SystemViz is a research project by Peter Stoyko exploring how visuals can enhance systems thinking, especially as it relates to inter-disciplinary, collaborative design. Findings are expressed as visual codexes and other applied tools. Phase One of the project is an exploration of the visual notation techniques used to express systems across disciplines. Phase Two is an exploration of the theoretical literature of various disciplines—in the natural science, social sciences, design disciplines, and managerial disciplines—to distil the basic elements and dynamics. These elements and dynamics are then abstracted into generic types and displayed with an illustrative icon. This is called a Visual Vocabulary, which is being released under a Creative Commons Free Culture license for all to use and modify. Watch this space for further information about the project, including a third phase about using "motion signatures" to analyze and communicate systems.

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One implementation of visual vocabulary codex is as a set of chips for group-dialogue sessions. (See poster for overview.) A chip is a printed square with rounded corners. Each square features a vocabulary item with an icon and description appearing on the face. This form is compact enough for many mapping exercises while large enough to include a legible description of each item. The chips can be printed on-demand at low cost through Moo (or other printer) and the print-ready files can be downloaded below. They can also be printed on sheets of paper using a standard office printer, then cut into squares. Those files can also be downloaded below.

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The SystemViz Visual Vocabulary is an open-source project published under a Creative Commons Free Culture license. The license includes: the general taxonomy and the taxonomy icons, plus all the system element icons, labels, and basic descriptions. The hope is that others will find innovative uses for the model. Source files can be downloaded below. There has been a great deal of interest in translating the visual vocabulary into other languages. If you can help with those efforts, please get in touch at the inquiries address of Elanica.

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VERSION 1.1.0. Addition of three elements: accumulation, dampener, and cross-domain risk, with added footnote. New elements propagated to other downloads. Office chips have major categories placed on separate sheets to make color coding easier with printing on colored paper. [02.12.19]

VERSION 1.0.2. Minor clean-up of text to remove awkward grammar. [21.11.19]

VERSION 1.0.1. Modifications: spelling corrections, colour adjustments to chips, and change of Symbolic Milieu icon. Release of open source packages. [06.11.19]

VERSION 1.0.0. Launch of the Visual Vocabulary poster at RSD8 Conference at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, USA, plus the first public trial of the chips in a conference workshop. [18.10.19]