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Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
Design for Social Change
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Design for Social Change

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  • 1. Design for Social Change Howard Silverman www.solvingforpattern.org ISSS 19JUL12 Thanks to:International Society for the Systems Sciences, American Society for Cybernetics, Greg Hill, Ecotrust, Cascade Systems Society, Todd Gilens+Maria D’Agostino, students in the Collaborative Design MFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • 2. Overview of 12 Propositions • introduce terms • explore regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor • consider applications Goal: Draw upon the regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor to develop frameworks for use in “designing for social change.”Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 3. By “design,” I mean to act with intention. (Proposition #1)Herbert Simon: Victor Papanek:“Design ... is concerned with “Design is the conscious efforthow things ought to be.” to impose meaningful order.”Simon, H. 1996. The Sciences of the Artificial. Papanek,V. 1971. Design for the Real World.Third Edition. MIT Press. p.114. Pantheon Books. p.3. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 4. By “design for,” I mean a reflexive process. (Proposition #2)Etienne Wenger:“Learning cannot bedesigned, it can only bedesigned for -- that is,facilitated or frustrated.” Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge U Press. pp.229-30. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 5. (For the purposes of this discussion)I understand “meaningful order” in terms of social-ecological systems, represented as state spaces (or stability landscapes) and shaped by basins of attraction (i.e., regimes). (Proposition #3)Brian Walker et al.:The state space of a system isthe three-dimensional space ofall possible combinations of thevariables that constitute thesystem. Walker, B. et al. 2004. Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Social-Ecological Systems. Ecology and Society 9(2):5. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 6. The regimes-on-a-landscape approach is coherent with other research in complex adaptive systems. (Proposition #4)Brian Arthur: Sewall Wright’s theory of shifting balances: “[P]ositive feedback -increasing returns - make formultiple equilibrium points.” Ellerman, D. 2010. Pragmatism versus Economics IdeologyArthur, W. B. Positive Feedbacks in the Economy. in the Post-Socialist Transition. Real-World EconomicsScientific American, 262:92-99. Review 52:2-27. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 7. Regimes develop as mutually reinforcing sets of factors -- biological, psychological, social, and artifactual -- shaping and shaped by ecological interdependence. (Proposition #5)Transition Management:“[A regime is] a coherentconfiguration of technological,institutional, economic, social,cognitive, and physicalelements and actors withindividual goals, values, andbeliefs.”Holtz, G., et al. 2008. Specifying “Regime” — A Silverman, H., et al. 2012. Resilience & Transformation:Framework for Defining and Describing Regimes in A Regional Approach. Ecotrust.Transition Research. Technological Forecasting andSocial Change 75:623-643. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 8. Based on this holistic (biological, psychological, social,artifactual) understanding of regime configuration acrossmultiple systems, we can examine analogous relationships, e.g., types of resistance to transformation. (Proposition #6) • senses of identity • power, influence, and interests • senses of anxiety • perverse incentives • cognitive denial • technological and infrastructural lock-in • confirmation bias • Kahneman’s “system 1 thinking” • stranded financial capital • addiction and pathology • traps (e.g., rigidity, poverty) • path dependence • Senge’s “success to the successful”Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 9. The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor enables systemic differentiation between adaptation and transformation. (Proposition #7)Adaptability: Transformability:“To learn and adjust responses “To create a fundamentally newso as to continue developing system when ecological,within the current regime.” economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable.” “new ways of making a living”Walker, B. et al. 2006. A handful of heuristics and somepropositions for understanding resilience in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 11(1):13.Folke, C., et al. 2010. Resilience thinking: integratingresilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology andSociety 15(4): 20. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 10. Transformation (“social change”) is indicated by shift a from one regime to another. (Proposition #8)Francis Westley et al.:“Radical innovation originatesin niches: small protectedspaces in which new practicecan develop.” Westley, F., et al. 2011. Tipping Toward Sustainability: Emerging Pathways of Transformation. AMBIO 40:762-780. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 11. The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor can be usefully combined with and compared against other systems approaches. (Proposition #9) Soft Systems Methodology Program Logic Model Transtheoretical Model Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 12. Example 1: Relationships between dominant and alternative regimes reflect a “limits to success” archetype. (Proposition #10) Silverman, H., et al. 2005. Sustainable Food Systems: Working Towards a Fundamental Solution. Ecotrust. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 13. Example 2: The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor can inform the development of opportunities for boundary work. (Proposition #11)Sensemaking across community boundaries Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge U Press. p.105. design: rocketeye.com Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 14. Example 3: The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor can inform the development of visioning processes. (Proposition #12)Visioning that: Versus scenario planning example (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment)• Is developed for social, rather than organizational, contexts;• Prioritizes for the agency of individual and organizational actors;• Focuses on social dilemmas rather than evolutionary uncertainties, per se;• Enables identification of institutional innovations; and• Is spatially explicit. Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org
  • 15. The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor can inform the process of “designing for social change.” (Conclusion) • By “design,” I mean to act with intention. • The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor enables systemic differentiation between adaptation and • By “design for,” I mean a reflexive process. transformation. • (For the purposes of this discussion) I • Transformation (“social change”) is indicated by understand “meaningful order” in terms of shift a from one regime to another. social-ecological systems, represented as state spaces (or stability landscapes) and shaped by • The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor can be basins of attraction (i.e., regimes). usefully combined with and compared against other systems approaches. • The regimes-on-a-landscape approach is coherent with other research in complex • Example 1: Relationships between dominant and adaptive systems. alternative regimes reflect a “limits to success” archetype. • Regimes develop as mutually reinforcing sets of factors -- biological, psychological, social, and • Example 2: The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor artifactual -- shaping and shaped by ecological can inform the development of opportunities for interdependence. boundary work. • Based on this holistic (biological, psychological, • Example 3: The regimes-on-a-landscape metaphor social, artifactual) understanding of regime can inform the development of visioning configuration across multiple systems, we can processes. examine analogous relationships, e.g., types of resistance to transformation.Howard Silverman solvingforpattern.org

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