January 7, 2016

Human-centred Design and Systems Thinking: Two Approaches Workshop

The PCL pairs design students and staff from the University of the Arts London with staff from the London Borough of Camden Strategy and Change Service, specifically the Systems Thinking Team. Ostensibly, both these collaborators use seemingly similar terminology to describe the methodology and methods of their work, although the ways in which they operate differ.

Through this workshop we examined the differences and similarities in our two approaches (human-centred design and systems thinking) and explored the possibility of developing a framework for integrating aspects of both, which we can subsequently test with the PCL. We looked at whether there is a language and/or a process that makes sense to all contributors of the PCL.

Working in pairs (one designer, one systems thinker), we examined the terms both approaches use and whether we can combine the two models we use – the design double diamond and the systems thinking loop.

In concluding the workshop, it seems clear that human-centred design can help systems thinking in the scoping phase of a project (particularly in scoping outside the organisation) and systems thinking can help human-centred design in the briefing stage.

We look forward to exploring this further as the PCL progresses and testing our assumptions in a practical way.