© RMIT University.


+ Plurality 

Dates: postponed (to be advised)

RMIT University | Melbourne | Australia 


Service Design and Innovation conference (ServDes.)
is the premier international research conference for exchanging knowledge within service design and
service innovation studies aimed at both academics
and industry practitioners.

As the field of service design matures, questions of the impact of its practices, including a robust evaluation of its methodological gaps, potentials, limitations and claims, become necessary. Being held for the first time outside Europe and in the Asia-Pacific, ServDes.2020 invites you to focus and reflect on the tensions and paradoxes of undertaking service design in contexts of plurality—cultural, economic, historical and environmental—in ways that privilege difference and diversity. 

In an increasingly globalised world, the Asia-Pacific region offers a stage for negotiating systems and service complexity. This is a region where ‘design’ is positioned as a key driver for improving the living standards of many, and where its human and environmental capital is pivotal to economies all around the world. It is also a region of paradox and tension—of massive divisions of wealth; of both developed and emerging economies; where climate change is already displacing its peoples; where ancient cultural practices sit alongside emerging ones; where the effects of old colonialisms are still lived; and,
new globalised relations offer new opportunities and challenges.

The conference seeks to explore the tensions and paradoxes of negotiating traditional knowledges, cultural practices, and relational obligations in the rapidly changing global landscape. 

We ask how might service design adapt its approaches to attend to such diversity? What can be learnt from the diversity of local practices and know-how of the region? How might we engage respectfully with Indigenous knowledges? 

How do collectivist societies see ‘services’ or ‘design’ as means of addressing the pressing concerns of their communities, and does the spectre of the designed service act as a lever to shift old modalities into the new? 

We invite participation from you – practitioners and researchers from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond –
to share your insights and what you see as critical learnings for ‘service design’,‘co-design’ or ‘social innovation’ in your areas of work by allowing plurality
in these definitions. 

Long Paper Track

We invite submission of advanced and high-quality papers of up to 6000 words that address the conference theme and make a substantive contribution to theorisation or knowledge production in the Service Design field, with implications for research
and practice.  

More +

 Deadline (extended)

20th October 2019

(UTC midnight)

Short Paper Track

We invite exploratory, speculative, and/or provocative works, often in progress. This track aims to provide opportunities for lively and respectful discussion at the conference. 

More +

 Deadline (extended)

8th December 2019
(UTC midnight)

Workshop Track

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

More +

 Deadline (extended)

8th December 2019
(UTC midnight)

Student Forums

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? 

More +


15th January, 2020
(EST 5pm)



20th October 2019

Deadline for Long Papers (closed) 

8th December

Deadline for Short Papers and Workshops

15th  January

Deadline for Student Forums

1st March


Conference registration commences 

29th February 2020

Notification of acceptance with suggestions for revisions 

30th April


Deadline for revised submissions to all tracks

All submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed and therefore must be anonymous. 


Hosted by the School of Design | RMIT University | Melbourne Australia 

ServDes.2020 will be hosted by the School of Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Nearing its 130th year RMIT is one of Australia’s original tertiary and technical institutions. It enjoys an international reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education, applied research, and engagement with the needs of industry and communities.


RMIT is also a world leader in Art and Design; Architecture; Education; Engineering; Development; Computer Science and Information Systems; Business and Management; and Communication and Media Studies. It was recently ranked 1st in Australia and 12th in the world for Art and Design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018).


For more information please contact: info@servdes.org

Service Design Melbourne #ServDes2020


Slack: https://sdmelb.slack.com


ServDes. international conference archive: www.servdes.org 

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present.


RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia and around the world where we conduct our business.