Service Design as a Cultural Intermediary – Translating Cultural Phenomena into Services
This paper expands existing service design and customer experience discourse by critically viewing service design through the lens of design as a cultural intermediary. Through a mixed methods approach, a triangulation of theoretical frameworks examines service design as a cultural intermediary, and what this might mean for this developing field. Examples of culturally aware services are discussed, to unpack the term social awareness as a cultural phenomenon, in relation to trend forecasting and meaning-driven innovation. A design case is included to further explore service design and cultural transformation, and the translation of cultural trends into service concepts. The outcome supports service design as a cultural intermediary, resulting in four main analytical findings: triple semantic transformation, meaning-driven concept innovation, experiential touch-points and experiential evidencing. The paper concludes that service design needs to develop its role as a cultural intermediary. This view is currently lacking in today’s service design discourse.