Amplifying the politics in Service Design


  • Yoko Akama
  • Ann Light
  • Shana Agid



Politics, power, ethics, feminism, anthropology, reflexivity


Witnessing the speed of growth and reach in demand for service design (SD) confronts us to ask what neoliberal forces are behind this acceleration? Are services, systems and structures really improving at this velocity, and what are we eroding and ignoring in turn? Pausing to ask about the direction and effect of change is critical to recognising SD’s implication in the status quo. This paper presents a methodology of noticing precedents that are quotidian and dystopian to show how dominant logics of SD are commodifying social practices of relating and organising. By slowing down to attend, listen and reflect, our approaches reveal existing rituals, values, nuances and commitments that teach us what an apolitical SD fails to see. We contribute a methodology for amplifying the political in SD, arguing for an ethical path of resistance and reorientation to support ethical, transformative, self-determined practices of design, education and research.