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

Alternatives within Housing

Palak Dudani Master Design Diploma 20192pg 118


Palak Dudani

Master thesis AHO 2020

The challenges of our time are increasingly complex, housing being one of them. While housing is a basic need closely intertwined with our well-being, it also sits at the centre of strong economic, political and cultural forces. In the homeowner nation of Norway where the housing system was set up to promote homeownership, the meaning of ownership itself has seen a dramatic shift since the 80s. What was initially conceived as a tool to create stability and welfare, housing now has increasingly come to mean profit and wealth-building. While homeowners are still able to create welfare for themselves, less and less people are able to become owners now.  The obvious solution then is to push more people towards ownership, but how sustainable is that? This is a system that has made owning a home extremely expensive, but still is trying to create ‘affordable’ housing – and that is the heart of the problem. Housing can not be expensive enough to be profitable and cheap enough to be affordable at the same time.

This is an exploratory project which reframes the problem of housing and reimagines the system in the near-future – one where the focus of our housing system has moved away from supporting wealth-building to supporting long-term well-being. I propose a conceptual housing model set within a larger public social infrastructure which supports the new values in form of self-governance, participatory budgeting and informal service exchange. Using the three horizons model as a framework, I position this near-future speculative model within the third horizon, representing a favourable direction going forward. As the seeds for the near-future already exist in the present day/first horizon, this project hopes to inspire critical reflection on the fundamental nature of our housing system and imagine hopeful alternative near-futures - ones where everyone can be taken care of.


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Collapse of Complex Societies

Susanne Ringdal from HALOGEN made me aware of this wonderful deep lecture lecture by Dr. Joseph Tainter, the author of the book Collapse of Complex Societies

Very thoughtful lecture for all working in public sector and governance and even complex private companies.

The lecture is devided into five parts that should start automatically.


Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service and Adult Education

Kassotakis Michail 5 46784056 1200


The project of the week is a study into adult education by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service, NAV. The project is by master students Michael Kassostakis and Eva Hugenschmidt from the design education at Oslo Met.

They write: "People are unable to use, contact or keep up with public services due to language problems, digital illiteracy and amount of information channels and the complexity of the system. This prevents and discourages people from being able to register themselves in the system, ask help or have complete understanding of their obligations and opportunities, thus creating a gap between them and the public system. This gap may enhance feelings such as isolation, discomfort and vulnerability, towards the public services, especially for people with additional problems.

Our purpose is to bridge the gap between people and the public services by creating a fun and interactive platform for communication, conversation and self-improvement, whilst offering an overview of the whole system. A tool, that can be used by both the people and the public system to communicate, review build trust and plan the future together."

Tutor was professor Tore Gulden

Read their report below



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Decoding Empathy

Gigamap Empathy 1 for web 1200

Decoding Empathy. Click the map to see the whole map. Make sure to studie the components of empathy on the left side of the big version of the map.


Empathy has almost become a cliché in the design world. Maybe understanding empathy better would provide more robust content to the notion of empathy and to the design work claiming it to be central in user oriented design. 

At NID in Ahmedabad India they have developed a tradition of gigamapping that is quite characteristic. It is recognised by its vivid use of metaphors, making these maps immediately accessible. A group of students under the guidance of Prof Praveen Nahar and  Sahil Thappa pulled apart the notion of empathy and revealed it as a systems of its own.

This map was exhibited at the RSD8 in Chicago. There much more to the map than what you see in the image above. Click it to dive into the information.

The NID will host the ninth Relating Systems Thinking and Design conference 13th-15th October 2020. We are looking forward to the input from the creative and vivid Indian design community.

To read more about this project follow this link >>>>>


Team: The apathetic beings
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India

Guide: Praveen Nahar & Sahil Thappa
Team members:
Swayamsiddha, Shefali, Awanee, Supreethe, Vaidehe


Towards a Circular Denim Industry

Graduation Poster Lieke van Raan 1200


Lieke van Raan was an exchange student at AHO from TU Delft in 2018, where she spent a semester learning SOD. She came to AHO to learn Systems Oriented Design. See her project from then here. She went back to TU Delft and did her master thesis with honours degree. This was a SOD project investigating one of the big problems regarding sustainability, the textile industry and denim produciton in particular.

The project was done within the Delft University of Technology and the client was the House of Denim Foundation


Read more about this project here.


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