Conference article

Desis Network: Strategies to advancing systemic social innovation through service design

Carla Cipolla
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ/Coppe, DESIS Network, Brazil

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Published in: ServDes2018. Service Design Proof of Concept, Proceedings of the ServDes.2018 Conference, 18-20 June, Milano, Italy

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:3, p. 25-36

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


DESIS Network (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) is composed by more than 40 Labs, based in design schools all over the world. This study aims to present the service design approach adopted by DESIS Network and its impact in support of social innovation processes. Although not exhaustive (not covering theories and practices developed in all labs), the study covers two main aspects: (a) the service, developed by a DESIS Lab, that have attained the larger impact in terms of systemic change over time and (b) the service design theory that have been largely developed among network members. The study, based on social innovation theories, concludes that DESIS uses service design to scale out social innovations (by understanding social innovations as services and using design for services to promote their dissemination as new service models) and to scale deep social innovations through the services derived from them (services that work to change relationships and cultural values, as social innovations do). A challenge faced by DESIS is to frame how its service design practices could increasingly contribute to scale up social innovations and the transformative changes they carry out.


service design, design for service, design for social innovation, design education, design networks


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