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

Systems Engineering and SOD

Here is a booklet that sums up four years of R&D in the H-seif project, involving the university of South East Norway (USN) as the main academic partner and  the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), together with four tech companies with SEMCON as the project owner. H-SEIF stand for Human facators in Systems Engineering Innovation Frameworks. It was an intitiative form the Systems Engineering environment at USN Kongsberg. This environment is emphasising Systems Architecting as a designelry inspired thred in SE, design thinking with long term connections to Stanford D-school and concerned about rething the role of humans in engineering. (Link to their SE master). Birger Sevaldson is professor 2 at the institute and we are concerned about further bridgin the gap between cultures that could benefit from closer relations.

The booklet reports on tools methods and perspectives explored and partly developed in the R&D project. 


KS endorses SOD

PRI arbeidsmetode

Photo: KS

Kommunenes Sentralforbund (KS- The Norwegian Association for Local and Regional Authorities) are using Systems Oriented Design methodologies in their work. Their "Partnerskap for radikal innovasjon" is a program in KS geared towards radical innovation in the municipality sector. Amongst the wicked problems they adress is the future of municipalities in a upcoming seminar: "The art of avoiding the collaps of municipalities".

In this article and this podcast they describe the use of Systems Oriented Design in the sector of design for change in the municipalities of Norway. (All in Norwegian).

UNESCO Education for Sustainability

 Unesco Education for Sustainable development goals

In 2017 UNESCO (Unitid Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) published their report on how education needs to change and develop to prepare us for the big changes we face to reach a more sustainable global society. 

On page 10 they describe eight key competences that are valid across all fields. They write:

Key competencies represent cross-cutting competencies that are necessary for all learners of all ages worldwide (developed at different age-appropriate levels). Keycompetencies can be understood as transversal, multifunctional and context-independent.

The key comptences fit very well to the systemic design perspectives in general and especially to SOD. At the same time some of the competences also challenge us to become better. We therefor integrate them as a framework for SOD.

Here are the eight key competences:

Systems thinking competency: the abilities to recognize and understand relationships; to analyse complex systems;to think of how systems are embedded within different domains and different scales; and to deal with uncertainty.

Anticipatory competency: the abilities to understandand evaluate multiple futures – possible, probable and desirable; to create one’s own visions for the future;to apply the precautionary principle; to assess the consequences of actions; and to deal with risks and changes.

Normative competency: the abilities to understand and reflect on the norms and values that underlie one’s actions;and to negotiate sustainability values, principles, goals, and targets, in a context of conflicts of interests and trade-offs,uncertain knowledge and contradictions.

Strategic competency: the abilities to collectively develop and implement innovative actions that further sustainability at the local level and further afield.

Collaboration competency: the abilities to learn from others; to understand and respect the needs, perspectives and actions of others (empathy); to understand, relate to and be sensitive to others (empathic leadership); to deal with conflicts in a group; and to facilitate collaborative and participatory problem solving.

Critical thinking competency: the ability to question norms, practices and opinions; to reflect on own one’s values,perceptions and actions; and to take a position in the sustainability discourse.

Self-awareness competency: the ability to reflect on one’s own role in the local community and (global) society; to continually evaluate and further motivate one’s actions;and to deal with one’s feelings and desires.

Integrated problem-solving competency: the overarching ability to apply different problem-solving frameworks to complex sustainability problems and develop viable,inclusive and equitable solution options that promote sustainable development, integrating the abovementioned competences.

To download and read the whole report follow this link: >>>>>

Practice Oriented Systemic Design

Photo PracticeOrientedSystemicDesign by MajaNilsenStende 

Photo: Maja Nilsen Stende

Oslo Metropolitan University offers a continuing education course in Practice Oriented Systemic Design – «EXTENDED APPLICATION DEADLINE 4 JANUARY 2021».

In this course, you will learn to design concepts for and in complex projects. You will be challenged to take a role as a practice oriented systemic designer; facilitating, managing, and designing systems, service- and product solutions, and strategies. You will also use design methods from game dynamics that stimulate users and consumers to become engaged towards behavioral and systemic change.

The course is a cooperation between the two universities Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway, and L'École de design Nantes Atlantique Nantes, France.

NB! Due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation only applicants residing in Norway will be eligible for admission in 2021.


Manuela Aguirre on Bela Banathy, Participation and Power

In the Norwegian PhD dissertation, the candidate is given a title for a trial lecture to be held before the actual dissertation. The title is given three weeks before. Manuela Aguirre had her dissertation in beginning of June 2020. To see her presentation and get access to the thesis see here.

However, the trial lecture is in itself worth a watch. The committee consisted of Professor Per-Anders Hillgren from Malmø University, Alex Ryan PhD director at the MaRS innovation centre in Toronto and Associate Professor Maya Van Der Velden from the University of Oslo. They gave the candidate an interesting challenge.

The title of the lecture given was:

How can Bela Banathy's ideas on pervasive co-design culture be understood in relation to Participatory Design and the issues of power?

The lecture starts at around 7:00


Follow SOD on





Mother institution:

AHO-logo                      dr-logo



Main research networks:


  logo systemic design 150                 OCEAN-logo-grey               formakademisk






doga logo       halogen