Striving for Systemic Change, the project started with exploring a design approach that scaled up the impact of designers’ creative efforts. Building on theories from the domains of Systems Thinking, Leadership and Design, a theoretical framework was established that helps designers navigate Complex Societal Challenges. The Systemic Design Leadership framework was used to address the challenge of perinatal death because this is a pressing issue in the Netherlands which unequally affects vulnerable groups. Eritreans immigrants are considered one of the groups that is most at risk. the Caring Pregnancy Toolkit enables care professionals and social workers to improve antenatal care for Eritrean women at risk. The toolkit embodies three types of interventions: Healthcare Maps, Translation Cards, and Pregnancy Passports. All of the tools are rested with a QR code that connects to an online co-design platform. The online co-design platform connects a community of experts and creatives around a common purpose to facilitate continuous improvement of the tools to adapt to the complex reality of the challenge.
Perinatal death is a pressing issue in the Netherlands. that unequally affects vulnerable groups. Especially Eritrean immigrants and refugees are at risk due to influential cultural factors such as low education, lack of agency and illiteracy. This project aimed to reduce maternal risks by improving the antenatal care for Eritrean women at risk.
The Caring Pregnancy Toolkit tackles the most pressing issues with three carefully designed interventions. The tools are designed to mitigate the cultural barriers for care such as, illiteracy and language barriers. The tools embodying these interventions are
- Pregnancy Passports that allow women to monitor their pregnancy and communicate important cultural values to care professionals.
- Translation Cards that improve cross cultural communication and information exchange between care professionals and Eritrean women.
- Healthcare Maps that visualize the healthcare system to improve the agency and understanding of relevant and available care for the women at risk.
All tools are rested with QR codes that connect to the Caring Pregnancy Platform. This platform connects a community around a common purpose and allows a design network of experts and creatives to continuously develop the tools to meet the complex and dynamic reality of the challenge.
Caring Pregnancy Toolkit
Caring Pregnancy Platform
The Systemic Design Leadership framework was setup to enable designers to navigate complex societal challenges. Building on theories of systemic design, systems leadership and creative leadership, the framework presents a set of attitudes and behaviors that designers can use to inform their decisions when designing for complex societal challenges. In this project the framework was used as a guiding instrument to address the complex challenge of perinatal mortality. A participatory design approach was taken where cultural experts, social workers, asylum seeker nurses, midwifes and Eritrean women where connected and guided to co-create system interventions. After many interviews and various workshops, a toolkit was designed for people who have a direct personal interaction with the target group. The intention of this concept was to leverage the comfort and trust that exists in the relationship with social workers/care professionals to inform and empower the Eritrean women at risk and improve the social/care services to meet the needs of these women. However, the complex and situated problem of the challenge demands continuous development of the interventions. Therefore, the online co-design platform was added to enable a design network to cultivate this continuous development of the toolkit.
Online Co-Design Workshop Setup
In the process, I engaged 30 participants in three sessions from 14 different organizations. The sessions were built to address the complex problem and navigated the creative efforts of the participants to co-design system interventions.