After a long maturation period, the discipline of Service Design is evolving in several directions and exploring new territories.
The discipline has been founded on the area of affluence of many knowledge streams, from service marketing and management to interaction design and product design. The ground knowledge from those disciplinary areas has been integrated through research and cases studies that have emphasized different and new aspects of service design, including user-participation and co-creation, user experience, systemic and social aspects, technological implications and strategic perspectives.
This relatively young area of design research is now exploring a wide landscape, that includes methodological contributions, practice-based research, concrete cases and prototypes, while new stakeholders are expressing interest in this discipline and promoting new cases and experiences.
The last few years have also seen an increasing number of public sector initiatives with the support of design agencies, foundations and research groups that are promoting novel approaches to public service innovation. This includes for example modes to capture and amplify signals of social innovation projects or the set up of innovation labs within Government offices. At the same time the private sector is exploring the potential of more collaborative approaches to service innovation that value users contribution and participation in the design process.
Furthermore new contextual conditions are changing the cardinal points in service innovation: e.g. the availability of large data sets create new grounds for a new generation of services, that enable citizens to navigate and connect with dispersed resources; social networking tools are creating new layers of interaction and collaborations among close and far off people, while amplifying human capability to elaborate existing information; finally broader social changes are changing the patterns of the demand for new services. The papers presented in ServDes 2016 explore this new landscape with the aim of generating new maps, new orientation tools and coordinates, to help interpreting and framing this evolving field.