2–5 February 2021


Submission Guidelines (closed)

Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

Submission Information (closed)

Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

ServDes2020 : New Dates

Monday, 01 Jun 2020

Call for Papers: Special Issue in International Journal of Design

Wednesday, 01 Apr 2020

ServDes2020 Postponed

Sunday, 01 Mar 2020

Plans and principles for ServDes.2020 - a podcast

Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

Guidance to Authors on Preparing Your Paper, Student Forum or Workshop Video Presentation

Wednesday, 09 Dec 2020

A Capitalist Kool-Aid?

Thursday, 10 Dec 2020
Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

Submission Guidelines (closed)

Preparing your submissions

All submissions must be anonymous and must not contain name(s) of author(s) or any references of institutions for the purposes of blind peer review. Please ensure these are removed (including file names, captions, etc) prior to upload.
All submissions should be in English, formatted to the ServDes. conference template. Please download the template (at the bottom of this page) which has the instructions for formatting when writing the paper or workshop proposal. This allows for consistency and easy transition for camera ready conference proceedings.
References and citations should follow APA guidelines. Please read RMIT’s guideline on using APA 7th here.
Submissions that do not comply with these criteria will be returned or rejected.

Submissions have now closed.

To update accepted submission to ServDes2020
Please use link below:
ServDes.2020 conference submission system

Please make sure you submit to the appropriate tracks in the conference submission system.

Review System

All submissions will be blind peer reviewed according to evaluation criteria set by the relevant track chairs. Once reviewed, all authors will be notified of conditional acceptance or rejection. Submissions that are accepted conditionally will be required to address the feedback by the camera ready resubmission date (30th April 2020).
Long Papers that are unfortunately rejected will have the opportunity to submit again to the other tracks by 1st December 2019. The review process will provide succinct feedback and suggestions for modification towards other tracks before this time. However, the timing is very tight so please make sure you plan enough time for this possibility.


Acceptance of notification will be on 29th February 2020. Those accepted will be required to attend and present, discuss questions and engage with the conference program. This means at least one author must register for the conference for the submission to be included in the proceedings.
All accepted and revised submissions must be formatted in the ServDes. template and submitted to the conference system by 30th April 2020.
Accepted submissions will be made available prior to 6th July 2020 from www.servdes.org website.

Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

Submission Information (closed)

Long Paper Track: Deadline (closed)

We invite submission of advanced and high-quality papers of up to 6000 words that address the conference theme and make a substantive contribution as critiques, theorisation or knowledge production in the service design field, with implications for research and practice. Accepted papers will be invited to present as an extended conference session, whereby each paper will be allocated a discussant who prepares a guided discussion for the paper.

Selection will be based on the strongest potential for acceptance for a Special Issue in the International Journal of Design edited by Ingo Karpen, Carolyn Barnes, Stefan Holmlid and Eun Yu. Please note, only a limited number of papers can be selected for the Special Issue.

Submissions that are not accepted will be notified in advance (by mid-late November 2019) with the option to re-write and submit to the Short Paper track.

All Long Paper abstracts will be published in the conference proceedings. Accepted submissions will be given the choice to publish the whole paper in the conference proceedings or withhold them if the author(s) wish to re-work them for another output.

​Short Paper Track: Deadline (closed)

We invite exploratory, speculative, and/or provocative works, including those in progress. The short paper track aims to provide opportunities for lively and respectful discussion. Inspired by the growing endeavours to explore different modes of communicating knowledge and practice, ServDes2020 invites three ways to submit to the short paper track that addresses the conference themes above:

• Short scholarly paper up to 3000 words.
• Other-than-Paper media, plus an 800-word text, that communicates and contributes knowledge in new or particular ways that the chosen media types allow.
• Practice Notes: an 800-1000 words written piece aimed at a broad audience that asks questions, discusses methods or challenges notions of service design practice. Submissions to this track may include mixed media as part of the submission.

Please note that EasyChair only accepts submissions in a .pdf format. Still images may be embedded in the pdf (maximum file size: 5MB). Other types or larger-sized media should be made available online, the URL of which must be included and clearly indicated in your pdf submission. Please download the Short Paper template (under submission guidelines) for ’Scholarly’, ‘Other-than-paper’ and ‘Practice notes’ and use the same formatting. ​

All Short Papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

Workshop Tracks: Deadline (closed)

The practice of running workshops in Service Design is evolving. We aim to capture this moment and elevate the workshop as a focus for something we are curious about, experiment with, and from which we generate insights.

We invite and encourage proposals that reflect on what a workshop is and does as well as address the conference themes. For example, the workshop could include a focus on the tensions theme by exploring how the ethics of ‘data’ generated from workshops are followed through; or the paradox theme by revealing contradictory ideas that exist simultaneously within the issue/s the workshop aims to address; or the plurality theme, by focusing the workshop on how to generate an experience that validates participants from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

These themes could be contextualised within a broader situation, such as a change within a health system, a not-for-profit organisational issue; or a government service system (as examples).​

All accepted Workshop abstracts have the option to be published in the conference proceedings.

New models of workshopping
We are seeking proposals that wish to explore an idea but also progress the craft of running workshops, such as new and innovative ways to engage and encourage participation. What materials and methods, beyond post-it notes and butcher’s paper, can bring insights to the surface? What bespoke tools are used that elicit different forms of interaction? What do physical, and performative aspects enable?

Your workshop will make ServDes2020 an inclusive and stimulating event. Please write in a lively and inviting manner and supply compelling imagery that will attract participation. In your proposal, submit a range of images (no more than 1mb each ) to illustrate the innovative, haptic, tactile, performative nature of the workshops.

Workshop categories

As an object of inquiry at ServDes.2020 we invite submission of three categories:

1. Embedded workshops (1.5hrs): Proposals that are embedded within a workplace, in the field or at the site of specific service design-oriented projects. Suggested ratio of 1:20 (facilitator : participants). These workshops give participants insight into local practices and working environments. Please outline how the workshop will engage with the conference themes, the overarching objective of exploring inclusivity and take full advantage of the workshop format proposed. Please note, submissions can be made by visitors from outside Melbourne if they can partner with a local practice.

2. Thematic workshops (1.5hrs): Proposals that explore concepts, theories, processes, frameworks, practices and pragmatics through a smaller workshop format. Thematic workshops can be conducted by practitioners, academics or researchers in fields where a closer engagement with the proposed subject matter is more appropriate. Suggested ratio of 1:10 (facilitator : participants). This can be facilitated by individuals or small groups but the ratio of participants to facilitators will be lower than the other categories. Venues will be provided but please include specific requirements, such as materials, facilities and technologies in your proposal.

3. Workshopping workshops (1.5hrs): The practice of running ‘workshops’ is evolving but the variety and efficacy of methods remain opaque. This track aims to elevate the methods of ‘the workshop’ itself as the topic to be investigated when explored through tensions, paradoxes and plurality. The type of workshop, how it functions and reflection on what it is and does, will be the focus of the interaction. Suggested ratio of 1:20 (facilitator : participants). Venues will be provided but please include specific requirements, such as the facilities and technologies required for your workshop, in your proposal.

Selection criteria

The criteria for selection are common to each category. The proposal must:
• Demonstrate the quality of design, content and engagement
• Have a clear, stated intention (what will participants get from attending?)
• Show that the workshop proposal contributes to design practice
• Identify the originality in the way the workshop is designed


Please use the Workshop Proposal template and address the following requirements (you can use the dot points below as a guide for headings):

• Contact name
• Organisation
• Venue address [and travel directions for Embedded Workshops]
• NB: please anonymise for blind peer review and supply once shortlisted

Workshop title

Workshop outline (6-800 words in total). Include:
• Summary: 150 word abstract of the workshop written as a ‘call out’ invitation for participants. Describe what participants will do; the schedule of activities within the timeframe; and so on
• Theme/s to be addressed (eg Tensions, Paradoxes or Pluralities) and how the submission speaks to these
• Imagery of previous workshops or methods used that highlights the features of your proposal
• Context (for example: health; customer experience; or environmental or social issue)
• Objectives (for example: to run an open-ended, generative event; to explore an issue in depth; or to bring people together in a different way)
• Impact on Service Design practice (innovative or novel activity), include any academic and/or industry references that substantiate the proposal and its contribution to design practice
• Risks (if applicable)
• Outcomes including, for example: documentation and/or alignment with a Short Paper
• Reflective activity built into your workshop experience
• Facilities required (including technology; whiteboards; wall space etc)
• Capacity (preferred number of people)
• Room style: for Thematic workshops and Workshopping workshops to be held at RMIT, we have two room styles: fixed tables and movable tables, which hold up to 30 people in each. Please indicate your preference and we will aim to provide if possible.

Student Forum: Deadline (closed)

This track invites undergraduate and recent graduates, Masters and PhD students to a dedicated program of discussions, workshops and networking around Service Design. Are you an undergraduate or recent graduate and would like to share your questions, concerns or speculative ideas with fellow students? Are you a postgraduate student and would like to share your research with peers? Are you interested in service design education and keen to discuss student learning experiences with fellow practitioners?

This forum aims to provide a platform for you to share examples of work underway or completed, celebrate excellent projects, exchange ideas, gain feedback from recent graduates, researchers, educators and build relationships with experts and emerging practitioners in Service Design. It supports both oral presentations and showing work in the form of a poster. Prizes will be given for best poster and best presentation.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and indicate whether you wish to exhibit a poster or oral presentation (or both) that speak to one or more of the conference themes – Tensions, Paradoxes, Plurality. The abstract should include:

• Keywords (up to 4)
• Introduction to topic, issue or project
• Description of project
• Conclusion, impact or results
• Follow ServDes. conference paper template for formatting

For those who would like to present a poster, please also include a screen-resolution draft of your poster in your submission as well as any other visuals (sketches, prototypes, data vis, mapping, images of work) that relate to your abstract. Please make sure that copyright is sought prior to submission, if the image is not your own. If the submission contains images of people, please obtain permission by those to make them public.

Your submission should be A4 PDF (no bigger than 5MB) and uploaded to the ServDes. conference submission system by the extended deadline of 15th January, 2020 Eastern Standard Time (EST). Please note, once your poster has been accepted, we will provide you with specific instructions regarding submission of poster artwork.

All accepted Student Forum abstracts and posters and will be published in the conference proceedings.

Monday, 01 Jun 2020

ServDes2020 : New Dates

We are delighted to announce that ServDes.2020 will take place Tuesday 2 February - Friday 5 February 2021
Thank you for your patience and continued commitment during these uncertain times. ​

A conference is a chance to learn, share and connect, so we welcome both on-line and on-site participation. A draft program has been designed as a hybrid model, allowing presentations, discussions and workshops to be delivered and accessed across the world. The on-site program at RMIT University in Melbourne will enhance sensorial, place-based engagements. This hybrid model is a first for the ServDes conference series, aiming to be responsive to a variety of presenters’ time zones via scheduling from late morning to evening in Australia.

Online participants will enjoy:​
• Access to all pre-recorded Long Papers, Short Papers, Student Forum presentations one week before the conference.
• Live broadcasts of Welcome, Keynotes, Regional Panels and Patterning Place. Participants can also watch these recordings later, at their leisure.
• A variety of Online Workshops designed to suit multiple time zones.
• Online Thematic Discussions, where panelists clustered around mutual themes of interest co-host expansive and participatory conversations with guests and attendees.
• Ways to engage and connect socially online (See "Behind the Scenes" for what students have researched, explored and proposed – so stay tuned!)

The development of the ServDes.2020 conference experience has been the result of studios taught across RMIT University Communication Design programs. Students have designed the branding, website, eating and learning experiences, and have been guided by principles of inclusion, sustainability and respect for Kulin Nations. Some of their explorations are featured on Behind The Scenes on the ServDes.2020 website.

We look forward to welcoming you on-line for ServDes.2020. Please register on 6th July 2020 and secure this exciting event in your calendar in 2021!

Wednesday, 01 Apr 2020

Call for Papers: Special Issue in International Journal of Design

Carolyn Barnes, Ingo Karpen, Stefan Holmlid, Eun Yu

Special Issue of International Journal of Design (IJD)

Service Design in the Context of Complexity: Tensions, Paradoxes and Plurality​

Call for Papers for the Special Issue of IJD edited by Ingo Karpen, Carolyn Barnes, Stefan Holmlid and Eun Yu has been launched.
Full Papers due: October 15, 2020

Sunday, 01 Mar 2020

ServDes2020 Postponed

Anna Farago

We are extremely sorry to advise that we need to postpone ServDes.2020, currently scheduled for 6-9th July 2020. This difficult decision has been made due to the changing circumstances surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). Following announcements and increasing travel bans across the globe, we are postponing ServDes.2020 to later date (to be confirmed).
Registration for ServDes.2020 has been closed for the time being. Announcements will be made when registration re-opens and ServDes.2020 is rescheduled.
Any registrations that have been paid will be refunded to the payee within the next few weeks.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact info@servdes.org

Sunday, 01 Dec 2019

Plans and principles for ServDes.2020 - a podcast

Yoko Akama, Ingo Karpen, Tania Ivanka, Marius Foley

ServDes.2020 committee members on exciting ideas, plans and principles for the conference.

Wednesday, 09 Dec 2020

Guidance to Authors on Preparing Your Paper, Student Forum or Workshop Video Presentation

Liam Fennessy

The ServDes.2020 conference will be delivered online via a this website and a series of webinar sessions. Each Long and Short Paper, and each Student Forum presentation will require a short video presentation of between 6 and 10 minutes to be prepared by the paper authors. For Workshop sessions this activity is optional if you feel it will be useful as a means of summarising (or introducing) your workshop. All pre-recorded presentations are to uploaded to the submission portal emailed to authors by the 11th of January 2021.

These videos will be transferred as unlisted videos on a dedicated YouTube channel and linked to the ServDes.2020 website where they will be archived and can be viewed at any time immediately prior to, during and after the conference.

During the conference each session will be accessed by delegates via a webinar link, where the presentations of that session will be introduced by a session chair and then broadcast to the presenters and participants. Once the broadcast of the presentations has concluded the session chair will open a discussion between the presenters and the audience – so while your presentation is pre-recorded the nominated ‘presenter’ for each paper will need to be present in the session to respond to questions from the chair and audience.

Your pre-recorded video presentation should be structured so as to summarise the ideas and findings you discuss in your paper and to invite discussion and to lead viewers to read your published paper in the conference proceedings.

Technical Requirements:

Your Pre-recorded Video must comply with the following specifications:

File format:


File Size:

Less than 1GB

File Name:

Please save the MP4 file with your paper/workshop/student forum submission number (XXX) (contained in the subject line of this email) in this format XXX_SD2020Video.mp4


Between 6 and 10 minutes


The default language for narrated content in the pre-recorded presentation is English and all text embedded in the video must be in English.

Opening Credits:

For the first 10 seconds of your pre-recorded video you must include in clear text, of a reasonable font size, of the full title of the paper / workshop / student forum and the full names of all authors. This is so that audience members can quickly associate what they are about to see within the webinar environment to what they may have already read in the proceedings or searched for on the website. Note: there is not requirement to include the paper / workshop / student forum “abstract” in the presentation (unless you feel it important) as this will be accessible via the conference website, the proceeding and will be visible when people access the video via YouTube.

Aspect and Resolution:

1920x1080 1080p (Note: this is the maximum HD YouTube video resolution),Or 1280x720 720p (Note: this is the minimum HD YouTube video resolution)

Audio Codec:


Video Codec:


Frame Rate:

Your pre-recorded content will be encoded and uploaded in the frame rate it was recorded in. All common frame rates (24,25,30,48,50 or 60) are acceptable.


Please submit your completed pre-recorded video presentation to pre-recorded presentation portal (the link to this has been emailed to you) on or before the 11th of January 2021.

Guidance Notes:

Most desktop computer and smartphone based approaches to making and editing videos will give you options to ensure it is easily transferable to platforms such as YouTube. It is likely you will already be familiar with (or that you could quickly find out) methods to produce this presentation. Where possible we suggest you have a conversation with your paper / workshop co-authors to design the kind of presentation you feel is best and then define a way of producing it. The really critical elements are that it is well planned or rehearsed, of a suitable audio quality, and that any text, images or diagrams you use are treated in a way that aligns to the conferences inclusion and accessibility ambitions. Below are some basic tips and tricks to assist you to make an accessible presentation adapted from: ‘How to Make Your Presentations Accessible to All’ available here: https://www.w3.org/WAI/teach-advocate/accessible-presentations/#preparing-slides-and- projected-material-speakers

• Plan and visualise the structure of the presentation bearing in mind that the audience will be viewing it via a computer screen.
• Structure the presentation to take between 6 and 10 minutes, providing adequate pauses in narration and time on key images for the audience to fully understand what you are discussing.
• Think about how you best present ideas in normal situations. For some people speaking to a camera is quite natural, while for others they are more comfortable speaking to another person. Design your presentation around the context of ‘presenting’ that works best for you.
• Write yourself a script and rehearse it to get the timing right.
• Get some help early in the process. Plan to show a recorded rehearsal to a colleague to check that your narration and visuals are clear early in the process.


• Be consistent with your camera orientation please shoot in landscape mode 
• If filming yourself speaking the camera should be set at eye level and not looking up the nose or looking down from high.
• Ensure you have a good and stable source of light on your subject (or you) by facing a window or with some room lights on. If using natural light cloudy days are good because the light is diffused and there is less chance of shadows and rapidly changing light levels.  
• Mount your camera on something stable (at eye level) or get someone else to hold the camera.
• Pay attention to framing and composition (eg: ensure the correct amount of headroom, and that you have a balanced composition etc).
• To avoid camera focus and exposure fluctuations an exposure and focus lock might be helpful to use (Most digital cameras and smart phones have a function where the user can lock the focus and exposure on selected an object or person).
• Clean your camera lens before you start. Smart phone lenses in particular are often dirty and smeary with fingerprints and lint that will make your video look foggy.


• If using an inbuilt microphone (on a smart phone or digital camera) ensure that device is close to the subject being filmed or audio recorded to maintain suitable audio levels and clarity.
• To ensure adequate audio quality (and to reduce the risk of distraction while being filmed/recorded) find a quiet spot to record and use a room or space that doesn’t have too much echo or intervening environmental noise.

Be Mindful of Yourself and Others

• Be mindful where you position yourself to film and of your background to avoid inadvertently filming aspects of your private or work-life (such as people, images, objects) that you are not completely comfortable showing to the world online.
• Be particularly mindful of elements contained in your presentation either through what you film directly, what you might say or the images you may include that may impact other people’s privacy, that may be upsetting to others, or that present a risk of cultural insensitivity.

Text and Imagery

• Make text and important visuals big enough to be read on screen in the time that is given to them.
• Use an easy-to-read font face. Simple fonts with consistent thickness (weight) are often easier to read than fonts where parts of the letters are thin. Please avoid fancy fonts or graphic treatments that are difficult to read.
• Use a sufficient “luminance contrast” between colours to ensure that text and graphic information can be readily discerned from background colours.

Be Inclusive in your Narration

• Speak clearly and avoid speaking too fast so that participants who do not share your language as their first, or that use sign language interpreters, or voice to text software, can better understand you and keep up.
• Use simple language and avoid, or explain, jargon, acronyms, and idioms. For example, some colloquial expressions can be interpreted literally by some people with cognitive disabilities and can be confusing.
• If you choose to show yourself in the recording, be visible and in good light when you talk, so participants can see your face. This helps some people hear and understand better.
• Please describe all of the information that is on each slide or section of the video. This does not mean that you have to read the slide  exactly as it is, just that you give reference to any visual and textual information you include. Describe pertinent parts of graphics, videos, and other visuals to the extent needed for others to easily understand what story they are telling or how they support key ideas discussed in the presentation.


• Depending on how you go about producing your pre-recorded conference presentation it is likely you will need to do some basic editing to cut out extraneous time, and to incorporate and transition between film and graphic sections. There are all manner of ways to do this some very simple and some very complex. Programs like quicktime, imovie, adobe premier and even slide show type software such as powerpoint and keynote are potential options.
• Make a decision early in the process on what editing software you will use and plan around both your capacity to use it and what it will let you do.

Suggested ways to produce your pre-recorded presentation:

There is no particular method for producing your video presentation but please select a way that will best represent the qualities you feel will relate to the content you are presenting and keep in mind the conferences aims for inclusive and accessible media.
Below are some suggestions:

Multiple Person Presentation: If you are presenting a paper with multiple authors and you feel it important for the audience to see and hear you all speak you could prepare and record your presentation as a rehearsed multi-person presentation through conferencing software such as Zoom, Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams.
Narrated Film or Animated Presentation: Filmic or animated presentations using a variety of platforms can be highly engaging if they are well scripted. This approach demands some experience and can be a lot of work but can result in very high quality outcomes.

Narrated Slideshow Presentation: If your paper requires the provision of key text, images, diagrams or video a narrated slide show with audio is a sound option. You can use any number of methods for doing this including ubiquitous software such as Keynote, Powerpoint, or Google Slides.

Thursday, 10 Dec 2020

A Capitalist Kool-Aid?

Julia Leong, Social Media Chair for ServDes.2020

Sarah Drummond,co-founder and CEO of We Are Snook, UK, shares how she is most excited about Day 1 Keynotes by Uncle Norm Sheehan and Tristan Schultz on ‘respectful service design’ and to learn from Indigenous cultures and perspectives. “Indigenous communities around the world own their land and have different ways of being.” She sees ServDes.2020 conference as an important event to challenge and open up discussions on dominant world views, and what ‘respectful’ service design might mean in industry. “We have to take the narrative beyond it being merely a statement in the industry … We are all indoctrinated. We are all in a capitalist kool-aid, sleeping walking into the end”. It can be difficult to peel back ingrained world views. The way we make choices comes from the way we are, upbringing, religious beliefs or other cultural and social factors.

ServDes.2020 explores tensions, paradoxes and pluralities in service design – themes that resonate strongly with Sarah’s work. “I gave a talk recently, called Designing Intention. We are living in a world where we have to sit comfortably when there may not be a right or wrong anymore … There are so many plural ways of thinking about what the right thing to do is, but the right thing to do could harm other people.”

Arguably, one of the biggest tensions we face is the increasing scale of emergencies like climate change and the pandemic. Sarah explains, “there are big problems and systemic changes, but as there is so much uncertainty and complexity, we can sometimes feel disarmed. Human psychology tells us, if we don’t control areas in our lives, we become anxious and unable to address the tensions at play”. But we can’t design a system in a box and just ‘magic it up’. To address this complex situation, there needs to be collaborative responses to re-design every aspect of our lives. “We need a lot of people working together to pull lots of small levers in order to affect change”. How can we work towards achieving this? Sarah sees plurality of approaches, a key theme in ServDes.2020, as a way to address big systemic changes.

Sarah also expresses concerns over service design education. “I am an advocate of design being applied to services and systems, but I am also critical of design. It is important to challenge what we are actually doing. We are not having enough difficult conversations around what we are doing and what we’re here for. We get taught a lot about process and methods, but what about our consciences, and what the decisions we are making will impact society?”

She asks us all to be open to hearing critique of design, and welcome more thoughtfulness into what we are designing. “With the evolution and scaling of service design as an industry, conferences such as ServDes2020 will allow us to have more challenging discussions”.

Sarah is eager to explore and discuss many tensions and paradoxes at the conference. Join her and others during the Thematic Panel Discussion on 3rd February 2021!