Conference article

Working with complexity: A contemporary skill framework for service designers

Tamami Komatsu Cipriani
Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Martina Rossi
Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

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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 150:9, p. 105-116

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

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


Designers today live in interesting times, riddled with complex, ‘wicked’ problems amidst advancing technological landscapes that are transforming: the object of design, the spaces in which it is conducted, the actors involved, the stages in which it operates and the value it delivers. The paper explores each of these aspects, presenting the main arguments of current academic debate and extracting skills that service designers should acquire when moving forward. Understanding the role of service designers and the skills needed is a useful pursuit for the discipline as a whole, which finds itself in a moment of reflection and self-assessment. Remaining relevant as professionals is a key issue for many service designers as they face problems whose solutions are often open-ended, systemic and done with the engagement of non-designers. The paper concludes by proposing a skills framework for the contemporary designer to serve as a prototype for future reflection and debate.


service design, complexity, skill framework


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