Designing an organisation’s design culture: How appropriation of service design tools and methods cultivates sustainable design capabilities in SMEs

Cathrine Seidelin
IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Stine Moeslund Sivertsen
Industriens Uddannelser, Denmark

Yvonne Dittrich
IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 173:1, s. 11-31

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Publicerad: 2020-12-22

ISBN: 978-91-7929-779-4

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


Service design (SD) is acknowledged as an approach that can help organisations to address service innovation. However, organisations are struggling to build design capabilities and develop sustainable SD cultures within the organisations. This paper focuses on this central challenge by exploring how a small and medium-sized “non-design-intensive organisation” can integrate SD both as a way to develop internal design capabilities and as an approach to service innovation. We report on an action research study in which we initiated seven SD micro cases. The findings show how our designed SD learning activities developed autonomous SD initiatives within the organisation, and thus over time fostered a sustainable SD culture in this context. Based on our findings, we conclude that organisational appropriation of SD tools and methods is crucial for an organisation’s ability to build and sustain capabilities which can foster an SD culture.


service design, service innovation, design capabilities, organisational change, design culture


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