A framework for systemic design that uses stories for communication and is sustainable and participatory in nature

The Human-Centered Design (HCD) framework facilitates change. Story-Based Circular Design (SBCD) is a related approach that works to integrate systems thinking throughout the process. The goal is to help people use systemic design to change the systems they interact with to foster more desirable outcomes. Social innovation and sustainability are central to the process.

SBCD differs from HCD in three ways.

  • SBCD integrates system thinking processes with the existing processes in the Human-Centered Design framework.
  • Storytelling is included throughout the framework. Human beings communicate through stories. It’s how we’re wired. We tell stories in SBCD to help foster the engagement necessary for a participant-driven process.
  • The process changes the designer’s role. Instead of being the lead problem solver to more of a facilitative role. People solve their own problems. They use their own knowledge and expertise. The process leader helps them find their way. (The designer’s role changes depending on the circumstances in HCD. Story-Based Circular Design aims to have groups solve their own problems. The facilitator pulls them into the process and forces them to take ownership of the problem.)

Because the process aims at significant challenges, it has more steps than the Human-Centered Design process. It should be used when that extra work will be worthwhile. The juice needs to be worth the squeeze.

Story-Based Circular Design helps groups when systemic effects are a concern. It fosters plans that they will both implement and support for sustainable, positive outcomes.

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The Story-Based Circular Design Process

To learn more, check out the SBCD explainer.

Let’s get going.