September 19 was the ninth meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration was at https://st-on-2013-09-19.eventbrite.com/ .

Theme: Systems Thinking and and Design Thinking: Problematization and Framing

This meeting is the first in the series of three based on "Systemic Design Principles for Complex Social Systems", Peter H. Jones, a chapter in Social Systems and Design, Gary Metcalf (editor), Volume 1 of the Translational Systems Science Series, Springer Verlag (2013).  [published in 2014 by Springer]  [preprint available on request from Peter Jones]

Suggested pre-reading: 

From the list of 10 design principles, the first four are related to problematization and framing.

A core set of systemic design principles shared between design and systems disciplines is proposed. The following are based on meta-analysis of concepts selected from system sciences and design theory sources. Design principles were selected that afford significant power in both design and systems applications, and are sufficiently mature and supported by precedent to be adapted without risk.

While these principles may appear to assume universality across literatures, the intent is for applicability and adaptability of principles, not a fundamental baseline.  (Jones, 2013).

Participants should not feel limited to this suggested pre-reading, but should recognize that other attendees may have not read, or are reading differently, that article.


Post-meeting artifacts, contribution by Melissa Daly-Buajitti

Problematizing and Framing

Systems design principles for social systems 

10 principals (first four)

General systems theory + design thinking principals – overlap

How can design benefit systems thinking?

Idealization – whenever you have a system of inquiry – one kind: seeking out an ideal solution/goal – you might not reach it but at least it’s the goal?

Wickedness – appreciating the complexity in a situation


Boundary framing – any system that you decide to explore has boundaries defined by you. (cognitive boundaries too)

Contextual engangement

Boundary Framing

Framing – door frame/window/picture – the way youre viewing something (telescope)

Language – how people express themselves

To what extent can we collaborate – how are we experiencing different things?


Wicked problems – theres no perfect solution – starting w a frame allows you to begin together

When can groups be effective? – I want to be understood/validated/appreciated by you

Vocabulary as a medium of mediation

How do I step forward if I don’t know where forward is?

Boundary vs. frame