Designing Social infrastructures for Complex Service Systems

Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer

Services delivered through the public and social sector play an important role in addressing complex societal problems. Services consist of interfaces between service consumer and deliverer, and infrastructures that support the service deliverer. Infrastructures such as protocols, scripts and blueprints are often intended to control the behaviour of service delivers. This is a linear top-down view of service organisations. This paper presents a different perspective, using Stacey’s theory of complex responsive processes: service organisations are ongoing iterated patterns of relationships between human beings. Infrastructures for complex service systems can therefore be considered ‘social infrastructures’. Two case studies are presented that each describe the design of a successful social infrastructure, in the education and health sector respectively. To analyse the human-centred design practice of these case studies the author introduces the NADI-model, which identifies different levels of depth in needs and aspirations of stakeholders. The deepest level of this model consists of phenomenological ‘themes’. The model is used to show how themes explain the success of the social infrastructure in the first case study. The second case study subsequently shows how, using Dorst’s frame creation methodology, themes support designing social infrastructures for complex service systems.

Posted Sep-2016

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