EuroIA 2015

Madrid, 24 – 26 September


Design Tools for Systems Thinking

A workshop by Peter Vermaercke and Koen Peters

In this workshop you will learn about design tools and techniques to solve wicked problems, using Systems Thinking.

Systems Thinking looks at the whole of a system rather than focusing on its individual parts, to better understand complex phenomena. Systems Thinking contrasts with analytic thinking: you solve problems by going deeper, by looking at the greater whole of a system and the relations between its elements, rather than solving individual problems in a linear way via simple cause and effect explanations.

You can apply Systems Thinking principles in different situations: to understand how large organisations function and design for the enterprise (e.g. when you are trying to revamp a large intranet), but also to solve social problems and issues (e.g. unemployment with disadvantaged youth or mobility in larger cities). So basically whenever there is complexity and conflict (of interest) in your project, Systems Thinking will be helpful.

After an introduction to Systems Thinking and its core concepts, we will first explain and practice a few techniques that you as a designer can apply to better understand complex systems, for example creating a System Map and drawing Connection Circles. In the second part of the workshop, we will introduce techniques that help you shape solutions, for example using Paradoxical Thinking for ideation and writing ‘What-if’ Scenarios.

Session takeaways: by the end of this workshop, you will have a better understanding of Systems Thinking and master a number of design tools and techniques to apply Systems Thinking in your projects.

Peter Vermaercke and Koen Peters

Peter Vermaercke

Peter lives and works as a User Experience designer in Brussels, Belgium. He works at Namahn, an allround human-centered design agency. He followed up a Bachelor in Communication Science (Ghent University) with a Masters in Journalism Studies, and a Masters in Innovation Management. Within a wide varieties of interests he focuses on UX design and video, with a sweet spot for where those two fields meet. Peter never leaves the house without a camera and documents his life and work with any camera available.

Koen Peters

Koen is an information architect at Namahn. He is usually working on web and intranet projects for governments, banks, the European Institutions… He is also the internal coach for a number of Namahn designers and organizes Information architecture trainings at Namahn. Koen enjoys discovering cities on a bike and is passionate about singing Bach’s Saint-John’s Passion.

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