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Research Projects

Shetland Arts, Deutsche Telekom, Scottish Funding Innovation Voucher Scheme £40,220

Design for Services
Design for Services
Design for Services
Design for Services
Design for Services

Main project collaborators

Hazel White, DJCAD, University of Dundee
The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS)
Fraser Bruce, DJCAD, University of Dundee
Prof Mike Press, DJCAD, University of Dundee
Jo Hodge, DJCAD, University of Dundee (PhD Researcher)
Paul Mackinnon, DJCAD, University of Dundee
Sara Nevay and Master of Design Students, DJCAD, University of Dundee
Dr Rosan Chow, t-labs, Deutsche Telekom, Berlin
Katharina Bredies, t-labs, Deutsche Telekom, Berlin


Hazel White
Fraser Bruce
Prof Mike Press
Jo Hodge (PhD Researcher)
Paul Mackinnon

Context and background

Design for Services Design for services covers a wide range of different activities, from developing customer experiences to improving healthcare outcomes. This new field reflects shifts in the landscape of design in which users play a more central and active role in the creative process. Business, third sector and public services recognise the value of design as a tool to improve communication and efficiency. In this new landscape, designers have opportunities to redefine their role and practices.

Aims and objectives

The design for services research programme undertakes client focussed projects to address specific service based problems, enabling a postgraduate community to explore new models of design practice and disseminate the knowledge arising from this action research to a range of disciplinary specialisms.

The overall aim of White’s research and practice is to investigate how designers can be facilitators and translators: enabling the people who use, deliver and commission products and services to be at the heart of imagining and developing them. White has worked with a range of different individuals and organisations using a design-led approach to innovation to identify latent needs and new opportunities.


Design for Service Recent outputs include KIST a design for a communication system developed by staff, parents and children from the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and postgraduate students and staff from DJCAD. The system is designed to help CHAS staff, parents and relatives of children with complex communication needs to share the likes and dislikes of the child through a combination of workshops, handcrafted objects and an online interface.

KIST developed from two earlier projects: Pigeon Post - doctoral research into communication between parents and children who are separated - and Hamefarer’s Kist, a project developed through a residency in Shetland (2009). The latter resulted in the development of a crafted digital artefact to connect Shetlanders with distant relatives. These projects focus on the value of crafted objects as mediators in a social or healthcare context, enriching the idea of physical ‘touchpoints’ in conventional service design.

RIP + MIX is a toolkit of design methods used to generate new ideas, developed with Deutsche Telekom, Berlin to engage everyone involved in bringing products to market in the initial design stages of product development. White facilitated a collaborative team to undertake research, deliver six research reports and conduct workshops for the company. White and Bruce have further developed the method to facilitate RIP + MIX workshops for the Scottish Government’s QuEST team and NHS Scotland to aid creative thinking by consultants, patient representatives, GPs and Service managers when re-designing NHS service provision.

Outcomes from these projects have been presented at the University of Colorado, Denver, Carnegie Mellon University, and four specialist health conferences in Scotland. Additionally we have facilitated demonstrations and workshops in Manchester and Finland. The research has also underpinned new developments in our Master of Design for Services programme.

Design for Services - click here to download PDF description