Integrating Speculative and Systemic Approaches into Service Design

Format: Papers, RSD11, Topic: Learning & Education, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Zijun Lin and Beatrice Villari

Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano

To support service innovation that embeds future and systemic issues

Humans live in multiple social service systems. These social service systems are composed of multiple levels of services and service systems. Influenced by various systemic factors and system interconnections, designers face more complex systemic challenges and uncertain future challenges when dealing with these service issues. Therefore, to better deal with the systemic and future issues embedded in services, this paper explores the relationships between systemic and speculative approaches and service design; and also discusses how designers need to evolve their design capabilities to better adapt to complex systemic challenges and uncertain future challenges.

This paper proposes the synthesis that systemic and speculative approaches, with their characteristics of systemic thinking, long-term perspective, and critical/reflective thinking, can cut into the service design process and help service designers to deal with more systemic and future-related problems through the application of relevant thinking and methods. Through literature review, the paper clarifies the relationships and possibilities between speculative and systemic approaches and service design, identifying shared concerns, complementary contributions, and gaps that need to be considered. Then proposes an extension of systemic design and the speculative approach to the service design process. Besides, through interviews with five design schools’ service design program leaders and comparing the programs, the paper also proposes five design capabilities that service designers should better evolve further.

KEYWORDS: service design, systemic design, speculative approach, approach integration

Citation Data

Author(s): Zijun Lin and Beatrice Villari
Year: 2022
Title: Integrating Speculative and Systemic Approaches into Service Design
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 135
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 22 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

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Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

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