Introducing the Service Design Mindset within Industrial Design Education: New Understanding for a Changing Discipline

By Christopher Arnold.

Published by The International Journal of Design Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At a time when technology is rapidly narrowing the gap between customers and manufacturers, the practice of ‘professional design’ finds itself at a crossroads. One path leads towards the margins of professional relevancy, while the other points towards a role in helping to shape a more contextually appropriate and sustainable future. While design skill and technique focused on the creation of physical artifacts will not disappear, the profession must realize that lasting importance lies in an ability to leverage designerly approaches in order to facilitate and enable interactions between people the world in which they live. The adoption of a mindset that engages ‘users’, not simply as subjects of research or hackers of the system, but as participants in the design process itself enables designers to better connect with community and cultural understanding. This dynamic awareness and connection with the human condition is something few, if any, other disciplines possess the tools to manage and act upon. In a seemingly contradictory approach, the involvement of non-designers throughout the design process will play a greater role in the application and growth of design as a professional activity. Future designers must be capable of facilitating actions with, rather than simply for, the people who stand to benefit most at the conclusion of the process. More collaborative tools, techniques, and methods of communication must be introduced early on in the design curriculum in order to prepare students for the changing face of design.

Keywords: Service Design, Industrial Design, Design Education, Pedagogy

The International Journal of Design Education, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.73-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 432.686KB).

Christopher Arnold

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Graphic Design, Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Working as a professional designer, Professor Arnold's experience comes from the architecture, exhibit, and product design industries. As an educator, he teaches studio courses and lectures at undergraduate and graduate levels. His current research and consulting activities address design for experience and services, particularly in the area of care design and health care delivery. His areas of interest also include the application of the service design thinking in domain of industrial design, design for social impact, and the use of "designerly" approaches in K - 12 education.