Service Design in the Context of Complexity:

Tensions, Paradoxes and Plurality
Paper Due: Oct.31, 2020

Call for Papers

As the field of service design matures, questions concerning the nature of its practices, their impact, methodological gaps, potentials, limitations and claims, are timely, but unlik ely to result in simple answers. This Special Issue of International Journal of Design seeks articles from academics and practitioners that explore the tensions and paradoxes within service design and service marketing at a time when factors of difference and diversity make negotiating complexity a central challenge for its practice. How might service design adapt its approaches to attend to complexity and diversity? In an age of globalisation, what can be learnt from the diversity of local practices and know-how? How does service design navigate strategy development in complex business environments? What role can service design have in the transformation of systems, super systems and policy? How can service designers work effectively across the multiple dimensions and levels of a system or organisation or in response to the challenge of diverse, differently empowered stakeholders? Is the model of the designed service a lever to shift old modalities into the new or a brake on such possibilities? How might designers engage respectfully with Indigenous knowledge? The special issue seeks to explore these and other ambiguities and frictions.


  • Full Paper Due (Extension):
  • Notification of Review Results:
  • Final Version of Paper Due:
  • Notification of Acceptance:
  • Special Issue Publication Date:

31 October 2020
15 January 2021
15 February 2021
25 February 2021
30 April 2021

Special Issue Editors

Ingo KarpenCarolyn Barnes
 Graduate School of Business and Law,
RMIT University

 School of Design,
Swinburne University of Technology,

Stefan HolmlidEun Yu
 Department of Computer and Information
Science and Human-Centered Systems,
Linköping University,

 Department of Design,
Seoul National University of
Science and Technology,
South Korea


  1. Agid, S., & Chin. E. (2019). Making and negotiating value: Design and collaboration with community led groups. CoDesign, 15(1): 75-89.
  2. Blomberg, J., & Darrah, C. (2014). Toward an anthropology of services. The Design Journal, 18(2). 171-192.
  3. Čaić, M., Holmlid, S., Mahr, D., & Odekerken-Schröder, G. (2019). Beneficiaries’ view of actor networks: Service resonance for pluralistic actor networks. International Journal of Design, 13(3), 69-88.
  4. Eun, Y., & Sangiorgi, D. (2018). Service design as an approach to implement the value cocreation perspective in new service development. Journal of Service Research, 21(1), 40-58.
  5. Hillgren, P. -A., Seravalli, A., & Eriksen, M. A. (2016). Counter-hegemonic practices; Dynamic interplay between agonism, commoning and strategic design. Strategic Design Research Journal, 9(2), 89-99.
  6. Karpen, I.O., Gemser, G., & Calabretta, G. (2017). A multilevel consideration of service design conditions: Towards a portfolio of organisational capabilities, interactive practices and individual abilities. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 27(2), 384-407.

Submission of Papers

Manuscripts should be prepared using the template file and guidelines found at the AuthorGuidelines page. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. A double-blind review process will be employed for this special issue.

Manuscripts should also be sent through the online submission system. Authors should choose “Special Issue on Service Design 2021” as the Journal Section when submitting papers.