The Use of Tangible Tools as a Means to Support Co-design During Service Design Innovation Projects in Healthcare
To meet the complex societal and economic challenges facing healthcare service provision, the public sector is dependent on new partnerships and networked collaboration in order to meet policy and program goals. The medical culture with its deeply institutionalized ways of working combined with siloed expertise makes such collaboration and organizational change especially difficult. A lack of a common goal, a misalignment of working cultures and professional languages, and a lack of a shared understanding can pose obstacles for collaborative activities needed for co-developing healthcare services. Service design and co-design practices are therefore increasingly being called upon to manage collaborative processes and drive service innovation in designing patient-centric care. Tangible co-design communication tools commonly used in service design have shown to effectively support co-design processes through facilitating multimodal communication on topics that are otherwise difficult to articulate. However, such tools have not been commonly adopted by the medical field as the contribution of design to service innovation, and the value of using our bodily senses in design methods has not yet been clearly identified. This chapter aims to contribute to the uptake of tangible tools in healthcare by presenting the design and use of tangible tools and exemplifying tools from practice, through an analytical framework drawing on the use of metaphors and affordances in physical objects.