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Sustainable Solutions Workshop




Systems Thinking

Credit Hours


Applying design methods and open innovation towards sustainable solutions with impact.

Contemporary problems and their solutions can be defined as complex adaptive systems because they emerge from the daily behavior of seven billion people looking for better standards of living when confronting the challenges and opportunities shaped by the unprecedented interconnectivity of the world economy, the global society, and the natural environment. In this course, students will learn how to apply design methods and strategic thinking through open innovation practices for leveraging the interconnectivity of markets, technology, finance, and social networks in order to envision sustainable solutions with impact in the local lives and wellbeing of communities.

Learning Objectives

In this course, participants will learn…

  • How to apply systems thinking and design methods to frame sustainable solutions opportunities
  • How to map available assets and the use of capitals in the development of sustainable solutions
  • How to play the role of a knowledge broker by engaging with stakeholders and experts to prototype system infrastructure with economic, social, cultural, territorial, and environmental value

Learning Outcomes

  • The application of tools and frameworks to frame sustainable solutions in complex spaces of innovation
  • The use of prototype as a design research strategy to uncover possibilities
  • The development of platform affordances that facilitate systems transformation

Format & Grading

  • Class Participation                40%
  • Group Participation              30%
  • Prototyping                             30%

Enrollment Constraints

Sustainable Solutions Workshop and Sustainable Solutions Seminar are complementary courses. There are no pre-requisites for these courses. You can take them anytime and in any order. The seminar introduces you to key concepts in design strategy and sustainable systems. It is based on readings and application of key concepts through assignments of modeling sustainable systems. The workshop is project-based, teamwork and the application of sustainable principles in design strategies. If you want to have a deeper understanding of sustainable solutions, I suggest you take both. If you want to develop the practice of design strategies through the lenses of sustainable principles, you can take just the workshop. If you want to have an overview of the principles of sustainable solutions then you can take just the seminar.