Deep Dive into Systems Thinking in Design

(offered in Q1, 2021/22)

The scientific concept of ‘system’ is about two centuries old, and has had a great influence on how scientists describe the world, how descriptions from different disciplines can be integrated, and how engineers approach complex problems and try to control solutions.

Applied to a range of disciplines and problems from language theory to aircraft control systems to the dynamics of markets to human perception and experience. Many of those different areas have in turn shaped the tools of systems thinking.

At the moment, designers are entering ‘the systemic level’, which can be seen this as the next ‘wave’ in design, after service design and experience design. Here, the solutions designers (co)create have to fit in a complex set of interactions between many stakeholders. Again, systems thinking has become popular to bridge the gap between many different parties, and to make sense of complex arrangements.

In this course we dive into the literature, gather and discuss examples, and together formulate tips and guidelines for designers to be ‘wary of biases’ in the interfaces they design.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the concept of systems as it is used in science, engineering and design
  • Participate in a discussion and evaluation of practical and theoretical issues regarding systems thinking.
  • Describe phenomena in terms of systems concepts.
  • Use systems concepts in design.

The sessions will be moderated by prof. Pieter Jan Stappers.