Transformative Services and Transformation Design
Daniela Sangiorgi


This article reports on the recent evolution of service design toward becoming transformational. Services are less discussed as design objects and more as means for supporting the emergence of a more collaborative, sustainable and creative society and economy. The transformative role of design is combined with the potential transformative role of services. The term “transformation design” as set forth by Burns, Cottam, Vanstone, and Winhall (2006), has been associated with work within communities for socially progressive ends, but also with work within organisations to introduce a human-centred design culture. The intrinsic element of co-production of services in transformation design necessitates the concomitant development of staff, the public and the organisation. In this way, service design is entering the fields of organisational studies and social change with little background knowledge of their respective theories and principles. This article proposes the adoption and adaptation of principles and practices from organisational development and community action research into service design. Additionally, given the huge responsibilities associated with transformative practices, designers are urged to introduce reflexivity into their work to address power and control issues in each design encounter.

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