Designing Social Systems in a Changing World

IFSR Newsletter 1997 Vol. 16 No. 2 July
International Systems Institute and Saybrook Graduate School, USA
Living in a world of constant changes, people individually and collectively wish to become empowered to take part in making decisions that affect their lives. This book is a learning resource that helps people and groups to develop design knowledge and competence by which they can exercise decision making in shaping their lives and guiding their future.
The book guides the reader in developing an understanding of what social systems design is, why we need it, how it works, how to apply it, and who should be the designers. Neatly presented in two parts a range of design approaches, models, methods and tools are introduced and the theoretical and philosophical bases of design are developed. Having discussed the dangers of underconceptualization and pitfalls, the contribution of design to societal evolution and to the creation of an ethical society and a democratic culture complete the treatment.
Highlights include:

  • A Comprehensive Exploration of the existing knowledge bases of systems design.
  • The introduction and integration into the text knowledge from fields of inquiry that add value to design thinking and practice.
  • The presentation of the work as a learning resource based on advanced learning theory and practice. This presentation method is a key feature for using the text at-a-distance learning mode.
  • Over twenty figures present visual illustration of novel frameworks of design thinking and practice, and highlight the most significant core ideas of systems design.
  • Problem sets are organized as activities that are embedded in the material and enable the user to apply what is being learned.
  • An integrating spiralic design, presented in the introduction, enables the user to place all sections of the text into a relational and unifying whole.

Plenum Publishing Comp., New Loom House, 101 Back Church Lane, London E1 1LU, UK
ISBN 0-306-45251-0 / ca. 400pp / $ 49,50 US, Canada, $ 83,40 elsewhere

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