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Visualizing for Systems

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Visualizing for Systems

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How game design and data visualization can help in systems design: understanding and making changes in complex systems. Examples look at food access / deserts, podcasts, COVID, the US labor system, and the tech industry. Adapted from a talk for a systems design course.

Views my own and not of employer or other organization.

Creative commons image credits:
- Cook-Anderson, Gretchen. “Snapshots from Space Cultivate Fans among Midwest Farmers.” NASA, NASA, 16 Sept. 2009, https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/farmer_imagery.html.
- "Cooking" by omefrans is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0: https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/e32f7eed-66a4-4b06-82c3-2c313f28fd9f
- "Construction worker for the Panama Canal expansion project" by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/0cdd65a3-500c-4fae-9a69-242ea29b261c/
- “Screenshots.” OpenTTD, OpenTTD, https://www.openttd.org/screenshots.

How game design and data visualization can help in systems design: understanding and making changes in complex systems. Examples look at food access / deserts, podcasts, COVID, the US labor system, and the tech industry. Adapted from a talk for a systems design course.

Views my own and not of employer or other organization.

Creative commons image credits:
- Cook-Anderson, Gretchen. “Snapshots from Space Cultivate Fans among Midwest Farmers.” NASA, NASA, 16 Sept. 2009, https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/farmer_imagery.html.
- "Cooking" by omefrans is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0: https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/e32f7eed-66a4-4b06-82c3-2c313f28fd9f
- "Construction worker for the Panama Canal expansion project" by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/0cdd65a3-500c-4fae-9a69-242ea29b261c/
- “Screenshots.” OpenTTD, OpenTTD, https://www.openttd.org/screenshots.

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Visualizing for Systems

  1. 1. Systems action through game, systems, and information design. Visualizing For Systems
  2. 2. > About Me Understanding Action Coming Together We believe in a safe, sustainable, ethical approach to protein, fit for a 21st century food system.
  3. 3. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Information design helps us understand systems.
  4. 4. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together What information design (visualization) provides. Contextualization of findings: We can (and should) talk to people to understand how COVID impacted their finances but we can also see how those conversations fit into a broader narrative. Link.
  5. 5. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together What information design (visualization) provides. Understanding subgroups: We can (and should) talk to people in tech to understand their experience but we can also look top down to understand how happy different disciplines are and what factors drive that happiness. Link.
  6. 6. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together What information design (visualization) provides. Comparison between groups: We can (and should) talk to people to understand how what people think of when they think of their health but we can also listen at scale. Link.
  7. 7. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together What information design (visualization) provides. Connection to data: We can (and should) talk to people about what is pushing them to one degree versus another but we can also see those experiences in the aggregate. Link.
  8. 8. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together What information design (visualization) provides. Situating in time: Data provide a way to situate experiences in a broader context. Link.
  9. 9. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Information design helps us understand systems. ?
  10. 10. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Systems design and systems understanding. In Einstein’s time this is how far science had got. We could do really small problems with a few objects, with simple interactions, or you could do huge problems with millions of objects and simple interactions. But what about everything in the middle? …. Now, this middle region is where complexity science lies and this is what I mean by complex. Now, unfortunately, almost every single problem you can think of to do with human behavior lies in this middle region. Hannah Fry, Is Life Really That Complex?
  11. 11. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Systems design and systems understanding. Kim Reas / Periscopic US Gun Deaths Link
  12. 12. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Systems design and systems understanding. Ben Fry / Fathom, GE Annual Reports Link
  13. 13. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Systems design and systems understanding. Jonathan Harris, We Feel Fine
  14. 14. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Systems design and systems understanding. One more example. Link.
  15. 15. About Me > Understanding Action Coming Together Data + Anthropological Methods My user centered design course focused on one person (watch how someone makes latkes). My information design course focused on stories in aggregate (who is producing food?). Increasingly, there’s an intersection between these different disciplines where qualitative and quantitative understanding combine.
  16. 16. About Me Understanding > Action Coming Together What about taking action?
  17. 17. About Me Understanding > Action Coming Together Let’s go back to 1999 The two best selling games were… SimCity 3000 Roller Coaster Tycoon
  18. 18. About Me Understanding > Action Coming Together Efforts to make these into decision making tools. SimHealth SimRefinery
  19. 19. About Me Understanding > Action Coming Together More recent examples… Forio: Supply Chain Enroads: Climate Change CalAdapt: Sea Level Rise GOM: Ocean Health
  20. 20. About Me Understanding > Action Coming Together Why game design? Games are very good at creating inclusive collaborative spaces where action can be taken by many and the consequence understood quickly. Game design has had a lot of time to think about how to build fluency in complexity.
  21. 21. About Me Understanding Action > Coming Together Let’s go deep on a final example… We are going to take a deeper look at food deserts and how data + info + game design work to create understanding and action. Link.
  22. 22. About Me Understanding Action > Coming Together Let’s go deep on a final example… Moving from measuring solutions to questioning desirability and values.
  23. 23. Finishing up… Some jobs at https://theeverycompany.com/join Open for collabs! Some toys at https://gleap.org.
  24. 24. Thanks!
  25. 25. Ajami, Amer. “1999's Best-Selling Games.” GameSpot, Gamespot, 27 Apr. 2000, https://www.gamespot.com/articles/1999s-best-selling-games/1100-2446252/. “Ben Fry.” Arts at MIT, MIT, 17 July 2017, https://arts.mit.edu/cast/symposia/being-material/participants/ben-fry/. Bonnington, Christina. “RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic Is Here; BRB While We Recreate Our Childhood.” The Daily Dot, DailyDot, 25 May 2021, https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/rollercoaster-tycoon-classic-app/. Brown, Mark. “Can We Improve Tutorials for Complex Games?” Game Maker's Toolkit, YouTube, 31 May 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GV814cWiAw. Cheung, Joanne. “Natural Language Processing: A New Way to Listen to People about Health.” Medium, IDEO CoLab, 17 Aug. 2020, https://medium.com/ideo-colab/natural-language-processing-a-new-way-to-listen-to-people-about-health-8cfe9bece1ce. Cook-Anderson, Gretchen. “Snapshots from Space Cultivate Fans among Midwest Farmers.” NASA, NASA, 16 Sept. 2009, https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/farmer_imagery.html. “En-Roads Climate Scenario.” En-Roads, Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, Mar. 2022, https://en-roads.climateinteractive.org/scenario.html?v=22.3.0. Essmaker, Tina. “Jonathan Harris on the Great Discontent (TGD).” The Great Discontent (TGD), The Great Discontent, 15 July 2014, https://thegreatdiscontent.com/interview/jonathan-harris/. “GA Annual Reports.” Work, Fathom Information Design, https://fathom.info/reports/. Gutierrez, Andriana, et al. “Global Supply Chain.” Our Work, Forio, https://forio.com/work/harvard-global-supply-chain-simulation/. Sources
  26. 26. Sources Hardt, Maria-Xenia. “Kim Rees on Data Visualization: There's a Story in Every Piece of Data.” International Symposium on Online Journalism, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 28 May 2013, https://isoj.org/kim-rees-on-data-visualization-theres-a-story-in-every-piece-of-data/. Harris, Jonathan. “We Feel Fine.” Number 27 - The Work of Jonathan Harris, Johnathan Harris, 2006, https://number27.org/wefeelfine. “OceanViz.” Global Ocean Modelling, Lenfest Ocean Program, https://www.globaloceanmodelling.org/visualizations/oceanviz. omefrans. “Cooking.” Openverse, Wordpress.org, 11 May 2010, https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/e32f7eed-66a4-4b06-82c3-2c313f28fd9f. PacificCuda. “SimCity 3000 How-to Let's Play Series Preview ... - Youtube.” PacificCuda, YouTube, 29 Aug. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f43PUFEIpQg. Pells, Rachael. “Pigeons Help Explain the Awesome Power of Maths in the Christmas Lectures.” Inews.co.uk, Associated Newspapers Limited, 23 Dec. 2019, https://inews.co.uk/news/science/christmas-lectures-dr-hannah-fry-pigeons-ai-maths-378516. Radke, John, et al. “Sea Level Rise.” CalAdapt, Geospatial Innovation Facility at the University of California, Berkeley, Jan. 2017, https://cal-adapt.org/tools/slr-calflod-3d/. Rees, Kim. “United States Gun Death Data Visualization by Periscopic.” U.S. Gun Deaths, Periscopic, https://guns.periscopic.com/. Salvador, Phil. “When Simcity Got Serious: The Story of Maxis Business Simulations and Simrefinery.” The Obscuritory, Phil Salvador, 19 May 2020, https://obscuritory.com/sim/when-simcity-got-serious/. “Screenshots.” OpenTTD, OpenTTD, https://www.openttd.org/screenshots. World Bank. “WordPress.org.” Openverse, Wordpress.org, 13 June 2012, https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/0cdd65a3-500c-4fae-9a69-242ea29b261c.

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