Systems Oriented Design / Systemorientert Design (NO)

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

Systems Thinking vs Design Thinking

Fred Collopy wrote an article where he suggest that there is a dichotomy between Systems thinking and design thinking. Systems Oriented Design attempts to combine the both. The systems approach in Systems oriented design is non orthodox, open ended, relates on critical systems thinking and is defined more as a practice than as a theory. We try to use the best from both. There is no doubt to my mind that design thinking suffers from too simplistic and too narrow scopes and that it needs to become better in coping with systemic changes and relations. While established systems theories are often held back by dogmatic defence of certain positions, models and theories.

Here is the article: >>>>>

Big research and development project landed.

The Institute of Design just succeeded with an application to a research and industrial development project in collaboration with the advanced maritime company Ulstein Power and Control, part of the Ulstein Group ship yard who are the project owners. Other partners are the University College of Ålesund, who have a long track record on very advanced maritime and ship building research, and professor Wolfgang Jonas, naval architect, university of Kassel.

Systems Oriented Design is one of the main methodological perspectives that will be applied and developed in the project.

New systems oriented design studio coming up

In the spring semester of Systems Oriented Design at the Oslo School of Architcture and Design we will work with five new companies and organisations.

  • Gjensidige is one of the biggest insurance companies in Norway.
  • Medema is an international company producing electrical vehicles and other products for disabled.
  • Visit Voss is an organisation for the promotion of the municipality of Voss, known for its out doors life and extreme sports.

These three companies and organisations are facilitated through the collaboration with the Norwegian Design Council and the council will have a strong participation and mediation role between the students and companies.

In addition we have the following collaborations:

  • UNIDIR is the UN disarmament research centre. First time ever there will be a project that looks into the application of design processes in disarmament.
  • In addition we will work with a start up company.

If you want to study Systems oriented Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design please write me an email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Mapping the Research Landscape


A mapping workshop between researchers at the Institute of Design at AHO shows the width and depth of the research going on at the institute. The map needs to be completed with two or three overlays that take up aspects that are not covered. This will turn the mapping into a GIGA-map not only because of its numbers of items and depth level but because seemingly categorically separate items are superimposed and related.

Article on systems thinking

Follow the link below to an article by Don Norman called:

Systems Thinking: A Product is More Than the Product.

Interesting argumentation and examples that is in line with what we are trying to achieve. Yet the argument on the product being also a service is not new and we should refer to Ezio Manzini, Carlo Vezzoli and others when discussing PSS (Product-Service Systems) as a way of understanding more systemic aspects of products and especially linking this to sustainability. Here are two references:

Manzini E., Vezzoli C., Clark G. (2001) Product-Service Systems. Using an Existing Concept as a New Approach to Sustainability, J. of Design Research 2001 - Vol. 1, No.2

C Van Halen, C Vezzoli, R Wimmer (2005) Methodology for Product Service System Innovation: How to develop clean, clever and competitive strategies in companies 

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