Using Regenerative Systems for Delivering the Good Life [FREE!]

Take a class!

Sustainable Brands has embarked on a three-year journey to understand what “The Good Life” means to people today, to raise this conversation around the globe, and to find, share and celebrate brands that are innovating on this new collective vision.  The theme for the third year of this journey is Delivering The Good Life.

Sustainable Brands has discovered that today’s version of “The Good Life” appears to be shifting; less focus on money and status, and more towards a pursuit of a simpler, balanced life that is rich with connections to people, community, and environment.  

Sustainable Brands has partnered with MCAD’s Master of Arts in Sustainable Design Program to create a set of mini-courses to help empower and equip you for Delivering The Good Life. Each mini-course contains videos, readings, activities, and take-away tools you can use to help you practice what you’ve learned.

These courses are FREE! There are no grades or credits – and no pressure! They are designed for your personal and professional development — and to help you Deliver the Good Life. 

This is the fourth of 4 FREE mini-courses you’ll find posted here!


A sampling of MCAD’s Systems Thinking course

How might we—leaders of brands, as well as their consumers—emphasize a focus on seeking a simpler, balanced life that is rich with connections to people, community, and environment?

One tool for enabling this shift is using the Regenerative Systems view.

Regeneration happens at multiple levels: individual, community, and the earth system. All of us are a part of these larger systems. Some of these shared systems are communities of people and others are the environments of economy, environment, and equity.

A common practice for regeneration is to enrich larger systems by “giving back”. For example, regeneration at the individual level may mean spending more time in nature, exploring an area of interest, connecting with a community, or learning mindfulness. At the community level, regeneration could mean contributing to an organization, mentoring a child, or helping with the community garden.

Brand management can play a big role in helping your clients be regenerative. Customers pick products as representative of themselves. How can you see the larger systems that you and your clients are embedded in?

 There are two steps to creating a life that is rich with connections. First, we need to see those larger systems by expanding our perceptions.

One way to accomplish this is by Systems mapping—a simple graphical technique that allows exploration of connections between people, the community, and the environment.

The second step is to explore potential interconnections between people, community and environment.

Both of these techniques improve perception of the larger systems which provide the resources we need to grow and thrive. Giving back to these larger systems regenerates them, improving the world. Using this technique can results in the kinds of new and emergent insights, ideas, and innovations needed to Deliver the Good Life.

Improving lives so they are rich with connections to people, community, and environment—The Good Life—will be helped by working with a Regenerative Systems viewpoint.

In this mini-course, you will have a chance to explore and experiment with Regenerative Systems and how they can be used for Delivering the Good Life. An exercise at the end of the course allows you to create and leverage your own systems map.



  • You will learn about systems mapping and why it is important for Delivering The Good Life.
  • You will explore and reflect on how systems mapping is a very helpful tool for Delivering The Good Life.
  • You will identify actions you can take to use systems mapping to Deliver The Good Life.
  • You will go through an exercise where you’ll generate your own systems map for Delivering The Good Life.


This mini-course contains three readings and one video followed by “Questions for reflection” and “Taking action: How might you use what you learn?”  The questions and actions will help you embed what you’ve learned as well as make it personally real and relevant. At the end of the course you’ll find a “TRY THIS” section with an exercise you can use to help you practice what you’ve learned.

The activities are intended to be done in the order presented. There are no grades or credits for the course—and no pressure!  This course is designed for your personal and professional development, and to help you Deliver the Good Life.

If you’re interested in digging deeper or are seeking credit, please contact Denise DeLuca, Director of MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program.


Curt McNamara
Adjunct Faculty, MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program

Curt McNamara (PEng) is an educator and practicing designer with over 20 years experience. He is a scholar of R. Buckminster Fuller and authored the entry on Fuller in the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. McNamara received the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000 for his ongoing work in education, is a Biomimicry Education Fellow, and wrote the Systems Chapters in Sustainable Graphic Design (Wiley) and Packaging Sustainability (Wiley). McNamara is based in Minnesota.


You can access the first three mini-course in the series here:

Empathic Action for Delivering the Good Life
Whole System Thinking for Delivering the Good Life

Using Biomimicry for Delivering the Good Life

Faculty and alumni of our MA in Sustainable Design program will be leading a set of Innovation Labs at SB’19. We hope to see some of you there!

To learn more about this course or our fully online MA in Sustainable Design, contact Denise DeLuca, program Director.

Denise DeLuca / Director

Denise DeLuca is the Director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program. She was co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler. She also teaches with the Amani Institute.

Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, Project Manager for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute. Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and groundwater interactions.  In addition, Denise is a Biomimicry Fellow and a member of the Advisory Council of The Biomimicry InstituteBoard Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), on the editorial board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering, and an Expert with Katerva. Denise is based in Oregon.

contact:  [email protected]