Beyond Design: A Systems Approach

July 12, 20195:00 pm5:50 pm
“I get the why for the social justice work we need to do. The question is really the how.”

If that’s a statement you find yourself making, you may enjoy this session which is focused on how to solve social issues in your community or city (not why you need to do so). So many of us have started an initiative or program to address a problem in our city, county, or community, only to see the problem reappear after it was solved. Or solving the problem created 3 more like a weird game of “whack-a-mole.” Or the very intervention or solution you tried actually made the problem worse.

Many of us thought introduction of design thinking or human-centered design into community and international development might be the magic touch or “silver bullet” that would help us reduce and eliminate all of our social problems, but that did not happen. The problem is that design thinking is great at specific problems with profit-making potential but not sufficient for interconnected systems of relationships and forces like you might find in a social community or city in areas like health, education, etc.

If you want to know how to choose and implement the most effective and useful intervention to solve a social ill in your community, you need a systems thinking approach. We will introduce you to a robust systems practice. You’ll learn how you can gain clarity about a particular system, map it, and then through analysis determine the highest-impact leverage points in the system in order to act strategically and unlock positive change within the system. This will allow you to address the actual underlying, root, systemic causes of the problems you are facing. Then once you have performed some intervention you will continue to adapt and learn, remapping the system as it changes in response to your actions as well as the actions of everyone in the system.

Even (social) justice needs to be strategic. With a proper mapping of the system, it can definitely can be.

12:00 am Victor Udoewa
12:00 am Bianca Flokstra