Pre-conference event ServDes, Rio 2023, July 11, 2023
Service design as situated activity
1. Services are artifacts whose raison d’être is to make possible and probable encounters oriented toward obtaining results (service encounters). Given their nature as systems of interactions, they are social forms situated into wider social systems which they themselves help to generate. And which, at the same time, constitute their conditions of existence.
As a result (consciously or not) their design is deeply linked to the specificity of the socio-cultural contexts in which they operate. In other words, service design is, necessarily, a deeply situated activity.
This is all the truer when service design proposes itself as a promoter of social innovation oriented towards the ecological transition (which, first of all, means to be linked to the physical and socio-cultural specificities of the places).
2. We believe that, until now, the highly situated nature of service design has not been sufficiently understood and valued. We believe it is necessary and right to start doing it. This means considering examples from different regions of the world and comparing them with each other in order to bring out local specificities and common traits.
The goal is to collaborate in the construction of a cosmopolitan design culture. That is, a culture capable of cultivating different cultural specificities and, at the same time, keeping the conversation open among everyone.
3. The DESIS Thematic Forum is a meeting that aims to investigate these regional characteristics of service design. To do this, designers and researchers working in different regions of the world are invited to bring contributions. Each of them is asked to present one or more cases of services, and therefore of service design, which highlight the cultural and behavioral specificities of the region in which they were conceived and developed.
In the final part of the meeting, what these experiences have in common and what is different will be compared, considering (1) the idea of service to which they refer; (2) the way in which the design process took place, and (3) the concrete results it brought.