Alison Prendiville, Lcc, University of the Arts, London, UK & Yoo Akama, School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

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Embodying, enacting and entangling design: A phenomenological view to co-designing services

Title: Embodying, enacting and entangling design: A phenomenological view to co-designing services
Author: av Yoko Akama & Alison Prendiville
Affiliation: School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia & LCC, University of the Arts, London, UK 
DOI: 10.3384/svid.2000-964X.13129
First published:  2013-06
Year:  2013
Pages:  12
Number of pages:  29-40
Language:  English

SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation/Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköping University, Sweden

Publication type: Journal article
Journal: Swedish Design Research Journal
ISSN: 2000-964X

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What is holding back service design from making a distinct departure from a product-centred to a socio-material human-centred framework? We have a concern for co-designing that is often discussed as a generic method to develop empathetic connections and understandings of people and their contexts. In this use, mastering the craft of co-designing had inadvertently isolated the method from the practitioner, fragmenting its process as a series of static events or a tool for deployment in staged workshops. Contributing to current debates on co-designing and design anthropology, our paper seeks to re-entangle co-designing back into its lived and enacted contexts. We see co-designing as a reflexive, embodied process of discovery and actualisation, and it is an integral, on-going activity of designing services. Co-designing can catalyse a transformative process in revealing and unlocking tacit knowledge, moving people along on a journey to 'make real' what proposed services might be like in the future. Co-designing plays a critical role especially when it involves the very people who are enmeshed in the realisation of the proposed services itself. As such, our case study of a weekend Ordnance Survey Geovation camp pays closer attention to how this took place and discusses the transformative process that was central to it. By taking a phenomenological perspective and building on a seminal anthropologists' work, Tim Ingold, our paper counters the limitations in service design that tends to see its process as a contained series of fixed interactions or systemized process of methods. Through Ingold, we see 'the social world as a tangle of threads or life-paths, ever ravelling here and unravelling there, within which the task for any being is to improvise a way through, and to keep on-going. Lives are bound up in the tangle.' Similarly, we view co-designing as being and becoming, that is constantly transforming and connecting multiple entanglements.


Phenomenology, co-designing, service design, methods.


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SVID, Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign | Besök: Söder Mälarstrand 29, 3 tr | Post: Söder Mälarstrand 57, 118 25 Stockholm | info@svid.se I 08-406 84 40