Shivani Prakash and Oda Heier
Service design is increasingly accepted as an approach to innovation in public service systems, with an especially high rate of acceptance in Norway. Service designers navigate within complex societal systems, ultimately crafting the experience of Norwegian values through public service touchpoints (Filho & Clatworthy, 2017). When designing public services in a drastically changing socio-cultural landscape (Norwegian Ministry of Culture, 2019; Thorud, 2019), an intersection of evolving cultural values and state policies exists. A gap between the cultural assumptions of the designer and diverse users are likely to emerge. Such a gap illuminates a clear need for cultural humility in public sector workers (Sugaipova, 2020) and designers as shapers of public services, should be no exception.
Within this landscape, we ask the research question: How might we shift the systems of service design to embrace a culturally humble design practice in Norway? Our study indicates that talking about cultural differences within design in Norway is taboo. Although designers have a general awareness about cultural differences, it is not integrated in practice. Based on these findings, the study created a design intervention aiming to spark a dialogue around cultural humility in the Norwegian service design context. This intervention shares a vision, the notion of cultural humility, and a framework for a reflective conversation through a digital platform. The framework offers an opportunity for service designers to build their critical self reflective (Fook 2008) muscles through reaction-based exercises, supported by artefacts that externalize related tensions.