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Visualizing complex systems—a better how.

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Foresight Design Initiative

4619 North Ravenswood Avenue

#305

Chicago, IL 60640

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How might we better visualize complex systems?

A new field is emerging at the intersection of systems thinking and design. Systemic design solves for root causes, not symptoms. It peers beneath the surface to understand the dynamics that maintain the status quo. It recognizes the complexity of the systems in which we are trying to intervene. It considers potential unintended consequences of solutions. And it empowers systems change on a whole host of challenges that desperately need redesigned, from wasteful food systems to polluting energy systems.

A critical first step in systemic design is visualization. Every project starts by creating a “systems map” to better understand and make explicit the key elements, root causes, feedback loops, and forces of change in a system. Produced with stakeholders within the system, this map can reveal key pain and leverage points for strategic interventions to move the system closer to optimization.

Foresight Design Initiative invites Chicago’s design community for an evening of exploring different systems map typologies (there are many!) and discussing how to improve their clarity and communicative value. In doing so (and documenting our reflections for the world to see), we will collectively help advance this emerging field of practice and its potential to drive real impact.

We believe that you must take the time to “see” the system before you can change it.

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Foresight Design Initiative

4619 North Ravenswood Avenue

#305

Chicago, IL 60640

View Map

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