Designerly Approaches for Catalyzing Change in Social Systems: A Social Structures Approach

Elsevier, She Ji, Volume 7, Summer 2021
Vink J., Wetter-Edman K., Koskela-Huotari K.
Given the growing interest in systemic design, there is a demand for designerly approaches that can aid practitioners in catalyzing social systems change. The purpose of this research is to develop an initial portfolio of designerly approaches that acknowledges social structures as a key leverage point for influencing social systems. This article presents learnings from experimentation with a host of designerly approaches for shaping social structures and identifies four design principles to guide systemic design practitioners in doing this work. This research contributes to the evolving and pluralistic methodology of systemic design by presenting formats for design activities that take social structures seriously and identifying ways that systemic designers, and other practitioners, can re-entangle themselves in the systems they seek to change.