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Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Designing for Emergence

Framework for Relating Systems Thinking & Design
Greg Van Alstyne @gregvan

Robert K. Logan @logan1939

Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) 

OCAD University

RSD5 Symposium

Toronto, 15 Oct 2016

Image: flickr.com/photos/andy-li/
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Purposes
How might we better understand,
support and lead positive change
by integrating human-centred
mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets?

Toward this end we’ve built practice
& theory, following our 2007 paper.
We propose this framework for 

relating systems & design: 

Designing for Emergence

Van Alstyne & Logan (2007). 

Designing for Emergence and Innovation: 

Redesigning Design. Artifact, 1(2), 120-129. 

doi:10.1080/17493460601110525
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Purposes
We seek to foster Flourishing
Access to Opportunity 

Inclusion, Equity 

Social Justice, Community & outcomes 

like the Millennium Development Goals

And to find, frame, forge opportunities
such as

Millennium Project Challenges

49 Continuous Critical Problems

http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/ 

http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/challenges.html 

https://predicament-retrospective.wikispaces.com/49+Critical+Problems 

1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty

2. Achieve Universal Primary Education

3. Promote Gender Equality, Empower Women

4. Reduce Child Mortality

5. Improve Maternal Health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria & other diseases

7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability

8. Develop Global Partnership for Developm’t.
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
What is design?
Design is an intentional, human,
creative process, and its product.
Design guides propagation of organization.
Design is creation for reproduction.
(About the authors: 

Van Alstyne:	 designer > complexity geek 

Logan:	 physicist > media ecologist)
Definitions
What is emergence?
A process in which novel forms and
behaviours arise (morphogenesis)
through interaction of elements in
complex systems—physical,
biological, economic, social, hybrid. 

Such patterns surprise & puzzle us
with their properties that are not
present in the elements, & invisible
to reductionist methods.

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904, Actiniae sea anemones
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
Emergence occurs…
At varying scales and in different
excitable media

macro: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

meso:	 La Ola (‘Mexican Wave’)

micro:	 Giant termite cathedrals
Farkas, Helbing, Vices
(2002) “Mexican waves in
an excitable medium,”
Nature, 419.
James Popple, ‘magnetic’
termite mounds, Australia
Jupiter, NASA.
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
Emergence occurs…
In living, non-living, & hybrid systems

macro: The Internet of Everything

meso:	 Artificial life

micro:	 Biological evolution
Laurens Lapre,
members.ziggo.nl/
laurens.lapre/
Carl Woese, rRNA Tree
of Life, lovecraftianscience.
wordpress.com
Barrett Lyon, 

The Opte Project, opte.org
Implications
Games and play are emergent
For Eberle (2014), play is
“an ancient, voluntary, ‘emergent’
process driven by pleasure… 

“that yet strengthens our muscles, instructs our
social skills, tempers and deepens our positive
emotions, and enables a state of balance
that leaves us poised to play some more.”
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Conway, Game of Life

Video: Luk4s Apps
Lovelock, Daisyworld

https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=I47vhzErOCE
Institute for the Future

Foresight Engine 

https://vimeo.com/26177285
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
Emergence is


…where systems 

thinking is going…
Goldstein, 1999, 55
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
Innovation and emergence
“Innovation is an idea, practice or
object that is perceived as new by an
individual or other unit of adoption”

–Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations
From theories of Gestalt, cognition,
and mind, perception is emergent. 

Since innovation refers to
our perception of change,
Innovation is emergent
flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/4370352638 Vivotech, Inc.
flickr.com/photos/
osterwalder/162282102/
flickr.com/photos/
pagedooley/4370352638
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
Innovation is “the new normal”
“Diffusion is the process in which an
innovation is communicated through
certain channels over time among
members of a social system”

–Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations
This process occurs 

via networks
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

File:Diffusionofideas.PNG
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Definitions
What is supervention?
A philosophical concept describing
cases where the higher-level
properties of a system are
determined by its lower-level
properties.
Supervention
Image: Elembis
Mindsets
Systems thinking

“From parts to the whole

From objects to relationships

From objective 

to contextual knowledge

From quantity to quality

From structure to process

From contents to patterns”

—Capra et al., ecoliteracy.org/nature-our-teacher/systems-thinking

“Patterns cannot be weighed or
measured, they must be mapped”



—Fritjof Capra
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
http://asterion.rockefeller.edu/marcelo/Leaves/
Mindsets
Flourishing
“A workable metaphor for the bundle
of things that make life worth living…

“[Flourishing] is emergent from
the ever-changing world; it appears
universally in all cultures and applies
to both… cultures (human) and
ecosystems (non-human).” 

—John Ehrenfeld
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Malene Thyssen, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Malene
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Mindsets
From things to services
“Think about…consequences…

Consider material & energy flows…

Give priority to human agency…

Deliver value to people, not 

…people to systems…

Treat place, time, & cultural
difference as positive values, not as
obstacles;

Focus on services, not on things…”

—John Thackara, In the Bubble, 2006 calls for “design mindfulness”
Federico Díaz, Sembion CC BY-SA 3.0
https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/cube-creations
Precedents : Experiments, models, works
1936	 Turing Finite State Machine

1943	 McCulloch and Pitts Neuron model

1945	 Weiner anti-aircraft gun

1940s	 von Neumann Cellular automata

1945	 Bush Memex

1948	 Walter Machina Speculatrix

1960s 	 U. Michigan BACH group models

1964 	 McLuhan Extended Man

1971	 Forrester World Dynamics 

1975 	 Holland Genetic Algorithms

1983 	 Lovelock Gaian Daisyworld

1986 	 Reynolds Boids algorithm

1991 	 Dorigo Ant colony algorithms

1993 	 Venge Singularity

1999 	 UC Berkeley SETI@home

2000 	 Stanford Protein Folding@home

2002 	 JAMSTEC Earth Simulator

2003 	 Mabbitt Codefarm Genetic Algorithms

2007 	 Sterling Spimes

2008 	 Wright Spore
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Source: Greg Van Alstyne, 2008

On the Role of Digital Media in Striving for Sustainability
Thesis, MS in Integrated Digital Media,
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Flocking birds, Reynolds’s boids
greenkert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eZJnbDHIg
Arenas
Craig Reynolds, 1986, Boids simulation
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Analysis
Similarities
Design and emergence

Propagation of organization 

Concerned with selection 

Differentiation from generality 

Morphogenesis: birth of forms
Differences
Design	 Emergence

Cognitive	 A-cognitive

Intentionality 	 Autonomy

Controlling 	 Influencing 

Specifying	 Evolving

Top-down 	 Bottom-up
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Arenas
D4E in networked services
Google PageRank algorithm

Amazon recommender system

Twitter hashtags

Flickr & del.icio.us tags

http://www.amazon.com/gp/yourstore/
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
High visibility arenas (wet & dry)
Industrial ecology 

Biomimetics

Synthetic biology

Social media

Gaming 

Hacking 

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial life, genetic algorithms (GAs)

Virtual & augmented reality (VR, AR)

Arenas
algorithmicbotany.org 

University of Calgary
Pokemon Go, 

Niantic, 2016
Metaverse Roadmap 

metaverseroadmap.org/
Arenas
Emergence of the unwanted
It is not simply the case that 

“What is good emerges and 

what emerges is good” 

Epidemics 

Pandemics 

Terrorism 

Social panic

Invasive species

Toxic algae

[…]

Toxic algal bloom, Lake Erie, 2011. NASA Earth Observatory

Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Practice: mitigating the unintended
Emergence does not preclude
gaming the system
Gerrymandering

Google bombing

Astroturfing

Spam

Bots

Viruses

Exploits

[…]

http://www.google.com/search?q=failure
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Practice: design principles
Relinquish total control.
“In order to harvest the power
of organic machines, we have to
instil in them guidelines and self-
governance, and relinquish some
of our total control.”

–author, Kevin Kelly
Balance creativity & stability.
“Every human organization
contains both designed and
emergent structures. The challenge
is to find the right balance between
the creativity of emergence and
the stability of design.”

–physicist, sustainability proponent, Fritjof Capra
Hack to adapt.
“Yearning for simple ecosystems is
endemic among people who want to
‘fix’ some problem of bad actors on
the networks… We are proud
parasites… we hack our cars and we
hack our PCs. We’re the rich humus
carpeting the jungle floor and the tiny
frogs living in the bromeliads.”

–science fiction author, IP activist, Corey Doctorow
Give up strong derivability.
“Give up ‘strong derivability’, learn to
harness emergence and live with the
uncertainty that comes with it.” 

–synthetic biologist, Norman Packard
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Theory: seeking causes
“Works in practice, not in theory”
—oft-said comment about Wikipedia
Dynamic interplay between design
and emergence, seen through social
networks, is increasingly theorized:

Christakis, Connected 

Barabasi, Linked 

Shirky, Here Comes Everybody

Surowiecki, Wisdom of Crowds

Howe, Crowdsourcing

Anderson, The Long Tail; Free 

Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

Rheingold, Smartmobs
Design principles
McLuhan’s Reversal of cause & effect
Artists start with desired effects they wish
to create and assemble the causes that will
help achieve them. 

As the future does not exist, it must be
created, and its emergence subject to
influences

We start with the future we desire and
work backwards to design causes and
contexts that lead where we wish.
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Design Principles
Shearing layers / Pace layers
Architect Frank Duffy’s idea of
shearing layers is explored
by Stewart Brand, first in How
Buildings Learn, 1994, and later is
developed as Pace Layering in
The Clock of the Long Now, 1999
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Projects
Visualizing Emergence
Trevor Haldenby et al.,
authored a scenario centred
on a future firm, Byologyc, in
their alternative reality game
(ARG), ZED.TO 

Trevor Haldenby, 2013, Bringing the Future to Life

Haldenby & Van Alstyne
analyzed Twitter activity,
producing evidence for
exceptional audience
engagement in transmedia 

With funding support from NCE GRAND
Strategic Innovation Lab
(est. 2008)
sLab at OCAD University is a
centre for foresight and innovation
research and development. 

Rooted in a heritage of design
& social engagement, sLab’s
approach places human needs,
desires, behaviour & culture at
the heart of:

‣ opportunity finding	 foresight

‣ opportunity framing 	 strategy

‣ opportunity forging	 design
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) at OCAD University
Creating a new kind of designer/change-maker, mapping & tackling complexity,
shaping futures, understanding change, leading innovation
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Selected sLab Projects
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
DesignJam
Creative business & design skills for
young startups & social ventures (ONE)

Digital Governance
Bringing digital culture to Canadian
government (SSHRC)

Visualizing Emergence
Understanding diffusion of innovation
through data visualization (NCE–GRAND)

Imagining Canada’s Future 

Expert Panel on Urbanization
Top ten future challenges for Canada’s
Social Sciences & Humanities (SSHRC)

2020 Media Futures
Strategic Foresight for Ontario’s
Cultural Media Industries (OMDC)

What is Foresight?
Orientation video for 

Policy Horizons Canada 

Economic Futures for Ontario 2032
Citizen-centred foresight project
for the Government of Ontario 

United Way Centraid Canada
(UWCC) Strategic Plan
Guiding Canada’s largest
philanthropic organization

http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/
Strategic Innovation Lab OCAD University
http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Selected sLab Projects
Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Digital Governance
SSHRC Partnership Development Grant

Bringing digital culture to parliament

Visualizing Emergence
Understanding innovation
through data visualization

SSHRC: Imagining Canada’s Future,
Expert Panel on Urbanization
Top ten future challenges for Canada’s
Social Sciences & Humanities

Access for All
Inclusive Design online training
for Ontario’s Public Employees

2020 Media Futures
Strategic Foresight for Ontario’s Cultural
Media Industries 

What is Foresight?
Orientation video for 

Policy Horizons Canada 

Economic Futures for Ontario 2032
Ontarian-Centred Foresight Project for the
Government of Ontario 

United Way Centraid Canada
(UWCC) Strategic Plan
Guiding Canada’s largest
philanthropic organization

http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/
Strategic Innovation Lab OCAD University
Designing for Emergence: The New Design Space
Greg Van Alstyne & Bob Logan

slab.ocadu.ca

@ocadslab

Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
Image: Van Alstyne & Logan, (cc) 2016

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Greg Van Alstyne and Dr Robert K Logan: Designing for Emergence : Integrating Systems & Design

  • 1. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Designing for Emergence Framework for Relating Systems Thinking & Design Greg Van Alstyne @gregvan Robert K. Logan @logan1939 Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) OCAD University RSD5 Symposium Toronto, 15 Oct 2016 Image: flickr.com/photos/andy-li/
  • 2. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Purposes How might we better understand, support and lead positive change by integrating human-centred mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets? Toward this end we’ve built practice & theory, following our 2007 paper. We propose this framework for 
 relating systems & design: Designing for Emergence
 Van Alstyne & Logan (2007). Designing for Emergence and Innovation: 
 Redesigning Design. Artifact, 1(2), 120-129. doi:10.1080/17493460601110525
  • 3. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Purposes We seek to foster Flourishing Access to Opportunity Inclusion, Equity Social Justice, Community & outcomes like the Millennium Development Goals And to find, frame, forge opportunities such as Millennium Project Challenges 49 Continuous Critical Problems http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/ 
 http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/challenges.html https://predicament-retrospective.wikispaces.com/49+Critical+Problems 1. Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty 2. Achieve Universal Primary Education 3. Promote Gender Equality, Empower Women 4. Reduce Child Mortality 5. Improve Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria & other diseases 7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability 8. Develop Global Partnership for Developm’t.
  • 4. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions What is design? Design is an intentional, human, creative process, and its product. Design guides propagation of organization. Design is creation for reproduction. (About the authors: Van Alstyne: designer > complexity geek Logan: physicist > media ecologist)
  • 5. Definitions What is emergence? A process in which novel forms and behaviours arise (morphogenesis) through interaction of elements in complex systems—physical, biological, economic, social, hybrid.  Such patterns surprise & puzzle us with their properties that are not present in the elements, & invisible to reductionist methods. Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904, Actiniae sea anemones Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 6. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions Emergence occurs… At varying scales and in different excitable media macro: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot meso: La Ola (‘Mexican Wave’)
 micro: Giant termite cathedrals Farkas, Helbing, Vices (2002) “Mexican waves in an excitable medium,” Nature, 419. James Popple, ‘magnetic’ termite mounds, Australia Jupiter, NASA.
  • 7. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions Emergence occurs… In living, non-living, & hybrid systems macro: The Internet of Everything meso: Artificial life
 micro: Biological evolution Laurens Lapre, members.ziggo.nl/ laurens.lapre/ Carl Woese, rRNA Tree of Life, lovecraftianscience. wordpress.com Barrett Lyon, 
 The Opte Project, opte.org
  • 8. Implications Games and play are emergent For Eberle (2014), play is “an ancient, voluntary, ‘emergent’ process driven by pleasure… “that yet strengthens our muscles, instructs our social skills, tempers and deepens our positive emotions, and enables a state of balance that leaves us poised to play some more.” Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Conway, Game of Life Video: Luk4s Apps Lovelock, Daisyworld https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=I47vhzErOCE Institute for the Future
 Foresight Engine https://vimeo.com/26177285
  • 9. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions Emergence is 
 …where systems 
 thinking is going… Goldstein, 1999, 55
  • 10. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions Innovation and emergence “Innovation is an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption” –Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations From theories of Gestalt, cognition, and mind, perception is emergent. Since innovation refers to our perception of change, Innovation is emergent flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/4370352638 Vivotech, Inc. flickr.com/photos/ osterwalder/162282102/ flickr.com/photos/ pagedooley/4370352638
  • 11. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions Innovation is “the new normal” “Diffusion is the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system” –Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations This process occurs 
 via networks commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
 File:Diffusionofideas.PNG
  • 12. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Definitions What is supervention? A philosophical concept describing cases where the higher-level properties of a system are determined by its lower-level properties. Supervention Image: Elembis
  • 13. Mindsets Systems thinking “From parts to the whole From objects to relationships From objective 
 to contextual knowledge From quantity to quality From structure to process From contents to patterns” —Capra et al., ecoliteracy.org/nature-our-teacher/systems-thinking “Patterns cannot be weighed or measured, they must be mapped” 
 —Fritjof Capra Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence http://asterion.rockefeller.edu/marcelo/Leaves/
  • 14. Mindsets Flourishing “A workable metaphor for the bundle of things that make life worth living… “[Flourishing] is emergent from the ever-changing world; it appears universally in all cultures and applies to both… cultures (human) and ecosystems (non-human).” —John Ehrenfeld Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Malene Thyssen, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Malene
  • 15. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Mindsets From things to services “Think about…consequences… Consider material & energy flows… Give priority to human agency… Deliver value to people, not 
 …people to systems… Treat place, time, & cultural difference as positive values, not as obstacles; Focus on services, not on things…” —John Thackara, In the Bubble, 2006 calls for “design mindfulness” Federico Díaz, Sembion CC BY-SA 3.0 https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/cube-creations
  • 16. Precedents : Experiments, models, works 1936 Turing Finite State Machine 1943 McCulloch and Pitts Neuron model 1945 Weiner anti-aircraft gun 1940s von Neumann Cellular automata 1945 Bush Memex 1948 Walter Machina Speculatrix 1960s U. Michigan BACH group models 1964 McLuhan Extended Man 1971 Forrester World Dynamics 1975 Holland Genetic Algorithms 1983 Lovelock Gaian Daisyworld 1986 Reynolds Boids algorithm 1991 Dorigo Ant colony algorithms 1993 Venge Singularity 1999 UC Berkeley SETI@home 2000 Stanford Protein Folding@home 2002 JAMSTEC Earth Simulator 2003 Mabbitt Codefarm Genetic Algorithms 2007 Sterling Spimes 2008 Wright Spore Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Source: Greg Van Alstyne, 2008
 On the Role of Digital Media in Striving for Sustainability Thesis, MS in Integrated Digital Media, Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  • 17. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Flocking birds, Reynolds’s boids greenkert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eZJnbDHIg Arenas Craig Reynolds, 1986, Boids simulation
  • 18. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Analysis Similarities Design and emergence Propagation of organization Concerned with selection Differentiation from generality Morphogenesis: birth of forms Differences Design Emergence Cognitive A-cognitive Intentionality Autonomy Controlling Influencing Specifying Evolving Top-down Bottom-up
  • 19. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Arenas D4E in networked services Google PageRank algorithm Amazon recommender system Twitter hashtags Flickr & del.icio.us tags http://www.amazon.com/gp/yourstore/
  • 20. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence High visibility arenas (wet & dry) Industrial ecology Biomimetics Synthetic biology Social media Gaming Hacking Artificial intelligence (AI) Artificial life, genetic algorithms (GAs) Virtual & augmented reality (VR, AR) Arenas algorithmicbotany.org University of Calgary Pokemon Go, 
 Niantic, 2016 Metaverse Roadmap metaverseroadmap.org/
  • 21. Arenas Emergence of the unwanted It is not simply the case that “What is good emerges and what emerges is good” Epidemics Pandemics Terrorism Social panic Invasive species Toxic algae […] Toxic algal bloom, Lake Erie, 2011. NASA Earth Observatory Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 22. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Practice: mitigating the unintended Emergence does not preclude gaming the system Gerrymandering Google bombing Astroturfing Spam Bots Viruses Exploits […] http://www.google.com/search?q=failure
  • 23. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Practice: design principles Relinquish total control. “In order to harvest the power of organic machines, we have to instil in them guidelines and self- governance, and relinquish some of our total control.” –author, Kevin Kelly Balance creativity & stability. “Every human organization contains both designed and emergent structures. The challenge is to find the right balance between the creativity of emergence and the stability of design.” –physicist, sustainability proponent, Fritjof Capra Hack to adapt. “Yearning for simple ecosystems is endemic among people who want to ‘fix’ some problem of bad actors on the networks… We are proud parasites… we hack our cars and we hack our PCs. We’re the rich humus carpeting the jungle floor and the tiny frogs living in the bromeliads.” –science fiction author, IP activist, Corey Doctorow Give up strong derivability. “Give up ‘strong derivability’, learn to harness emergence and live with the uncertainty that comes with it.” –synthetic biologist, Norman Packard
  • 24. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Theory: seeking causes “Works in practice, not in theory” —oft-said comment about Wikipedia Dynamic interplay between design and emergence, seen through social networks, is increasingly theorized: Christakis, Connected Barabasi, Linked Shirky, Here Comes Everybody Surowiecki, Wisdom of Crowds Howe, Crowdsourcing Anderson, The Long Tail; Free Benkler, The Wealth of Networks Rheingold, Smartmobs
  • 25. Design principles McLuhan’s Reversal of cause & effect Artists start with desired effects they wish to create and assemble the causes that will help achieve them. As the future does not exist, it must be created, and its emergence subject to influences We start with the future we desire and work backwards to design causes and contexts that lead where we wish. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 26. Design Principles Shearing layers / Pace layers Architect Frank Duffy’s idea of shearing layers is explored by Stewart Brand, first in How Buildings Learn, 1994, and later is developed as Pace Layering in The Clock of the Long Now, 1999 Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 27. Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Projects Visualizing Emergence Trevor Haldenby et al., authored a scenario centred on a future firm, Byologyc, in their alternative reality game (ARG), ZED.TO Trevor Haldenby, 2013, Bringing the Future to Life Haldenby & Van Alstyne analyzed Twitter activity, producing evidence for exceptional audience engagement in transmedia With funding support from NCE GRAND
  • 28. Strategic Innovation Lab (est. 2008) sLab at OCAD University is a centre for foresight and innovation research and development. Rooted in a heritage of design & social engagement, sLab’s approach places human needs, desires, behaviour & culture at the heart of: ‣ opportunity finding foresight ‣ opportunity framing strategy ‣ opportunity forging design Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 29. MDes in Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) at OCAD University Creating a new kind of designer/change-maker, mapping & tackling complexity, shaping futures, understanding change, leading innovation Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence
  • 30. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ Selected sLab Projects Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence DesignJam Creative business & design skills for young startups & social ventures (ONE) Digital Governance Bringing digital culture to Canadian government (SSHRC) Visualizing Emergence Understanding diffusion of innovation through data visualization (NCE–GRAND) Imagining Canada’s Future 
 Expert Panel on Urbanization Top ten future challenges for Canada’s Social Sciences & Humanities (SSHRC) 2020 Media Futures Strategic Foresight for Ontario’s Cultural Media Industries (OMDC) What is Foresight? Orientation video for 
 Policy Horizons Canada Economic Futures for Ontario 2032 Citizen-centred foresight project for the Government of Ontario United Way Centraid Canada (UWCC) Strategic Plan Guiding Canada’s largest philanthropic organization http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/ Strategic Innovation Lab OCAD University
  • 31. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ Selected sLab Projects Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Digital Governance SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Bringing digital culture to parliament Visualizing Emergence Understanding innovation through data visualization SSHRC: Imagining Canada’s Future, Expert Panel on Urbanization Top ten future challenges for Canada’s Social Sciences & Humanities Access for All Inclusive Design online training for Ontario’s Public Employees 2020 Media Futures Strategic Foresight for Ontario’s Cultural Media Industries What is Foresight? Orientation video for 
 Policy Horizons Canada Economic Futures for Ontario 2032 Ontarian-Centred Foresight Project for the Government of Ontario United Way Centraid Canada (UWCC) Strategic Plan Guiding Canada’s largest philanthropic organization http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/27538777/ Strategic Innovation Lab OCAD University
  • 32. Designing for Emergence: The New Design Space Greg Van Alstyne & Bob Logan slab.ocadu.ca @ocadslab Greg Van Alstyne & Robert Logan | sLab | OCAD University Designing for Emergence Image: Van Alstyne & Logan, (cc) 2016