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Why Is Design Always Talking About Complexity?

March 8, 2023

Maura Shea and Kim Erwin
Season 2: Episode 4 of With Intent Is Now Available

In the fourth episode of our second season of With Intent, Jarret Fuller asks ID Associate Professor of Healthcare Design and Design Methods Kim Erwin and Associate Professor of Civic and Community Design Maura Shea, Why Is Design Always Talking About Complexity?

Any of these systems that have social dynamics, that include people, are complex. And so by visualizing those assets across multi-layered systems, we can begin to perceive the context we're working in in new ways.
—Maura Shea
With Intent Podcast

Kim and Maura discuss making change in large communities and systems through Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), the value of modeling complex systems, and what a designer’s creative output looks like today.

I think it's less about the visualization and more about the visualizing. Much of the craft or creative output that we are asking about is still relevant, but it's not the user research, it's the researching. It's not the prototype, it's the prototyping. And I think it's similar for systems modeling. It's the act of modeling systems that causes a lot of analysis and decision making to happen.
—Kim Erwin

Jarrett Fuller, host of Scratching the Surface, is the 2022–23 Latham fellow at the Institute of Design and hosts With Intent this season.

Tune into With Intent to discover where ID is taking design next.

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