Could synergy replace the idea of sustainability? !!

  • A very high level of synergy is a likely outcome of effective metadesign
  • It is a term that can be used to describe the extraordinarily high level of organic harmony and efficiency that is found in living creatures.
  • It refers to the accord that exists not only between individual parts of the whole, but also between those individual parts and their separate relations to the whole.
  • Importantly, it supports a heterogeneity that enables organisms to become adaptively self-aware. This quality of sophistication is virtually absent in machines.
  • An important part of this process will be self-mapping exercises in which selected opinions and perspectives are shared and evaluated.
  • By using and developing existing methods and tools the Ds21 project and its members will seek to map some of the simpler synergies that are important to the life of a community.

A preliminary approach !!

  • The methods and tools described were developed in the field of science and engineering theory (Fuller, 1949), healthcare (Kvitash, 1983; von Nieuwenhuijze, 1998) and education (Wood, 1999).
  • We will use some of these to re-think eco-design in the light of General Systems Theory (Bertalanffy, 1950).
  • Some methods will be used to seed the emergence of a richer intuitive process across design teams.
  • In our Cluster of 14 investigators there can be 91 separate one-to-one conversations.
  • If each ‘formal’ conversation relates to an interest shared by the whole Cluster then we may regard this as a minimum basis for seeking to enhance synergy across the network.
  • Some work has shown that similar mapping processes can be extremely effective in the early diagnosis of difficulties (i.e. illness) within the organism.

What Stops Us Getting ‘Greener’? !!

  • Although eco-design has made progress in the last few decades, their training as specialist designers may tend to hamper their ability to work at an appropriate level of intervention.
  • Arguably, long-term solutions are likely to exist well beyond the level of discrete product or local system innovation.
  • Many environmental problems are symptoms of complex and interdependent forces that may appear to us as a ‘vicious circle’.
  • Sometimes, otherwise helpful elements may be connected together in a way that stops a given system from being effective.
  • In some cases there may be only one or two apparently marginal factors that need to be improved in order for a dissipative system to work in a more synergistic way: i.e. as a ‘virtuous circle’.

A synergistic approach for designers !!

  • In this context the Cluster will first explore ways to envision this level of complexity, and then consider how best to optimise it.
  • In seeking to make eco-design more effective the Cluster will characterise ‘synergy’ as a state of wholeness that affords a high degree of reciprocal and combined effectiveness at many levels.
  • Importantly, this idea acknowledges that some highly synergistic systems are able to sustain apparently incompatible values and orders within a unified whole.
  • Themes of the Cluster will therefore seek to find synergy within factors suggested for a socially responsible society: i.e. design for education, government, economic policy, fair trade, ecology, crime, social inclusion, and health. (Press, Cooper, Davey, Wootton, 2004).

This text has been copied from the Attainable Utopias websiteSee more work from the ds21 Design Synergy research project of Attainable Utopiasreturn to Main Page

Contributors to this page: JohnWood and anonymous .
Page last modified on Thursday 26 of October, 2006 14:48:37 BST by JohnWood.