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System/Service Design

21st May 2009

Associate Dean, Research & Innovation
School of Design, Northumbria University
Newcastle, UK

1. In your view, how is your research/work related to Service Design?

I have a longitudinal view of the development of service design practice from the perspectives of the design practitioner and design researcher. I have generated models of the design content, process and context of service designing to facilitate the work of design practitioners and its interrogation as a reflective practice. I have reviewed the nature of service design from the different methodological standpoints. I can see the value that systems/service design thinking and practice can offer to new contexts of application.

2. In your view, what is the most/less interesting aspect of Service Design?

Least interesting is the regurgitation in conferences of presentation that re-state private sector service design project experiences in terms of company business offerings.
Most interesting is the opportunity that service design and related systems design, human centred problem solving and innovation practices have to transform the infrastructure and fabric of our society at policy and practical levels.

3. Can you tell us about a Service Design research project(s) you did or read about?

I am currently supervising three PhDs in the field of service design, including;
1. Developing critical approaches to the role the designer can play in envisioning new services, communities and organisations.
2. Understanding the role of design practice in public design commission projects and its relevance to service design contexts, and
3. Investigating the capacity of transformation service design to move beyond social science methods in support of communities of craft practice in rural India.
I am also helping to set up a collaborative policy approach to better user-centred health and wellbeing services for older people in society.

4. Are there area(s) that you would like to do or see research on?

There is a growing interest in the adoption of service design thinking and practice in public sector service design contexts by government but a concern as to how to define and assess value in the introduction of innovation in the public sector. This comes down to assisting civil servants to appreciate human centred, systems and service design thinking based on credible case studies of past practices where these issues have been explored and developed. The research task is to build these case studies and relate them in a way that government departments and staff can understand and relate to.


Your suggestions for the blog:

Who would you like to invite in this conversation about Service Design Research?
Professor Jim Edwardson former Director of the Institute of Ageing in Newcastle University and Director of the Alzheimer Society UK.

What is the question do you have about Service Design?
How do we introduce transformation/service design thinking at a policy setting level within UK public service sector development.
How do we create a sustainable economic paradigm to support service design practice for community engagement projects.

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One Response to “System/Service Design”

  1. [...] for Sustainability, Politecnico di Milano), Cameron Tonkinwise (Parsons The New School for Design), Robert Young (School of Design, Northumbria University) and Clare Brass (SEED [...]

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