Synthesis Maps 2019

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Synthesis Map 2019 — SFI Systemic Design Course 

Systemic Design courses in OCAD University's Strategic Foresight & Innovation MDes (Masters of Design) program produced a series of large-scale maps relevant to problem areas of interest selected by each student team.

The following works are labeled with title, team members, and for many, an associated PDF file and white paper. All maps are (c) copyright their respective author teams unless otherwise indicated.

The Learning Ecosystem. Sonia Chwalek, Robin Fribance, Marie-Helene Fokias, Betty Xie, copyright 2019. In examining what might make the current Ontario public education system (K-12) thrive, we ask how an emergent system might better meet the diverse needs of its students, educators, and communities, in an ever changing societal context. “A healthy ecosystem is one that is sustainable – that is, it has the ability to maintain its structure (organization) and function (vigor) over time in the face of external stress (resilience).” (Costanza & Mageau, 1999). 

The Learning Ecosystem: Ontario K-12 Education


Public Engagment Cycle in Humanitarian Crises. Understanding the inefficiencies, risks and opportunities in the system of engagement with wicked humanitarian crises. Alyza Devraj, Emily Krause, Ignacio G. Rebollo, Michelle Cochrane, Copyright 2019. 

 Public Engagement Cycle in Humanitarian Crises


Re-imagining Disaster Resilience for Communities. Rodrigo Barreda, Asia Clarke, Sara Qarizada, Jacquie Shaw, Copyright 2019. How might we depict a synthesis map to support communities to assess their opportunity spaces for building community resiliency? An inclusive and anti-oppression based synthesis map supporting communities to identify opportunities for building resiliency. As the threat of climate change and global warming increasingly threaten the status quo in vulnerable communities around the world, effective disaster mitigation and relief depends upon an interrelating set of factors. As a unified body of individuals, communities are systems with many distinct actors and variables that influence each other. Our system map presents a framework to address vulnerable communities’ needs to understand their place changing world. By assessing current vulnerability levels to identify spaces and opportunities for building community resiliency, communities may be better prepared in the face of predicted increased frequency of cyclical nature of environmental disasters. 

Reimagining Disaster Resilience


How Can TVO Create a Flourishing Ecosystem of Learning? The team of Quinn Davidson, Tinashe Mafukidze, Nikkie To, Ayesha Zubair (copyright, 2019) prepared this map working with stakeholders from TVOntario.  

TVO a Flourishing Ecosystem of Learning


Urban Toronto Waterfront. A Placemaking Approach. As we enter the anthropogenic era, Toronto's waterfront serves as a case study in the various frameworks, stakeholders and interests that will present new challenges and opportunities. Jonathan McNeice, Kathy Porter, Matthew Thomas, Susan Wright, Sandro Zaccalo, Copyright 2019. 

Urban Toronto Waterfront: A Placemaking Approach


What Factors Influence Food Choices in the Age of Social Media? Karli Ferriolo, Samantha Matters, Sreemoyee Roychoudhury, Trishia Nashtaran, Copyright 2019. 

Over the past ten years, health and diet culture has permeated what seems like every aspect of our lives, with support from the reach of social media. The hashtag health (#health) currently has over ninety-six million posts on Instagram. However, the history of dieting being advertised to consumers dates back to the 16th century. Since then, diet gurus have utilized celebrity spokespeople and other marketing tactics to sell the idea of health to average consumers. A rising interest in personalized health and precision medicine is allowing individuals to make health choices in new ways. Social media is allowing the diet gurus of the 21st century to thrive in this environment, where individuals are able to find no shortage of health and diet trends that they can choose to apply to their life.

This system aims to explore the intersections of health and social media. More specifically, we chose to unpack this system in order to understand the factors that influence food choices in an age of social media, as well as how physical and mental health are affected. The wickedness of this problem is entrenched in centuries of capitalist market principles where companies take advantage of the feelings we have about our bodies and sell us diet plans to ‘fix’ ourselves. The problem then escalates tenfold when social media is the avenue through which health is advertised. This systems map demonstrates that the commodification of health has detrimental impacts.

What Factors Influence Food Choices in the Age of Social Media?

Adoption of Electric Vehicles. An John Nguyen, George Panopoulos, Ben Schreiber, Jon Dhama. Copyright 2019.

Mixed Methods approach, applying divergent-convergent-divergent iterative methods. After secondary research we formulated an adapted research question, asking "What is stopping the adoption of EVs?" We facilitated Semi-structured interviews and confidential online surveys to drive our hypotheses. We synthesized our findings using a trends grouping method, and from that process emerged the "flywheel" framework. 

The Secret Life of Streets. Molly Connor. Riley McCullough, and Andrew Wall. Copyright 2019.

How might we use fallling in love as a metaphor to better understand the systems of forming social connections in public spaces and, specifically, within streets? 

Disruption, Innovation, Oppurtunity: The Power of Circularity. Rebecca Black, Chantal Frenette, Jale Gonulkapan Suder, Steph Rebello. Copyright 2019.

A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative in design. In our age of disruption, dwindling supplies and climate change, that sounds like a nice concept. But what is it really all about, and more to the point, what can it mean to you? Well in the commercial building sector, using strategies can mean a lot. In this poster, you'll see how everyone involved in our built environment can use circular economic principles - designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems - to unlock innovation and generate wealth/value that isn't built n unsuitable principles. So find your Super/Power and run circles around our current linear process! You'll be part of the $4.5 TRILLION opportunity that circularity is poised to deliver to the global economy.


Please contact Dr. Peter Jones if interested in involving this systemic design method for a collaborative research project.

Note: all works on this page are copyrighted by the respective authors and are not Creative Commons.