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Proposing a framework for designers to navigate complex societal challenges: Reflecting on a design case on Dutch antenatal care

Eindhoven University of Technology
sous la direction de Caroline Hummels et Simona Rocchi


Complex societal challenges render confirmative problem-solving methods unsuccessful and demand a new approach to realize systemic change. Due to their empathy, creativity and ability to deal with ambiguity, designers are fit to play an important role in solving these complex societal challengese. This report argues for a leading role for designers in navigating these challenges and proposes a theoretical framework. The framework is introduced in a design case on antenatal care. In addition to interviews, and prototyping efforts, multiple design workshops were organized where system interventions were co-designed together with designers, stakeholders and experts. As outcome of the design case, the Caring Pregnancy Toolkit is proposed. The toolkit embodies three interventions that enable care professionals and social workers to improve antenatal care for Eritrean women at risk. The toolkit is connected to an online co-design platform that faciliates an ongoing development of the tools. Expert interviews confirmed the potential of the concept and the toolkit provides a medium for further research and development. The toolkit’s design process was taken as a first use case to assess and reflect on the framework. The analysis clarified that the attitudes and behaviours presented in the framework appeared dynamically throughout the design process. Preliminary insights confirmed the potential relevance of such a framework for designers. Future work is proposed considering the development of the toolkit, and the evaluation of the framework.


Stumbling on the problem of addressing a complex societal challenge as a designer there was little to no methodolgy to operate at meso/macro scale in a humanity centric way. This is why I developed a methodology myself based on principles of systems thinking, design and leadership to furthen this.