Systems Oriented Design (S.O.D.) is the designerly way of systems thinking. It is tuned towards working with the dynamics of human activity systems and its interactions with technology rather than constructing technological systems. The complexity in modern high end ship building has increased on several fronts. This is especially true for the design of vessels for very complex offshore operations demanding visualisations of rich information to the officers on the bridge or other operators and human actors, to facilitate fast and reliable control. A holistic approach to the interplay between human activity systems and between human and technical systems becomes crucial when regarding e.g. safety. Such holistic approaches in maritime design are hindered because the production processes are extremely complex. Customized solutions, dependencies between subcontractors, class rules and safety regulations make innovation difficult. The result is often a compromise that does not render the optimal solutions. Through focussing also on the innovation process as a human activity system, involving e.g. the client, class organizations, authorities etc, S.O.D. holds the promise to help to bridge these problems. Through the visualization of super complexity and visions for the near future one can communicate and create enthusiasm and willingness to stretch innovation processes across the organisations, from the board room to the authorities. The paper will present and discuss some early findings and innovative cases from oil spill recovery and ship bridge design and discuss how the approach of S.O.D. can contribute to radical innovation in maritime design.