Resources for research, teaching, and training

Systemic design resources have developed over time. They include methodologies, methods, and frameworks to support design approaches and techniques. For example, the gigamap methodology, developed by Birger Sevaldson at AHO, and its sister modelling method, the synthesis map, have distinguished designerly approaches from systems analysis methods. RSD has hosted exhibitions of mapping works from graduate students and advanced practice. The collections are available at*

Presenting work at RSD is a way to gain feedback from the home community of practice. It has been the inspiration and first launch site for many new resources that enable and accelerate systems methods for advanced design. Many of these tools have an associated presentation marking the launch or initial presentation of the work. The featured resources on this page are uniquely associated with their launch or development at RSD and have continued in development for research, teaching and training.

Please contact SDA if you would like to post or share a tool (or research frameworks) in development that has not yet been published (*or if your gigamap is missing from the RSD proceedings).



Gigamapping is a systems-oriented design technique that uses super-extensive mapping across multiple layers and scales to construct a rich picture of real-life complexity. Gigamaps are system maps that both facilitate the early stages of a complex design inquiry and provide final form artifacts for reflection or implementation for social and technical systems.

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from the archives

RSD9 – The Roots of Systemic Oriented Design


Systemic Design Toolkit

Designed by Kristel Van Ael (Namahn) and developed by an SDA team for public and training versions, the toolkit is a collection of over 40 canvases assigned to design actions in a seven-stage co-creation methodology to engage organisational and societal complexity.

Kristel and Peter Jones are publishing a handbook using the Toolkit in early 2022.

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from the archives

State of the Art Practice: Are we ready for systemic design toolkits?



SystemViz explores how visuals can enhance systems thinking, especially as it relates to inter-disciplinary, collaborative design. Findings are expressed as visual codexes and other applied tools.

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from the archives

RSD8 – Visualizing Systems: Applying Good Practices from the SystemViz Project


Synthesis Mapping

Synthesis mapping produces high-quality representations of insights drawn from research evidence. It presents visual models of systemic patterns discovered through multidisciplinary observations. It communicates to stakeholders and interested observers the processes, interventions, and possible strategies and policy interventions in a complex system. Synthesis maps are typically designed as communicative artefacts that translate multiple knowledge perspectives about social systems to illustrate the dilemmas and challenges within a complex system scenario.

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from the archives

Maps presented at RSD

dialogic design illustration

Dialogic Design Methodology

Structured Dialogic Design provides the basis for a methodology, based on dialogic design science, uniquely developed over a forty-year history of refinement in the crucible of civic and public sector and corporate applications.  As co-creation approaches have become central to the systemic design, service design, and participatory design practices, with SDD we have developed a practice theory for collaborative efficacy that enables the selection and modification of methods to contexts.

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from the RSD archives

RSD2 – Language Patterns of Systemic Design: Designing with Dialogue

Flourishing model

Flourishing Enterprise Model

Ontology and Framework – From Upward and Jones (2016) An Ontology for Strongly Sustainable Business Models: Defining an Enterprise Framework Compatible With Natural and Social Science.

The ontology is intended to be broadly applicable to the sustainability and societal concerns of human enterprises (including business), social and environmental scientists, and society and to be directly applicable as a reference model for formulating business models for enterprises consistent with scientific knowledge of sustainability and organizational management.

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from the archives

RSD3 – Caring for the Future: The Systemic Design of Flourishing Enterprises

Systemci Mapping process


From Juan de la Rosa, Stan Ruecker, & Carolina Giraldo Nohora (2021), Systemic Mapping and Design Research: Towards Participatory Democratic Engagement (She Ji, 7(2).

The RSD8 authors present a fraemwork developed series of contemporary experimental practices grounded in participatory, community-based action, all of which seek to produce a better generalized understanding of possible collective futures. A model (Figure 2) proposes a series of intentionally displaced prototypes during the research phase of the design process. This tool helps designers to produce information on ideas of preferred future states. The idea of displacement is central to the model. It recommends intentionally focusing the design work at the periphery of the initial problem definition.

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from the archives

RSD8 – Systemic Design for Democratic Engagement


The Systemic Design Association will send you quarterly updates on systemic design and activities in the SDA network. During the annual Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD) Symposium timeframe SDA will send brief updates related to RSD keynotes, papers, and workshops.

RSD11 event updates, program content, and proceedings are posted on