Design Knowledge Intermediary
RSD6: Relating Systems Thinking and Design

Submission: Closed
Opening: Closed
Closing: Closed
Environment, Economy, Democracy:  Flourishing Together
The call for participation is open for contributions of all kinds, including practice and business cases, completed or exploratory research, major student projects, and theoretical developments in Systemic Design.
You are invited to submit an abstract to the sixth RSD symposium on the theme of the ongoing renaissance of systems thinking in the design field. Since 2012 the Systemic Design Research Network has initiated and hosted the RSD symposia within which a new dialogue and emerging practices of Systemic Design have developed. We believe that design, architecture and urban planning/design now demand enhanced capabilities to cope with the hypercomplex problems faced by modern, developed and developing societies. We find systemic design can play a role within and across many fields and can do much better in navigating our relationship to the natural environment and common governance. In these days of sociopolitical unrest, with the increasing uncertainty of sustaining historical institutions, we urge the design community to step up to use its competence for better and deeper impact.
Systems thinking has long been a part of design, and has also had impact on architecture and urban design, but it has been the interest of the specialists and scholars. The new wave of Systemic Design is concerned with creating new synergetic relations between systems thinking and design. We think this coupling is potentially very powerful as an approach to improve many of the problems we are facing today.
This symposium invites thoughtful participants from all disciplines, from across societies and cultures to contribute. We call for researchers and serious practitioners from design disciplines, systems and cybernetics, social sciences, ecological and economic sciences, architecture and urban design, other fields and inter- and transdisciplinary teams. From praxis we invite civic leaders, entrepreneurs and business leaders, policymakers and democracy advocates, and especially practicing designers from all fields to participate.
We reinforce contributions that address the thematic of this conference in a systemic and integrated way and not merely as domains of interests around issues. We invite a breadth of perspectives and approaches  as long as they interrelate systemics and design.
In the sixth year of the RSD symposia we are especially addressing the themes of Environment, Economy and Democracy. We think these domains need to be treated together to enable systemic progress.
We are living in the geological era of the Anthropocene, in which humans influence the whole planetary ecosystem to a degree where society, technology and nature are interrelated such that any intervention can have unforeseen consequences. We are within eight years of exceeding our global carbon budget, and ecologists are warning us about the onset of a sixth great extinction. We need to reach a new level for the design of our human dominated and built environments and the material use in industrial production, as well as energy use in information technology. This is interlinked with economy and politics, with democratic culture, information access and with business opportunities and future economies.
For the development of our future economy, there are many challenges. They span from understanding what a non-growth economy in the future can be, to understanding economies that let all aspects of human society flourish. Great progress has been made by introducing the concept of flourishing business models (Ehrenfeld), but what does that mean in practice for your profession or company? How can your profession or company find a sustainable flourishing path towards its future? What types of design activities, products and services would be beneficial to consumers, society and the planet? How does a more future-attentive society open new business opportunities, new green technologies and social entrepreneurship?
Democracy is under pressure from many sides in developed nations. Trust in economic systems is at a post-WWII low, with recent discourses at the annual World Economic Forum expressing outright uncertainty and lack of political support for the old global agendas. Western countries are experiencing a surge in populism as a response to globalization, increasing political surveillance, increased systemic surveillance from internet services, the production of official fake news, and post-truth politics. For democracy to thrive, building democratic culture is central, but the development of true democratic culture seems to have stagnated. At the same time there seems to b great potential for fundamental breakthroughs within the theme of deliberative democracy. Design can be central to this in many ways, from information design to digital social networking, architecture, urban design, and more generally the way we transform our environment.
We invite you to submit your abstract to one of the below themes or, if you find the themes to be insufficient to fit to your contribution, submit to the open theme.
Our theme this year encompasses the contexts for flourishing in democratic societies, and exploring the opportunities for systemic design in:
  *   Democratic participation and policy innovation
  *   Strongly sustainable business innovation
  *   Flourishing communities
  *   Design of architectures, settlements and built environments
We invite contributions to Systemic design for:
  *   Social impact in flourishing and change programs
  *   Health and population wellness
  *   Ecological design and bioregion development
  *   Human-scaled and regional economies
  *   Sociotechnical and technological systems
  *   Open themes


- www.systemic-design.net