Reconsidering (Service) Design in View of Systemic Challenges: Insights from a Quantum Theoretical Perspective


  • Ingo Oswald Karpen
  • Melis Senova



service design, design theory, quantum mechanics, ontologyepistemology


(Service) designers must increasingly navigate complex and interconnected challenges in their daily work. In response, new design practices are emerging that are more systemic and strategic in their orientation. However, there is insufficient discussion about, or questioning of, the onto-epistemological foundations of design and their appropriateness in the emerging context. This paper aims to support the service design discipline in its transition towards conceiving of and responding to systemic challenges as entangled phenomena. To do so, we draw on quantum mechanics, specifically a Baradian view, which centres on the notion of entanglement and enactment to understand and navigate the world. We propose an alternative theoretical foundation for (service) design that considers ontoepistemological building blocks about the world we live in and its elements, assisting designers to question potentially taken-for-granted, yet limiting assumptions and perspectives.