the workshop was very good!


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