Metaphors and Systems

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


A variety of metaphors are commonly used in systemic design to make abstract concepts more concrete, externalised, and engageable-with, to enable constructs to be discussed and dealt with, and to generate new ideas. This practice builds on a long history of metaphor use in systems theory and cybernetics and can involve a focus on language, drawing and diagrams, or physical modelling, among other approaches. However, the implications of common metaphors used in systemic design have perhaps not been elaborated and examined. This short paper proposes a discussion and activity over the course of RSD10 in which conference participants contribute and reflect on metaphors in use, tacitly or otherwise, and consider the possibilities offered by alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021
EventRelating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium: Playing with Tensions: Embracing new complexity, collaboration and contexts in systemic design - Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 2 Nov 20216 Nov 2021
Conference number: 10


ConferenceRelating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium
Abbreviated titleRSD
Internet address


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