A not-quite-textbook definition of systems design
Deirdre Cerminaro writing for IDEO.com:
As Ackoff explains, a car needs to carry you from point A to point B. No individual part of a car can move you on its own—not the wheel, the axle, the seat, or the engine. But a car can. And if you take a car apart, you no longer have a car: you simply have the pieces, because “a system is not the sum of the behavior of its parts; it’s the product of their interactions.” That’s as true for a computer as it is for the universe—or any other system.
When you’re designing a system with a lot of moving pieces, it’s hard to know where to start, and very easy to get lost in the “What if’s?” Design needs constraints, and focusing on human needs provides them.
As a systems designer, I specialize in zooming in and out. I’m constantly jumping back and forth between the big picture and the details. I work with teams to bring the best of all disciplines together to design individual elements that form an integrated, cohesive experience for end-users.