Systems Oriented Design

The designerly way to work with systems


Gigamapping is part of the systems oriented framework

The term gigamapping was introduced in 2009 by Birger Sevaldson in the context of the 2009 SOD design studio at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. In that studio, the designerly mapping techniques that were used before already from 2006 and onward were developed to a new level of complexity.

About Systems Oriented Design

The main mission of SOD is to help designers to become better at dealing with very complex problems. Complex problems are described as problem fields, networks of problems, wicked problems and problematiques.

Book: Designing Complexity

The Methodology and Practice of Systems Oriented Design – Birger Sevaldson’s book for designers in the widest sense, including any individual or organisation that is involved in change processes.


There are opportunities to collaborate with the Master’s Studio at the Oslo School of Architecture.

Related References

Systems resources of note: The list was started in 2009 and is updated occasionally.

SOD is open source

If your project corresponds to all or most of the core parameters, you are welcome to reference it as a SOD project.

SOD Origins: Systemic Design as a Field of Possibilities

The idea of systemic design as a pluralistic field opens the possibilities to several different approaches to systemic design that are not only allowed but encouraged.

Systems Oriented Design in a Nutshell

Systemic design spans design practice and thinking to systems practice and thinking. SOD is a bit closer to design practice.

Testimonials: SOD & Gigamapping

With a look to the future, there are huge needs for this kind of design competence – to enable sustainable solutions for businesses, organizations and in policymaking.

The Democracy Files

The Democracy Files is a resource of collected articles supporting our belief that design can play a crucial role in democracy.

The Mind Shifts of SOD

We need to make several small shifts in our understanding to truly grasp systems thinking in general and to start to become systemic designers.

SOD Foundations

Design thinking and design practice are potentially very powerful approaches to deal with super complexity

The world is rapidly changing, and the need to stay ahead of changes increases the complexity of the design process. Systems oriented design addresses these problems by developing systems thinking in design practice with concepts, techniques and methods developed by and for designers. Systems oriented design helps designers become better at dealing with complex problems. Complex problems are described as problem fields, networks of problems, wicked problems and problematiques.


Designing Complexity: The Methodology and Practice of Systems Oriented Design

by Birger Sevaldson

This book changes the way you think about designing. Instead of simplifying embrace richness. Instead of controlling you learn to live with uncertainty.

SOD is a living and adaptable methodology.  Though it is based on design thinking and design methodology, it is easily adapted and applied by anybody who is working with complex change processes.


News blog

New SOD students

New SOD students

Today the new generation of master's students, studying Systems Oriented Design, started their first day of the executive master's course at AHO. They will work with us over three years towards their final master's thesis. We are very excited about this new and big...

read more
Systemic design meets rituals

Systemic design meets rituals

Fantastic lecture by ass. Professor Ted MAthews on rituals in life and in design. This resulted in a very interresting cross over between systemic design and rituals. How are rituals drivers in social systems? Ted finalised his PhD at the Oslo School of Architecture...

read more
Book Launch experience

Book Launch experience

We had a wonderful day with the book launch of Birger Sevaldsons book Designing Complexity: The Methodology and Practice of Systems Oriented Design.Approximately 100 people were present either in the gallery of the Oslo School of Architecture and Design or on ZOOM....

read more
Book Launch

Book Launch

The book "Designing Complexity" will be presented and launched at the gallery of the Oslo School of Architecture and Design on Friday the 20th of January. See the program below. Here is the zoom link:  You are most welcome.

read more
Two different approaches

Two different approaches

Two outstanding master's theses from the outer edges of SOD. They are diametrically different and excellent in each way. The first one, Lieke van Raan, is technical, diving into a large number of details needed to achieve what is the intention: Changing the denim...

read more

SOD Masters at AHO

This master’s program is part time with two modules every semester. Each module has two seminars of three days, one in Oslo on site and one digital. The program goes over three years.