Story-Based Holistic Design

story based holistic design, human-centered design, systems thinking, design

A framework for sustainable, participatory design…

The Human-Centered Design (HCD) framework facilitates change. I designed Story-Based Holistic Design (SBHD) as an update to HCD to help people design change with sustainability being central to the process. SBHD differs from HCD in three ways.

  1. SBHD integrates system thinking processes with the existing processes in the Human-Centered Design framework.
  2. Storytelling is included throughout the framework. Human beings communicate through stories. It’s how we’re wired. We tell stories in SBHD to help foster the engagement necessary for a participant-driven process.
  3. 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 Holistic Design aims to have groups solve their own problems. The facilitor 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 Holistic Design helps groups when systemic effects are a concern. It fosters plans that they will both implement and support for sustainable, positive outcomes.

story based holistic design, human-centered design, systems thinking, design
The SBHD Process

Further details are available at