June 21st is the 48th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.

Synthesis Maps, Double-Feature

Peter Jones and students of OCADU's Strategic Foresight and Innovation Program

Systems Thinking Ontario invites 2017 grad student teams from Strategic Foresight and Innovation to present synthesis maps (Gigamaps) from the Systemic Design courses taught by Peter Jones and Jeremy Bowes.  As a double feature, June’s attendees are treated to maps presented by both full-time and part-time cohorts.  A selection of teams will share brief renditions of their map concept, showing printed and digital versions in capsule presentations.

 We will present print and digital maps from 9 wicked social problem systems developed as synthesis map projects:

  • Political Civic Engagement – How Might Citizens Up their Impact?
  • Shining a Light on Canadian Alcoholism (A public health approach)
  • Hyper-connectivity (is it time to pull the plug?)
  • Commoditized – Social Systems of Fast Fashion
  • Big Box Corporate Sustainability
  • Cycology – Making Toronto a Cycling-Friendly City
  • Social Innovation and its Trade-offs
  • The Digital Divide of Canadian Digital Governance
  • How Social Movements Spread
  • The Access Economy – Trends in Demand Economies
  • Social Systems of Healthy Communities

Synthesis maps have been developed in OCADU’s unique-in Canada courses as design artifacts representing a team’s in-depth inquiry into a complex social system and mapping the problems, dynamics and histories, leverage points, and scenarios for change. They are based on the Gigamap methodology from which we developed the synthesis approach, based on its fit to knowledge building from other courses and the strategic design orientation of the SFI program.

Join us in an open discussion. Newcomers always welcomed.

In preparation, please review the following notes:

Both Gigamapping and Synthesis maps have been recently presented as scholarly work at the Relating Systems Thinking and Design symposium,
an article by the OCAD professors is recommended for participants in advance of this session.


Main Auditorium, OCADU,  located at 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, M5T 1W1
(just down the hall from the Lambert Lounge where we've often met)


Time Activity Role(s)
6:30 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • What's your name?
  • How did learn about this Systems Thinking Ontario session?
  • Is there some specific training, experience or affiliation that has drawn you here, this evening?
6:50 Discussion (expanding on the presentation and/or preparatory readings as an entry point)

1. Introduction to Synthesis Mapping in the Strategic Foresight Program.

2. Q & A with Synthesis Map creators - a selection of students will present the maps they created and relate their experience of the authoring process.

3. Opportunity to view additional maps posted around the venue and discuss these with student designers.

Peter Jones & student Gigamap creators
7:45 Double loop learning: Revisions in meeting format? Suggestions welcome
8:30 Adjourn - Optionally, join other attendees to continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks at a nearby restaurant
(ideally, one that's quiet, reasonably priced and spacious enough for our continued conversations).

Post-meeting artifacts: