A Systems Design Approach to Sustainable Development: Embracing the Complexity of Energy Challenges in Low-income Markets

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

180 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The societal and technical problems faced by low-income markets are increasingly seen as more complex due to environmental, social, and economic concerns. The enormous negative impacts of complex societal problems and the inability of designers to deal with complexity cannot be overcome without a paradigm shift in how we understand, engage with, and teach about such issues. In light of this challenge, one can pose the question, “What is the best approach to deal with a complex societal problem?”. A traditional approach to deal with a complex problem is to simplify it. Alternatively, as here, research may aim to provide a novel approach to handle complex societal problems, thereby embracing complexity. Thus, this thesis contends that embracing complexity represents a significant shift from the traditional design approach to a systems design approach for sustainable development. To help designers to bring about such a transition, the four main contributions provided in this doctoral research are: (I) Exploring the integration of systems thinking into design, particularly by adopting a systems design approach to sustainable energy solutions for low-income markets; (II) Extending the scope of product-service system design through the introduction of four major systems thinking tenets: a holistic perspective; a multilevel perspective; a pluralistic perspective; and complexity-handling capacity; (III) Proposing heuristic tools for the integration of systems thinking into design, which allows for developing new and strengthening existing systems design approaches; and, (IV) Increasing capacity building for a systems design approach to address complex societal problems through design education.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Diehl, J.C., Supervisor
  • Snelders, H.M.J.J., Supervisor
  • Secomandi, Fernando, Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date3 Feb 2020
Electronic ISBNs978-94-6384-102-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Complex societal problems
  • Systems thinking
  • Systems design approach
  • Systems-oriented design
  • Product-Service Systems (PSS)
  • Low-income market
  • Energy sector

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  • Research Output

    • 5 Article
    • 1 Conference contribution

    A framework for a systems design approach to complex societal problems

    Da Costa Junior, J., Diehl, J-C. & Snelders, D., 2019, In : Design Science: An international journal. 5, e2, p. 1-32 32 p., e2.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
    File
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    220 Downloads (Pure)

    Towards systems-oriented energy solutions: A multilevel analysis of a low-income energy efficiency program in Brazil

    da Costa Junior, J., Diehl, J. C. & Secomandi, F., 2019, In : Sustainability (Switzerland). 11, 20, 22 p., 5799.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Open Access
    File
  • 26 Downloads (Pure)

    Educating for a systems design approach to complex societal problems

    da Costa Junior, J., Diehl, J-C. & Secomandi, F., 2018, In : Journal of Engineering Design. 29, 3, p. 65-86 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

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