Conference article

The Emergency Department waiting room: towards a speculative service design framework

Troy McGee
Monash University, Design Health Collab

Daphne Flynn
Monash University, Design Health Collab

Selby Coxon
Monash University, Design Health Collab

Rowan Page
Monash University, Design Health Collab

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Published in: ServDes.2020 Tensions, Paradoxes and Plurality Conference Proceedings, 2-5th February 2021, Melbourne, Australia

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 173:29, p. 288-302

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Published: 2020-12-22

ISBN: 978-91-7929-779-4

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


This paper describes an experimental, methodological approach to design research that draws upon the methods of speculative design and service design to present the framework of Speculative Service Design (SSD). This framework aims to aid service designers to explore and interrogate the tensions within future service experiences. Its goal is to draw on speculative tools and techniques to present them as a way to explore, extrapolate and evaluate future service experiences. SSD aims to imagine hypothetical service futures before they happen, decoupling design from direct market imperatives and illuminating the capacity that we, as citizens, have to influence its development and deployment.

This paper then presents how this framework has been applied in practice to the Emergency Department waiting room within a practice-based PhD. This example investigates the role of technology in future waiting experiences in the Emergency Department, and is used as a vehicle to proactively reflect on service experience futures before they happen. In doing so, the framework provides designers with a method to unpack the ideologies and philosophies that drive the development and deployment of technology.


emergency department waiting room, speculative service design, speculative design, service design


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