Systems Approach to Design

This course reviews historical development of systems approaches and contemporary uses of systems thinking in design.

Particular emphasis goes to system modeling methods that facilitate designers to observe, describe, analyze, predict/envision, design, prototype, and evaluate behavior and performance of complex systems from different viewpoints. Topics include:

  • Concept and definition of systems
  • Closed/open systems
  • Viewpoints and aspects
  • Types of systems and models such as continuous/discrete and deterministic/probabilistic systems
  • Example systems such as interactive systems, information systems, natural systems, organizational systems, social systems, socio-technical systems


Learning Objectives
The primary goal of the course is to understand systems thinking and approaches in design. Specific objectives include:

  • Enhancement of recursive thinking between abstraction and concretization in design processes
  • Developing capability for rigorous but flexible understanding of domains of concern
  • Developing ability for applying different system modeling methods


Learning Outcomes
Upon completing the course students will be able to:

  • Articulate an understanding of systems approaches to design
  • Apply systems thinking and methodology to design problems
  • Leverage skills for developing basic diagrammatic system models
Managing Interdisciplinary Teams Design Connoisseurship Engaging Stakeholders in Innovation Special Topics Faculty Research Design Process and Knowledge Making the User Centered Case
Modeling Complexity Theories of Communication Fundamentals of Visual Communication Advanced Diagramming Metaphor and Analogy in Design Diagram Development Communication Strategies Communication Design Workshop
Extensions of Media and Technology Interactive Space Interaction Design for Embedded Systems Interaction Design for Immersive Systems Prototyping Interactions Persuasive Interaction Design History of Interaction Design Interaction Design Methods Digital Development Workshop Interaction Design Workshop
Planning + Strategy
Designing Futures Adaptive Leadership Strategies for Open Innovation Organizational Models for Innovation Social and Economic Context of Design New Venture Design Innovation Methods Planning Implementation Business Models and Value Webs Business Frameworks and Strategy Design Planning Workshop Introduction to Portfolio Planning
Design Development & Implementation Product Architecture and Platforms Form and Materials New Product Definition Product Design Workshop
Systems and Systems Theory in Design Networked Objects Networked Cities Human System Integration Systems Modeling and Prototyping Platform-based Design Strategy Systems Approach to Design Information Structuring and Management Structured Planning Workshop Service Systems Workshop
User Research
Stimulus in Design Research Behavioral Economics Online Research Methods Principles and Methods of User Research Coding and Analysis Co-Design and Participatory Research Methods Survey Methods Cultural Probes Experience Modeling Interview Methods Research Photography Research Planning & Execution