Transforming systems through design

BCSSS Track: Speeches and Discussion



Geraldine Fitzpatrick Designing for sharing communities: from rhetoric to reality
Thomas Fundneider Designing desired futures as Enabling Spaces
Holm Friebe Surviving VUCA – A framework for the far future
Liss C. Werner Structural Feeling – It’s not Alice, but Wonderland BCSSS


Stefan Blachfellner, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS)


The paradigm of design is changing from market driven product and service innovations into supporting the emergence of a more collaborative, sustainable and creative society and economy, taking into account the real needs of all stakeholders, their societal context, and the complexity of the ecologies they live in.

The term “transformation design” has been associated with work within communities for socially progressive ends, but also with work within organisations to introduce human-centred design approaches. Research and practice have been related to the role and impact of organizational development, business model innovation, innovation ecosystems, creative communities and social innovation as well as in urban design and regional development, and even the wide debate on the redesign of public services and the welfare state.

Thus emerging interdisciplinary design approaches seek to create desirable and sustainable changes in behaviour and form – of individuals, organizations and systems. Expertise beyond the designers is a requirement, because transformation design tackles large scale complex issues involving many stakeholders and components, and their interdependencies. Co-creative “design with” the system approaches informed by Evolutionary Systems Design and Social Systems Design insights are applied in holistic, multi-stage, iterative processes to engage with the complex dynamic systems and their constantly arising novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization, called emergence.

“Transforming Systems through Design” starts a conversation with its expert panel engaging architects, engineers, designer, social scientists, and systems researcher to exchange individual tools, methodologies, material and ways of operating, to collaborate further in a trans-disciplinary process in order to decode and encode discipline specific modes of working. We aim at an integration of the knowledge to support the advancement of design competencies in theory and practice for future oriented flourishing socio-technological-ecologies, called our Information Societies at the Crossroads.