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Testimonials: SOD & Gigamapping

SOD testimonial – Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, PhD fellow, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo

For me, systems approach has been most significant as to providing a direction towards interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design. More specifically I use it for bridging biology and architecture in problem solving, I believe systems approach is a powerful way for analogical thinking and connecting fields.

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SOD testimonials from students

SOD Testimonials from Companies & Organizations

RED Consulting

Using a SOD holistic approach gives me the enthusiastic feeling of being sure everything is taken into account when conducting risk assessments and establishing risk management systems.

– Magnus Bjelkerud, RED Consulting AS

Gigamapping used by TPG in consultancy workshops

The workshop was so successful that several said, “best meeting we’ve had.” Participants reported that they have never had open-ended discussions for long periods without derailing. It was a wonderful “maturation” process, and preparations for the gigamapping were appreciated.

Quotes from TPG

  • This has given me a new clarity.
  • Notable items, but now it is clear how complex it all is.
  • Once we get everything down in this way, we see how much information needs there are.
  • It is clear that it is not only about prioritization, but also to ensure sufficient resources.
  • It’s the first time I see it so clearly that we need to work more across the organization.
  • incredibly educational for me. (newly hired)
  • fun day, we are facing a huge task.
  • A good day, the gigamap shows us the complexity and makes us more aware of what we are facing.
  • SOD is a unique method that makes it possible to map (gigamap) the “ecology” of a complex project – technological, human and economic systems. The work makes one able to handle super complexity and results in a common understanding of how things fit together and how they evolve over time.

The Performance Group

The result of a SOD process allows us to recommend appropriate methods and processes for the realization of complex projects. We have actively used and recommended SOD in our own consultancy processes and in projects e.g. for the advanced research organization Simula and for the Norwegian Research Council.

– Andreas Wettre, The Performance Group, Oslo

Norwegian Design Council

The systems oriented design process meets a need in areas where it currently does not exist professional design methodology. As a designer, if you want to get to the big, systemic issues of today, you need systems orient design expertise! Designers in general need to acknowledge the existence of counterintuitive, complex systems, which we are surrounded by at all levels of modern society. Systems oriented design is as an effective tool to tackle and share understanding of complexity, thus making it possible for designers to identify and solve the right problems. With a look to the future, there are huge needs for this kind of design competence – to enable sustainable solutions for businesses, organizations and in policymaking.

– Benedicte Wildhagen, Adviser, Norwegian Design Council

SOD Testimonials from PhD students

The most important and insightful experience to me is “to do not try to model/represent the systems; there must be a problem you want to model/represent and the model/map must have a purpose. These are the two initial conditions I realize one should start from. They act as cut off criteria along the modeling/mapping process guiding/justifying what to include or exclude.

– Rafael Laurenti PhD fellow Royale Institute of Technology, Stockholm

When designing for safety-critical environments like a ship’s bridge, systems thinking is valuable for understanding the situation to be designed for. This involves understanding how human and task factors, organizational and external factors and technological factors affect the current situation, and using this insight in designing new situations.

– Sigrun Lurås, PhD fellow, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo

The work environment of a ship bridge should be seen as a whole, and using a systems approach is one way of handling the complexity of designing such a ship bridge as one integrated unit.

– Helge Tor Kristiansen PhD fellow,
Ålesund University College resident at Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo

For me, systems approach has been most significant as to providing a direction towards interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary design. More specifically I use it for bridging biology and architecture in problem solving, I believe Systems approach is a powerful way for analogical thinking and connecting fields.

– Defne Sunguroglu Hensel, PhD fellow, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo

The gathered material from my fieldwork at Kampen Residential Care+ is going to be analyzed and structured as activities’ by applying the third generation of activity theory (Engeström, 1999). In doing so I am reading the material in a way that interprets the information into goal oriented actions carried out by the included design participators (the elderly living within in the smarthouse building). All the identified and parallel elderly activities are mapped by use of the gigamapping technique to achieve a complex overview of the contextual frame of the elderly’ daily life to inform the further system design process. Thus, by using gigamapping enables me to capture the  technical, social and cultural aspects of the users’ need to better understanding the interpreted activities.

– Anita Woll, PhD fellow, University of Oslo, Oslo

Academic Testimonials

We have integrated the gigamap approach as a practice for system mapping and generative system design at OCAD University. Our graduate course in Understanding Systems and Systemic Design develops a foundation  in systems thinking and theory, and we shift toward social systems and design during the course, where we introduce Gigamapping for formulation of the concepts and research in a team project. Over the last year, we had support from AHO and Dr Sevaldson in delivering an excellent one-day workshop. It has become an essential technique in our pedagogy – if we did not teach gigamapping, we would have had to invent it ourselves!

– Peter Jones, Professor OCAD University, Toronto, Canada

The gigamapping exercise was very appreciated by the students as the first step at an understanding of the complexity and interconnectedness of the design problem. The looseness of the approach makes it flexible to many ways of mapping and presenting the problem. Many students saw their gigamap as the backbone to which they referred to when they made more detailed and causal analyses using system dynamics modelling.

– PhD Candidate and lecturer Sigrid Laurel Östlund, Chalmers University of Technology, Program for Architecture, Gothenburg, Sweden

It seems that the short introduction to gigamapping in our course was very effective in supporting the students to explore the complexity of the task they had in front of them. They started to map out the various aspects in creative and constructive ways. This provided them with a very good starting point for their assignment. However, when they tried to move on from this first brainstorming phase by adding “intelligence” to the giga maps (i.e. turning their maps into systems) it turned out more frustrating. Some of them were stuck in various ways and had to re-start using other perspectives, such as system dynamics.

– Docent Jaan-Henrik Kain, Chalmers University of Technology, Program for Architecture, Gothenburg, Sweden

Gigamapping has the potential to create a wave in the product development world. I see the method particularly useful for teams (e.g. design firm) that go into a company to develop something new. In such situations, it is of course extremely important to quickly gain insight into the context. The method will naturally be equally useful for a business that is planning new products on some uncharted territory. I also believe that the method can be equally useful if your company is looking for major development leaps in known areas. It is then typically needed to redefine the perception of the context; here is the basis for innovations.

– Professor Hans Petter Hildre, dean, Ålesund University College, Ålesund Norway

Gigamapping seems (to me) useful for mapping out the context beyond the product, stakeholders beyond the user, obstacles beyond the most obvious and as an artefact that can facilitate discussions about (often too implicit) issues of importance with clients, users and other stakeholders (i.e. a sort of both a “thinking and boundary object”?). But it’s a risk that students instead use it as a tool/excuse for delaying actual design work and avoiding using a designerly approach to research by applying a too rigorous descriptive approach about how things are while forgetting the more designerly and constructive/visionary approach about how things ought- or could be … i.e. forgetting to also use ‘conjecture/tentative solutions” in order to do the research from the very first day (i.e. and, e.g. also using early concepts and models as “thinking and boundary objects”) Consequently, from a pedagogical perspective, it might therefore need further development in order to address this tension between what seemingly is positive vs what kind of risks that at the same time seems to come with it.

– Professor Håkan Edeholt, Oslo School of Architecture and Design

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About Systems Oriented Design

About Systems Oriented Design

The main mission of SOD is to help designers to become better at dealing with very complex problems. Complex problems are described as problem fields, networks of problems, wicked problems and problematiques.

SOD is open source

SOD is open source

If your project corresponds to all or most of the core parameters, you are welcome to reference it as a SOD project. We would appreciate it if you send us a reference to the project and material to publish on this website.

The Mind Shifts of SOD

The Mind Shifts of SOD

We need to make several small shifts in our understanding to truly grasp systems thinking in general and to start to become systemic designers.

Collaborate-Opportunities

Collaborate-Opportunities

There are opportunities to collaborate with the Master's Studio at the Oslo School of Architecture. Organisations serve as test cases for the students. Collaborations offer an experience with systems oriented design, a deep analysis of the organisation as a system and...