Integrating Systems Thinking and Storytelling


  • Maggie Ollove Post-Graduate Fellow School of Design Strategies, Parsons the New School of Design
  • Diala Lteif Part-time faculty Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts


Emneord (Nøkkelord):

design, systems thinking, storytelling, conflict, diagnosis, wicked problems


This paper explores the role of design in conflict resolution when doing so means balancing burdened pasts with present uncertainties. To prove its relevance in today’s complex problem spaces, design cannot remain stagnant; it must evolve alongside the pace of development. Designing within complexity is unprecedented. Yet, design can define structures that guide an understanding of this complexity. The methodology and case study described in this paper explore how systems thinking, storytelling and grounded theory can contribute to this understanding. The methodology aims to combine subjective perspectives with systemic analyses to create a collective narrative that reveals the multitude of individual understandings of conflicts. Ultimately, this methodology does not attempt to resolve conflict; instead, it  aims to provide an in-depth diagnosis of a wicked problem and question the role of design therein.


Maggie Ollove, Post-Graduate Fellow School of Design Strategies, Parsons the New School of Design

Maggie is a social scientist designer pulling from her experience in non-profits, strategy design, and community building. With an emphasis on participatory projects, design-led-research, and storytelling she weaves together learnings from different fields to create an inclusive, and rigorous process to tackle complexity. She has an MFA from the Transdisciplinary Design program as Parsons The New School for Design. She currently teaches as Parsons as the Post Graduate Fellow for the School of Design Strategies. She is also the Co-Founder of BodyBrain, a design collective working to guide a process of innovation to locate implementable strategy within complex social challenges.

Diala Lteif, Part-time faculty Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts

Diala is an information and strategy designer with experience in visualization, community work and field research. Her interests orbit around design-led research, participatory methods, systems thinking and storytelling, all tools she uses to address pressing social issues and complex problems. She has an MFA in transdisciplinary Design from Parsons the New School for Design. She is currently part-time faculty in the design department at A.L.B.A (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts) where she teaches the global design studio to first year masters students. She is also a freelance design strategist working with local communities in Beirut.




Hvordan referere

Ollove, M., & Lteif, D. (2017). Integrating Systems Thinking and Storytelling. FormAkademisk, 10(1).

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