Abstract

This paper, attempts to provide a useful perspective of Systems Thinking’s contribution to Design’s theoretical grounding for both research and education. ‘Useful’ in the sense that it will equip design students and graduate professionals with a supportive and productive way of thinking about Design. This is viewed against the trend of more and more multidisciplinary design problems emerging where designers are asked to deal with the complexity which is inherent in such problems. Thus this discourse is also framed in understandings of interdisciplinarity and further, transdisciplinarity, to attempt to gain some traction on these heterogeneous domains. Such domains are subject to many attempts to provide them with a theoretical framework. In this paper, it is suggested that Systems Thinking can contribute considerably to such a framework. The world of Systems Thinking is not new to Design, but against the new scenarios of increasing complexity, it is in a stronger position to demonstrate its potential for Design. This paper will posit the enhancements to both the designer’s way of thinking as well as the ‘design tools’ that Systems Thinking could provide. Hence, the paper’s main emphasis is on how and why the designer profile could be positively influenced by Systems Thinking.

Keywords:

Design Theory; Design Education; Systems Thinking; Interdisciplinarity; Transdisciplinarity

Share

COinS
 
Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Designers in complex problem solving: the contribution of Systems Thinking

This paper, attempts to provide a useful perspective of Systems Thinking’s contribution to Design’s theoretical grounding for both research and education. ‘Useful’ in the sense that it will equip design students and graduate professionals with a supportive and productive way of thinking about Design. This is viewed against the trend of more and more multidisciplinary design problems emerging where designers are asked to deal with the complexity which is inherent in such problems. Thus this discourse is also framed in understandings of interdisciplinarity and further, transdisciplinarity, to attempt to gain some traction on these heterogeneous domains. Such domains are subject to many attempts to provide them with a theoretical framework. In this paper, it is suggested that Systems Thinking can contribute considerably to such a framework. The world of Systems Thinking is not new to Design, but against the new scenarios of increasing complexity, it is in a stronger position to demonstrate its potential for Design. This paper will posit the enhancements to both the designer’s way of thinking as well as the ‘design tools’ that Systems Thinking could provide. Hence, the paper’s main emphasis is on how and why the designer profile could be positively influenced by Systems Thinking.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.