This paper discusses how service design can be used to activate a transition of textile artisan communities towards a sustainable future.
Two participatory case studies were undertaken with textile artisans in the UK and South Africa. These led to the development of an original methodological framework for “crafting situated services” – services designed to be meaningful to the local communities within which they are embedded. An evaluation study assessed the originality of the framework, its relevance for tackling real-world problems, its extensibility and the rigour of the research process.
The framework brings together a variety of roles, methods and tools that designers can adopt in order to enter communities, make sense of sustainable futures, facilitate the co-design of situated services and activate legacies within communities. Building on emerging anthropological approaches, the framework makes a bridge between service management and service design for social innovation, advancing the field towards design for social entrepreneurship.
Arguing against the idea of the designer “parachuting” into communities to create services regardless of the local context, the concept of “situated services” is proposed in this paper, alongside a process for “crafting” meaningful social innovations. This requires the service designer to adopt a more situated and embedded approach to designing with communities in order to align with their needs and aspirations, interweave places, time, people and practices within the process, and co-design contextually better services.
The research presented in this paper was supported by Loughborough University and funded by the AHRC Design Star CDT. The authors gratefully acknowledge all the participants who gave their invaluable contribution to the research project.
Mazzarella, F., May, A. and Mitchell, V. (2021), "A methodological framework for crafting situated services", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 752-782. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-05-2020-0188
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