Designing as Negotiating Across Logic Multiplicity: The Case of Mental Healthcare Transformation Toward Co-design and Co-production
Daniela Sangiorgi, Josina Vink, Michelle Farr, Gillian Mulvale, Laura Warwick


Designing within complex service systems implies navigating across a plurality of norms and beliefs that multiple stakeholder groups uphold, designers included. Transformational processes may be challenged by minimum, moderate, or extensive conflict depending on the centrality or compatibility of competing logics. This article reflects on how the complexity inherent in higher level institutional orders of society can support or inhibit the potential of co-design in complex systems, particularly in the public sector. Using the context of public mental healthcare transformation as a backdrop, we identified and reflected on four predominant logics: the logic of state; the logic of market; the logic of profession; and the logic of community. We then developed a set of tools to support reflexivity—the excel Logic Multiplicity Workbook and the Layers of Logics Map—that can be used to take project logics snapshots to represent the perceived strength of project stakeholder logics at the micro, meso, and macro levels and their centrality and compatibility. Three co-design project examples were used to retrospectively develop and refine these tools, and support the process of making explicit the role of competing logics in project challenges or triumphs. While we acknowledge that logics are often highly institutionalized and difficult to become aware of, we value as fundamental the creation of tools to better enable designers to consciously adopt adequate strategies to navigate this complexity.

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