The Art of Systemic Learning and Practice | Susu Nousala | Spring 2020

It’s a rare opportunity to see 100-minute lecture by Susu Nousala available on web video. Now in Helsinki waiting for the pandemic shutdown to abate so that she can return to Tongji University in Shanghai, @s.nousala was recorded on a web lecture to the Unitedworld Institute of Design, at Karnavati University in Guharat, India.

“UID Masterclass with Dr. Susu Nousala (PhD), Professor of Design and Innovation, Tongji University” | Unitedworld Institute Of Design (UID) June 20, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsmfA5Y25uyt57vshduYKkw

The agenda includes:

  • What are Systems?
  • Initial Systemic Design Thinking
  • What is data? Information? Knowledge? Wisdom and why is this important?
  • Implementation and Methodology
  • Big Data, Datafication and what it really means for Design and Systems Thinking

Susu and I didn’t quite overlap, I was was teaching at Aalto University in the master’s program in Creative Sustainability 2010-2011, and she taught 2011-2015. We really starting talking in late 2015, and then she kicked off the Systems Thinking 2 course that I taught in winter 2016.

Of course, I’ve heard all this content before. It is interesting, however, to hear her put the story together for a class in a design school starting from the beginning. In my visits to Tongji University, I’ve come into the middle of Ph.D. seminars already in progress.

I wasn’t expecting the mention of Herbert Simon in the beginnings of the history of systemic design, but see how it ties in to the rise of the Design Methods movement.

The discussion of data-information-knowledge-wisdom is interesting in the context of the arc towards Big Data. While both Susu and I have histories in quantitative methods, our learning in systems thinking has largely involved qualitative methods more. The request from Tongji University for Susu to teach quantitative methods represents a post-Internet shift in the way that designers might be approaching systems research in a different way.

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