Synergetics Collaborative

Synergetics Collaborative

Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) was founded in 2002 to bring together a diverse group of people with an interest in Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics in face-to-face workshops, symposia, seminars, and other meetings to educate and support research and understanding of the many facets of Synergetics, its methods and principles.

Synergetics is the system of comprehensive thinking which R. Buckminster Fuller introduced and began to formulate. Synergetics is multi-faceted: it involves geometric modeling, exploring inter-relationships in the facts of experience and the process of thinking. Synergetics endeavors to identify and understand the methods that Nature actually employs in coordinating Universe (both physically and metaphysically). Synergetics provides a comprehensive method and a philosophy for problem-solving and design and therefore has applications in all areas of human endeavor.



Edna Lawrence Nature Lab

Founded in 1937 by long-time faculty member Edna Lawrence [RISD ‘20], Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab inspires countless art and design projects throughout the college and beyond. Its hands-on natural history collection and studio environment offers the opportunity to examine and explore the patterns, structures and interactions of design in nature.

The lab uniquely integrates a natural history collection, a lending library of natural specimens and a studio environment. With its growing collection of more than 80,000 natural history objects, books, visual resources, microscopes and a digital work station, the Nature Lab serves as an invaluable research facility for the RISD community. In 2003, The Nature Lab accepted the Arthur Loeb Design Teaching Collection. This hands-on collection of hundreds of three-dimensional polyhedra and two-dimensional patterns inspires students and faculty to examine nature’s fundamental responses to design problems.




In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.

STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.

The objectives of the STEAM movement are to:

  • transform research policy to place Art + Design at the center of STEM
  • encourage integration of Art + Design in K–20 education
  • influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation