Landscape of Practice

My practice is largely characterised by working in high levels of complexity (dynamic and emergent contexts), often with multiple stakeholders, and with the express intention of shifting and changing systems.

In addition to Conservation, I have also spent time working on issues like youth mental health, local food systems, and developing peer learning networks in the public sector.

The field of ‘Design for Systems’ is most commonly talked about as ‘fourth order of design’ (Buchanan, 1992 [30]; Golsby-Smith, 1996 [31]), or the “fuzzy front end of Design” where “it is often not known whether the deliverable of the design process will be a product, a service, an interface, a building, etc” (Sanders & Stappers, 2008 [32]).

For more about fourth order design, see the appendix.

During this project I worked at the intersection of Systemic Design and Design for Social Innovation.

Systemic Design is a systems-aware design research practice blending systems thinking and human-centered design (Ryan, 2014 [33]).

Design for Social Innovation is a practice which brings the intent and potential to create significant change in existing socio-economic paradigms (Irwin et al, 2015 [34]; Manzini, 2015 [35]) within which strategic design offers an approach to “problem setting and solving and thus to design decisions in turbulent and uncertain contexts” (Meroni, 2008 [36]).

In articulating my practice, I notice that each phase of my process is a microcosm of my larger process. The below diagram identifies my process across the three sections of this research project, within each section is a prototype-research-synthesise cycle, based on the insight from Cynefin framework, that when working in complexity, the best approach is to probe-sense-respond (Snowden, 2007 [37]).


Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.

The Fractal Foundation

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