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

Cut the Cause!

Cut the Cause!

Cut the Cause! Michalina Fidos  2023   In a welfare society, members thrive without security threats, which in the 21st century are mainly caused by crimes. Criminality, as a wicked problem, shapes and impacts the reality we live in. It is a social and complex...

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Workshop at KISD

Workshop at KISD

Professor Birger Sevaldson was invited to Cologne in April 2023 to run a 4 day gigamapping workshop at KISD, Köln International School of Design, together with Professor Philipp Heidkamp. A most enjoyable experience with an international group of students of both the...

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RSD12 Call for contribution

RSD12 Call for contribution

RSD12 is distributed in a number of hubs and goes both real-life and remote. Stay tuned to to learn moreRSD12 Symposium: Entangled in Emergence RSD12-ONLINE + RSD12-HUBSORGANISED BY GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, USA OCTOBER 6-20, 2023  

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RSD12 coming up!

RSD12 coming up!

Relating systems Thinking and Design 12 (RSD12), will be a different conference. RSD12 has two components: RSD12-ONLINE and RSD12-HUBS. RSD12-ONLINE is a 15-day international event. RSD12-HUBS are 1–3 day symposia that prioritise locality and in-person sessions. The...

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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.