Syntegral Design: group-based creativity through aesthetic processes

Brian Woodward


An adapted version of Stafford Beer’s model of team syntegrity was combined with four Aesthetic Processes (APs) (clay/sculpting, theatre improvisation/writing, painting/drawing and cutarorial/found objects) to generate a process model of design that maximized group-based idea generation, idea sharing, and idea integration in a short period of time. This paper outlines some preliminary discoveries resulting from a three-day participatory Forum hosted by the Leadership Learning Lab at The Banff Centre in which four ‘design pods’, made up of leader developers, business managers, artists, and academics responded to a design challenge to create a new enterprise. Clay/Sculpting and Curatorial/found objects proved to be powerful methods for group-based idea generation and exploration compared to Painting/Drawing and Theatre/Writing. Participants also found this same pattern in terms of comfort with these two APs. The direct hand manipulation involved in these two APs affected how participants were able to share their ideas and to make collective sense of them. The value of using APs as an engine of design within a structured group-based approach is discussed.


design, syntegrity, creativity, aesthetic processes, groups

Full Text: