For the past 10 years, my main areas of academic work and research interests include application of systems thinking in service design.
I define design as conceiving or giving form to artifacts that create significance for the users and the designers. Given the intangibility, time-dependence of services, and the fluidity of the customer requirements, the traditional product design techniques do not provide the requisite analytical assistance when applied to designing services. This calls for tools and techniques that are developed from ground up with the intention of addressing the complexities inherent in service design.
My research objective is to provide hands-on thinking tools and reflection mechanisms, required for designing services in complex organizational and business contexts. To this end, I combine insights from the service paradigm, design thinking and systems science, to help managers and designers gain an understanding of the multifaceted and dynamic nature of service design.
My research helps explore responses to the following questions:
- What is the “service paradigm” and the “service-dominant logic”? How can these new perspectives help us redefine products and services?
- Why should design be viewed as creating “significance”? what’s in common between “design” and “significance”?
- Where do “design ideas” come from? How can we tap into our creative potentialities when it comes to designing new services and improving existing ones?
- What systems principles should we internalize before embarking on a service design undertaking?
- How can we utilize systems perspectives to bridge the gap between technical aspects of a service and the perceptions and emotions of the service users?
- What is a “service prototype”? How can we develop a prototype of a service?
- How do we distinguish between “objective”, “inter-subjective” and “subjective” dimensions of a service? Why are making such distinctions crucial?
- How can we systematically identify innovation and improvement opportunities in the design of a service?
- How can systems thinking help us conceptualize and visualize the relationships between the “service provider” and “the service users”?
- What are the imperatives of designing a robust “service ecosystem”?
- Why should we extend the notion of the “service customer” to include “users”, “influencers” and “customers of the customers”?