Ingo Oswald Karpen
Interdisciplinary in nature, my research mainly revolves around human-centred and systemic design, and its various forms that emerged across disciplines. This includes service design in the marketing and design domains, as well as design thinking in the management domain. Combining human and systemic needs, I also pursue the notion of strategic design, which I investigate from an academic perspective (see publications) as well as from a practitioner perspective with my co-edited book titled Strategic Design.
In recent years, I have been focusing on understanding, measuring and managing organisations from a design and strategy perspective. For instance: drawing on service and designerly thinking to better understand and inform value cocreation and innovation strategies; unpacking and measuring the interplay of service-driving organisational design and customer experience design; managing service systems and human relations towards more engaging experience processes and better experience outcomes.
The term ‘strategic’ reappears across my research areas as I am interested in studying, explaining and predicting phenomena that define the essence, priorities and evolution of people and the (eco)systems they are embedded in. For this purpose I am also a mixed methodologist using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research approaches.
Please see my Google Scholar profile for publications:
Illustrative recent publications:
Danatzis, Ilias; Karpen, Ingo O. and Kleinaltenkamp, Michael (2022), Actor Ecosystem Readiness: Understanding the Nature and Role of Human Abilities and Motivation in a Service Ecosystem, Journal of Service Research, 25(2) 260–280.
Klenner, Nico; Gemser, Gerda and Karpen, Ingo O. (2022), Entrepreneurial Ways of Designing and Designerly Ways of Entrepreneuring: Exploring the Relationship between Design Thinking and Effectuation Theory, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 39(1), 66-94.
Since completing my PhD in 2011 at The University of Melbourne and starting my academic position in full-time capacity, I have been passionate about inspiring students to interact with their peers, lecturers, and industry partners to cocreate exciting learning experiences and outcomes. This includes undergraduate, postgraduate and executive teaching. I view learning as a shared responsibility but put all my effort into engaging interactions in view of critical thinking and creative learning processes.
I teach courses at the nexus of business and design, such as Design Thinking for Business, Service Design for Entrepreneurs, or related Creativity and Innovation Management courses. Over the years I have built particular expertise in Executive Education and involve industry partners to design context-relevant strategy solutions together with students. My teaching interests further extend to Strategic Design, Cocreative Strategy and Service Management.
In terms of pedagogy, I have been recognised with school (department), college (faculty), overall university, national government and international teaching awards. I am also an ongoing Fellow of the Advance | Higher Education Academy, championing teaching innovation and excellence.
I fundamentally care about and work towards improving and innovating human experiences, and the (eco)systems where these experiences emerge. The design discipline that underlies this purpose and my daily practice is rather interdisciplinary, not being bound by rigid ideologies but open philosophies, integrating valuable insights from various perspectives for the betterment of the (eco)system. This challenges me to meaningfully combine human desirability (needs of people), with system-level feasibility (resources, processes), viability (relevant returns) and sustainability (long-term shared benefits).
As a practicing Strategic Designer, I apply design principles and practices to support positive change and innovation across product/service systems, business models, and (eco)systems. For this reason, I lead projects and trainings across government, industry and social enterprise sectors. This includes, for example, strategic design projects to redesign legacy organisations with traditionally less service-centred perspectives such as courts or hospitals; but can also include entrepreneurs and businesses that seek to make a difference to the wellbeing of people and the community, such as organisations driven by a responsible and/or a strong social purpose.
While engaging in these projects, I also seek to translate important (yet non-confidential) insights into academic publications and leverage these in my education. This creates a circular knowledge flow that my clients, students and partners benefit from.
Ingo Oswald Karpen is Professor of Business and Design, with a passion for making lives and (eco)systems better. His interdisciplinary research revolves around reimagining and advancing service through designerly ways of thinking, working and being; and how this enables organisations to cocreate better strategies and improve the wellbeing of people and their (eco)systems alike. Multilevel and multimethod theorising is his favourite approach, connecting the essentiality and existentiality of individual human experiences with systemic innovation. As a faculty member at the Centre for Service Research, Karlstad University (Sweden) and Adelaide Business School, Adelaide University (Australia), Ingo seeks to engage with researchers and entrepreneurs for positive societal change across contexts.
Ingo’s research and education has been internationally recognised, among others with a SERVSIG Best Service Article Award for a publication in the Journal of Service Research, and multiple Educator Awards across Australia/New Zealand. Seeking direct contributions to solving systemic problems, Ingo has won significant competitive research funding such as a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant and successfully tendered Government funding for the purpose of service reform and societal wellbeing. Ingo also serves as an editorial board member across service journals, including the Journal of Service Research, and has managed special issues across academic disciplines. Leveraging the nexus of business and design, Ingo also works as a Strategic Designer and consults with private and public organisations.
I am available to supervise PhD projects that focus on the nexus of service/strategic design and management/strategy, including individual and organisational perspectives.