Nature-inspired design for self-organized social systems: A tool for collaborative communities

Sumin Lee, Joon Sang Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This research was motivated by the need to design for self-organized and sustained collaborative communities. A collaborative community is defined as a group of people who are bound by a sense of community and fulfil their unmet needs through collaboration (Baek, Meroni, & Manzini, 2015). A community with limited resources and premature organisational structure and therefore experience an unbalanced workload is fragile. If the community fails to distribute workloads fairly within and the commitment of the sacrificing members is exhausted, it is likely to fall apart. Inspired by the self-organization phenomena in nature, we designed a tool that these communities can use to conceive strategies that contribute to autonomy and collaboration. For validation, we applied the tool to an industrial design student club. The results demonstrate that despite the differences between social and ecological systems, there is a potential to learn from nature to design for self-organized collaborative communities with the condition that one has sufficient knowledge about both the references and the design target. We also discuss the problem-solving and learning effects of the tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2019 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 2019 Aug 52019 Aug 8

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Design Society. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Modelling and Simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Nature-inspired design for self-organized social systems: A tool for collaborative communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this