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Socio-ecological Systems and Design

The Research Group Socio-Ecological Systems and Design investigates the interdependencies of natural – social – technological systems to develop appropriate design competencies for future oriented thrivable ecologies. We work at the interface of science – humanities – engineering/design.

Biologists, economists, engineers, architects, designers, social scientists and philosophers are invited to start a conversation and to exchange individual tools, methodologies, material and ways of operating. We are looking for developing strategies and designing systems of design for a ‘theory and practice of Gestaltung’ in a newly framed environment. Instead of continuing parallel running research projects, we encourage researchers from science, humanities, economics, and engineering disciplines as well as practitioners to collaborate in a transdisciplinary process in order to decode and encode domain and discipline specific modes of working, to strengthen the involved disciplines.

Design (Gestaltung) is more than a human potential. All we as humans do or not do is Gestaltung. The Research Group conducts research that takes the complexity of ecological, social, and technological systems into account and extends the subject matter into the paradigm of design and Gestaltung as living and learning system.

Emerging interdisciplinary design approaches like Transformation Design have been associated with work within communities for socially progressive ends, but also with work within organizations to introduce human-centered design approaches. Research and practice have been related to the role and impact of organizational development, business model innovation, innovation ecosystems, creative communities and social innovation as well as in urban design and regional development, and even the wide debate on the redesign of public services and the welfare state.

Expertise beyond the designers is a requirement! Transformation design tackles large scale complex issues involving many stakeholders and components, and their interdependencies. Co-creative “design with” the system approaches informed by Evolutionary and Social Systems Design insights are applied in holistic, multi-stage, iterative processes to engage with the complex dynamic systems and their constantly arising novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization, called emergence.

The Research Group engages in

  • Architecture and Spatial Design
  • Biological, systemic and computational design strategies
  • Urban design (e.g. sustainable urbanism, smart cognitive cities), and regional development
  • Biodiversity, agriculture and rural development
  • Designing and governing from biosphere reserves to nature sanctuaries
  • Design of supply networks in public services (e.g. energy, water, traffic and public transport, information technologies and telecommunications, health care, and education infrastructures) and value networks in business services
  • Designing Innovation and Business Ecosystems (cross-overs welcome)
  • Designing research and development systems and governmental systems to address the challenges of future oriented thrivable ecologies.

 

© Jürgen T. SturanyStefan Blachfellner is the Managing Director of the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS) in Vienna, hosting the European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research and the Circular Economy Forum Austria, a former Vice President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), and former Vice President and General Secretary of the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR). From 2016 to 2018 he was appointed as Special Adviser to the European Commissioner for Transport.

He has broad experience as an entrepreneur and business consultant, and has taught entrepreneurship, leadership, creativity and innovation management, future studies, and various systems theories at several universities and in professional management training programs in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, France, Belgium, China and the USA.

His current projects are focused on the development of a General Systems Transdiscipline, Systems Design, Systemic Innovation and Impact Assessment to improve methods for addressing complex challenges towards the so called Next Economy, in particular the Circular Economy.

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