Systems Oriented Design / Systemorientert Design (NO)

The designerly way to work with systems

The main mission of Systems Oriented Design is to build the designers own interpretation and implementation of systems thinking so that systems thinking can fully benefit from design thinking and practice and so that design thinking and practice can fully benefit from systems thinking.



News blog

Lectures from the Design Day are now online.

The interesting lectures from the annual design day at the Norwegian Design Council are now online. Specially interesting is the lecture by Heather Fraser. There is a lot of inspiration there for what we are doing. (be critical though :)) Other speakers were Chris Luebkemann, John Thakara, Robert Verganti, Håkon Wium Lie.

Here  are the videos >>>>>>>

How to fix a stair in the city having fun

by Giacomo Neri

This morning it was my turn to explain a bit more of what I do. So I picked a project I'm collaborating with since this fall: it's called CriticalCity Upload ( 


CriticalCity is a urban game that let you do things you have never done before and It works like this:

you go to and you create an account (only italian at the moment, we're still "testing" it) 

  • you see a very long list of crazy weird tasks from the easiest (dancing on the street) to the hardest (walking backward for an entire day). Note that some of them can be accomplished only collaborating with other players
  • You keep on browsing the list (and seeing what other players have already done and maybe get some inspiration from them) until you find something you like to do.
  • Then since you're new (level 1) you pick an easy task...let's say: "explore an abandoned area and leave a triangular sign in it"
  • Then you simply go out of your home, do it (hopefully you also have fun) and remember to take pictures, videos, or both.
  • Then you come back to your screen upload everything and get the points and even more important the feedback from the other players
  • Then you repeat these steps from the beginning

So.. instead of explaining all these boring steps to my classmates I decided to just do one of those tasks with them and in particular I picked "A nuova vita 2" which means "To a new life (2nd)" and the brief sounds like this: "go out in the street and find something broken. Then fix it!"

Since every morning I go through a public staircase that has a broken step I thought: that would be a good target for our mission. So we took an hammer and a dozen of nails (I prepared them from yesterday, thanks Fop!) and half an hour later we had a fixed stair and lot of fun.

You can see the pictures and a very short and exiciting 3 minutes video directly here

By the way: in my system oriented design class project I'm trying to apply similar bottom-up mechanism with new media to very different and much more delicate contexts (peace and security). So far.. it seems exciting... we'll see in the end what comes out!

Why GIGA-maps are fuzzy

Most of infographics have an intention to sort, frame, tame and simplify information so as to make it accessible for anybody. Evaluating GIGA-mapping as we practice it according to these criteria misses the point.

Wicked problems revisited

Many designers refer to design in genral as dealing with wicked problems. Re-reading Horst Rittels famous article is really worth the read. It makes me realize that the general statements that design problems are wicked problems is simply not true. Designing a chair is not a wicked problem as Derek Miller (one of our lecturers) stated in a discussion today. Reading Rittels article will clarify the issues. It also refers to the shortcoming of hard systems thinking and makes it clear why we use the approach of Systems Oriented Design combining not just any design practice with any type of systems thinking, but combining advanced design practice with mainly soft system thinking. Read Rittels article again! It is called "Dilemmas in a general theory of planning"

More experiences from Istanbul

Here a film made by Giacomo Neri. Nice impressions from our tour.

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