Systemic Mirrors

At the Relating Systems Thinking & Design symposium RSD12, Carine van Loon and I presented a new concept in systemic design, which we refer to as ‘systemic mirroring’: designing an object that provides system stakeholders with a different perspective on the system they are part of. It confronts them with their beliefs about the system and their role in it. We hope that such mirrors support stakeholders in redesigning the system from the inside out. We illustrate the concept with Carine’s graduation project in which she designed a children’s book that reflects the care system around parents with a child with special needs. You can watch our presentation here.

Is designing really so much fun?

Design and its successors “design innovation” and “design thinking” are often presented as something that is fun and engaging. And designers and design innovators often have an image of happy-go-clappy-postit-sticking-enthusiasts (using the words of Kennisland’s Marlieke Kieboom). But is designing really such an enjoyable and exciting activity?

As part of a study into design-led social innovation practices I recently interviewed people who have led or participated in design projects in a social innovation context, often for the first time. These people expressed many emotions about their design experiences that did not sound like fun at all, including feelings of frustration, confusion, irritation, fear and despair. And to be honest, this comes as no surprise. I’ve experienced it myself, I’ve seen it with my students, and I’ve seen it with the people I work with. In this blog I will explain where these negative feelings might come from, and why we shouldn’t ignore them.

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