Multiple Perspectives and SOD

It is a good tactic to triangulate between multiple perspectives When trying to understand a system, it is a good tactic to triangulate between different perspectives. This will shed light on the system from different standpoints, within different fields and through the eyes of various stakeholders. The application of different perspectives is applied through the SOD creative process framework.

four perspectives web

The four perspectives model (pictured above) is a simple framework to examine a system.

Multiple perspectives and SOD

Stakeholder and expert perspectives

Perspectives are inclusive of all users, operators, manufacturers, cleaners, directors, clients, experts, citizens, and others affected by the system or people with knowledge about the system. It is important to include the affected bystanders and their perspectives. In addition, it should embrace others through representatives: children, elderlies who cannot speak for themselves, future generations, non-human beings and non-biotic issues.

Systems depth

Vertical validity of the systems approach is established by examining the system on the micro-, meso-, and macro-level.

Systems width

The horizontal validity of the systems approach is established by examining foreground, middle-ground and background.

The four perspectives model

The four perspectives model (pictured above) is a simple framework to examine a system. It provides both system depth and system with.

  • Vertical reach is described with the frog and the bird perspectives
  • Horizontal reach is described by the microscope and telescope metaphor.

Macro, meso, micro perspectives

It is useful to investigate and reinterpret your system and gigamap according to micro-, meso-, and macro-level perspectives.

Three horizons

The three horizons model was introduced by McKinsey & Company as the three horizons of growth (McKinsey Quarterly, 2009). The model’s time-bound concepts were called into question by Steve Blank in 2019; however, it remains a useful tool for prioritising innovation (Blank, 2019).

While the original model concentrates on business growth, this is less relevant to public services and societal change and only critically applicable to perspectives of sustainability, circular economy and regenerative systems. However, looking at things from short-term, medium-term and long-term perspectives is useful, especially when combined with a micro-meso-macro scale. It also seems more useful for SOD processes to operate with slightly more detailed four-time scales. Likewise, applying a macro view will tend to look at a limited framing of a system; therefore, we will test four steps in the scale.

These could be arranged in a matrix useful for ensuring that all intersections are investigated.

Empathy is a complex phenomenon

Decoding Empathy is a project of students at the National Institute of Design under Professor Praveen Nahar’s and Sahil Tappa’s guidance. They identified five variables influencing empathy output – imagination, information, inquiry, emotional capacity, and bias – and that adjusting the parameters of the variables can have different outcomes on empathy.

Empathy is the norm in design. We need to understand users’ stakeholders and affected bystanders. Empathy helps us to stand in their shoes and to get a feeling for their perspective.

This we call the HOT perspective.

But the HOT perspective can lead to blindness of how the system works.

We sometimes need to take steps back and observe coldly from a distance, taking a COLD perspective.

The cold perspective relates to objectivism and distance in the scientific “CUDOS” or Mertonian Principles.

Example of a simple way to depict the macro-, meso-, and microscale in the context of a food system. View full size.

Ida Margrethe Sørensen and Marie Frogner, 2019

A matrix is useful for ensuring that all intersections are investigated.

macro meso micro 3H matrix

National Institute of Design, 2019. The Decoding Empathy map was exhibited at RSD8.

Gigamap Empathy 1 for web 1200


Rich Design Research Space

Rich Design Research Space

The rich design research space is an inclusive methodological framework and scaffold for research by design. The rich design research space especially addresses the issue of richness in the design processes and design-led research.

Very Rapid Learning Processes

Very Rapid Learning Processes

Very rapid learning processes (VRLP) is an approach and practice that makes the designer able to enter new areas for design in both a humble and courageous way VRLPs are conducted by designers who use SOD to deal with complexity. It is a technique to learn a new field...