This course reviews historical development of systems approaches and contemporary uses of systems thinking in design.

Particular emphasis goes to system modeling methods that facilitate designers to observe, describe, analyze, predict/envision, design, prototype, and evaluate behavior and performance of complex systems from different viewpoints. Topics include:

  • Concept and definition of systems
  • Closed/open systems
  • Viewpoints and aspects
  • Types of systems and models such as continuous/discrete and deterministic/probabilistic systems
  • Example systems such as interactive systems, information systems, natural systems, organizational systems, social systems, socio-technical systems


Learning Objectives
The primary goal of the course is to understand systems thinking and approaches in design. Specific objectives include:

  • Enhancement of recursive thinking between abstraction and concretization in design processes
  • Developing capability for rigorous but flexible understanding of domains of concern
  • Developing ability for applying different system modeling methods


Learning Outcomes
Upon completing the course students will be able to:

  • Articulate an understanding of systems approaches to design
  • Apply systems thinking and methodology to design problems
  • Leverage skills for developing basic diagrammatic system models