Co-designing for service innovation in technology

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Co-design approach emphasises collaboration, and it is connected to the traditions of participatory design where potential users are empowered to come with their ideas in order to design new solutions. The notion of co-designing is equally a knowledge sharing and creative process where the key skills and experiences of participants are joined up together to reach novel ideas, resulting in service innovation. (Kankainen, 2012). Service innovation is crucial for design research and design practice. The areas of service design and innovation require further exploration and development; which is in contrasts with effort devoted to service design and research. I have attempted to define the concept of a service and service design in my earlier posts. This post will be centralised on service innovation as a direct output of service design. Service innovation is a new process or offer, put into practice, and is adopted by an organisation which creates value for one or more actors within the service network. (Patrício, 2018)

The initial political ideology of participatory design in the 1970s Scandinavia to promote workplace democracy is now weakened somewhat, while there is now more emphasis on creative collaboration in multidisciplinary group work. As a result of this shift in the objective, the terms participatory design has been partially replaced by co-design. (Kankainen, 2012). There is a consistent growing share of service in the manufacturing sector; the service sector continues to creating more job opportunities and combined with the pressures from rapid advancements in information technology and globalisation; service innovation is key to global economic and social advancement, for example in health care services, education services, and public service, service innovation is crucial to improving human well-being.

"Actors" refer to entities involved with interactions that can occur within a service. They can be end-users, customers, organisations, and other components such as systems, process and technology that contribute to the service value chain. (Blomkvist, 2010)

Co-designing plays an important role in service innovation as it brings innovative ideas to realise via design thinking process by focusing on the understanding of actors and their context, with a future view of solutions and prototyping the solutions. Although service design has recently emerged as a creative, human-centred and iterative approach innovating services; the idea of service design is not new as it was first introduced by Shostack in 1982 to the service marketing literature. (Patrício, 2018)

Taking a holistic approach between service design and innovation offers multiple areas of expertise including service operations, service marketing and interaction design. These areas are all interconnected through design-based approaches, methods, tools and models. The holistic approach brings advancement in service design and practice as they are developed based on multiple methods but with different epistemological origins that are not quite integrated, thereby making it difficult to achieve optimal results during the organisation transformation journey. (Patrício, 2018)

(Trischler, 2018) carried out some testing using co-design as a collaborative approach to creating new service concepts. Co-designing, with user participation, are pivotal principles in service design and service innovation. The findings show that co-design teams when compared to in-house professionals, and user-centred only teams are more effective in translating user needs into innovative design concepts. These outputs can be diminished by negative factors such as intra-team differences or stronger individual domination which hinder the team's collective creativity and productivity. However, co-designing provides guidelines for service designers in selecting customers, assembling teams and managing team dynamics to enhance co-design success for information system projects.



Blomkvist, J. a. H. S., 2010. Service prototyping according to service design practitioners. Sweden, Linköping University Electronic Press..

Kankainen, A. V. K. K. V. a. M. T., 2012. Storytelling Group–a co-design method for service design.. Behaviour & Information Technology, 31(3), pp. 221-330.

Patrício, L. G. A. a. F. R., 2018. Upframing service design and innovation for research impact.. Journal of Service Research, 21(1), pp. 3-16.

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