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Visualisation and Prototyping of Services

Prototyping is core to how designers do their work. According to Coughlan et al (2007) talking about the IDEO practice:

‘It involves moving from the world of abstract ideas, analysis, theories, plans, and specifications to the world of concrete, tangible, and experiential things. “Prototypes” are representations of design ideas created before final artefacts exist. In some industries or companies, the term prototype is reserved for highly resolved and close-to-launch versions that in essence “stand for” a final product or offering. In our use of the term, and more typically within the design profession, prototypes can be usefully thought of as “learning tools” and consequently may exist at any level of resolution—from very rough to highly refined—and may be used at any stage in the design process to explore, evolve, and/or communicate ideas.’

(Coughlan et al, 2007:3)

In this sense, we propose to use prototyping capabilities not just as a tool for demonstrating a product or environment, but as a tool for envisioning, development and refinement of a service design solution. As a tool it supports and enables the learning loop of iterative testing and development of ideas and solutions with different stakeholders involved in the commissioning, design, delivery and use of the services. It enables us to prototype service propositions in realistic environments, involving users and other design disciplines in co-creation workshops as part of both the research, as well as the design process, and then rehearse and evaluate systems impacts and service performance in the design and delivery phases. The images shown are of our SIMLab, the environment for digital simulation of services and service environments, and we would then move from this to a Living Lab where service prototypes can be piloted before deployment