July 18th is the 59th monthly meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. Please register on Eventbrite.

Synthesis Mapping the Complexity of Social Systems

In May we presented synthesis maps from OCADU’s Design for Health MDes program, and, this month, Professor Peter Jones invites visitors the systems thinking community and those interested in social systems innovation to attend Systems Thinking Ontario to see and hear about our students’ synthesis maps, as told by them, with brief overviews and Q&A for synthesis maps for at least four maps from the total of twelve projects demonstrated in the two cohorts:

  • Eduvation : A Proposed Evolution Towards a Biomimetics Learning Framework
  • The Resilient Fabric Of Parkdale: Weaving Together A Strong Neighbourhood
  • To Boldly Go: Can our pursuit to become an interstellar species expand our concept of humanity beyond our terrestrial understanding?
  • For Better or Worse: The multifaceted issues of (Ontario’s) divorce system


Suggested pre-reading:

About Synthesis Mapping

Advanced design students and teams are often called to frame and communicate a collective understanding and design proposals for increasingly complex challenges. The synthesis map has evolved from the Gigamap method as a practice for active learning and representation of complex social systems for the purposes of communication of systemic perspectives, defining actors and relationships in complex system challenges. We teach and develop synthesis maps in the OCAD graduate programs, design for Health and Strategic Foresight and Innovation, to promote shared understanding and reveal design options available in these complex systems. For an open source article written by the professors in these programs, please see:

She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 3 (3), 229–248
Renderingsystems visible for design: Synthesis maps as constructivist design narratives.
Jones, P.H. & Bowes, J. (2017)


Time Activity Role(s)
6:30 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Introduce yourself and briefly tell us about interests, experiences or affiliations related to systems thinking.
  • How did learn about this Systems Thinking Ontario session?
Convenor:  Peter Jones
6:45 The pre-reading (as an entry point)
  • What did the original author say?
Reviewer: TBD
7:00 Synthesis Maps: Brief Overview with Q & A
  • Order of Synthesis Map presentations & Q&A to be determined
Synthesis Map Designers
8:15 Process reflection
  • What went well in this meeting?
  • What should be discuss in the next meeting?
Suggestions welcomed
8:15 Adjourn
  • Optionally, join other attendees to continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks at a nearby restaurant
  • We prefer a venue that is quiet, reasonably priced and spacious enough for our continued conversations.
  • Typically, when we meet at 100 McCaul, we walk up to Baldwin Street;
    when we meet at 205 Richmond, we walk up to Queen Street West.
No host

Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.