Conference article

Service as a system of participation: A case study of a participatory economy

Miso Kim
College of Arts Media and Design, Northeastern University, USA

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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 150:81, p. 966-975

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

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


I discuss a proposed framework of service, which views service as a system of participation, through examining the rising “sharing economy.” I suggest that the “sharing economy” is part of a “participatory economy” model in which sharing is simply one form of participation. Using Airbnb as a case study, I examine “participatory economy” services from the perspective of four layers of participation: decentralized coproduction, trust co-creation, experience creation, and community sharing. Guests who seek economical accommodation and hosts with extra space participate in value coproduction. Individuals participate in the co-creation of interpersonal trust by reframing strangers as friends through identification. Participation is the autonomous experience of a traveler who is supported by a service environment in a network that allows diverse action possibilities. Airbnb has sought to strengthen its relationship with community by promoting the core value of “belonging.”


service design, designing for participation, sharing economy, participatory economy


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