SOD Communications Framework

A communications framework is central to complex situations and design work. Yet it is in complex situations that we experience communication breakdowns resulting in ruptures and misunderstandings. The SOD communication framework consists of three concepts, discussed below.

SOD communications framework

SOD communications concepts

Internal R&D Project (2014-)

Gigamapping has been shown to have many functions and features beneficial for communication. Communication is central to the expression and features of social systems. There are other channels in social systems like visual communication, body language and information exchange, yet most can be classified as one or the other sort of communication.

In SOD, we have for a long period been researching and developing new concepts, perspectives, tools and practices to reinforce communication.

Bridging Silos

In society today, navigating increasing complexity is one of the major problems in any organisation. Every development project involves multiple partners with different expertise and from different organisations, often referred to as silos. While the collaboration has to be aligned, the bigger problems that need to be addressed are often poorly understood. Typically, this implies fragmented and specialised views of the problems and the lack of a holistic overview and systemic understanding. At the same time, often, the problems that are addressed arise from living systems that change while we are in the process of planning.

This situation is universal and found in most public service organisations, amongst policymakers and in most, if not all, private companies. Communication breakdown is central to this problem. The sheer scale of the problems requires that collaborators have different types of expertise. Expertise is naturally departmentalised. The problems of communication begin within individual departments, between groups and individuals, but they escalate when interdepartmental communication and collaboration are needed. This is widely recognised in discussions about silos (Bannister, 2001; Bundred, 2006; Dell, 2005; Diamond, Stein, & Allcorn, 2002; Serrat, 2017; Stone, 2004).

This paper reports on how this problem is discussed within the context of an innovative workshop design to specifically address communication ruptures. The design combines gigamapping (Sevaldson, 2011) with systemic teamwork coaching (Wettre, 2012). This paper was presented at RSD8 in 2019.

sense sharing

The role of the Gigamap is constantly developing. This process has not been an intentional process but a process of discovery. By looking at some obvious roles of the Gigamap closer new concepts crystallize. This working paper reports on the rethinking of the Gigamap as a tool to design a shared picture of complex systems for systemic design intervention. The role of the Gigamap as bridging device to detect and cover destructive ruptures in the design process
is investigated closer. Investigating the ruptures leads to understanding better the qualitative features the maps depict and how these features can be shared. This leads in the end to a proposal for a Sense Sharing Model.

The issue of bridging and sense sharing is discussed in “Visualizing Complex Design: The Evolution of Gigamaps.”

Sevaldson B. 2018. Visualizing Complex Design: The Evolution of Gigamaps, in P. Jones, K. Kijima (eds.), Systemic Design, Translational Systems Sciences 8, Springer Japan, part of Springer Nature 2018 (pp 243–269)

The paper below is an earlier version of the paper presented at RSD4 in 2015.

Jumping conversations

Jumping conversations are essential when working with complexity. We have been looking at how a gigamap works as a mediation tool. When working with transdisciplinary groups to utilize the different perspectives and competencies that such groups possess, we need to zoom in and out and move between different perspectives in a constant flow. This often leads to people talking past each other, and people start self-silencing to reduce frustration. However, this also causes the group to miss important information and perspectives. The traditional way of working around this is to look at one part at a time using PowerPoint presentations.

Unfortunately, this can prevent participants from seeing connections and how some elements might influence others. We have used our experience to describe how gigamaps and other visual tools help in conducting jumping conversations and using these in ways that are significant and desirable. In this way, we look at gigamapping from a meta-perspective and study how gigamapping affects a transdisciplinary group and will help overcome some of the challenges that occur with such groups when working with complexity.

Andreas Wettre and Palak Dudani presented the paper, Jumping Conversations, at RSD11 2019.


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...