Skip to content

Systemic sensemaking with generative Ai

Systemic Design + GPT = Superfast sense making πŸš€πŸ§ 
The first helps you ask the right questions about a system.
And the latter brings the answers to your fingertips.

This combination makes you a stronger strategic design partner, because you can come preloaded with a strong grasp of the clients’ ecosystems.

You can fast track your own sense making with a few right prompts for these large language models like GPT4.

This slide deck has a quick example of one sense making activity for Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen (Red Cross). The activity is co-creating an actors map with your stakeholders. A typical exercise early on in the systemic design process to get a shared understanding of all the players on the field and of the power dynamics.

Usually, you’d start with a blank slate. And take a lot of time of your clients to create a first version.

πŸš€ Now, you can move a lot faster.
✨ You need just 5 prompts, neatly chained, and half an hour of time.

Before the workshop, in your design studio, you create a first version with GPT as a sparring partner. A proxy for all the info that your stakeholders have.

In that time, you preload yourself with a better view on the system, and you create draft workshop material. A first version that your stakeholders can use as a starting point for their conversations.

This is just one exercise.

In the past months, I’ve been investigating this GPT head start approach for the entire systemic design and service design workflow. Step by step, I’m creating a library of prompt chains (I call them recipes) to fast track sense making in the design studio. Recipes for rich context maps, CLA icebergs, personas, user journeys, causal loop system maps, value propositions. three horizons maps, intervention strategy maps, and so on.

If you want to try an AI actors map yourself, you can copy/paste the prompts easily. Go full screen to download the PDF (icon in right top), and you can copy/paste the prompts that way.

To end: a big shoutout to Kristel Van Ael and Peter Jones, authors of the Systemic Design Toolkit and the book Design Journeys through Complex Systems. Your work is pivotal for all these explorations.