Abstract

When constructing or improving large complex systems, design activities help establish the needs and goals of users, deepen the understanding of the system and facilitate ideation of new solutions. When service systems are large, dynamic and complex, the need for thorough design work is especially evident. However, design methods usually strive to describe and design best case scenarios and we argue they lack the perspective of safety needed when working in safety critical systems. In order to gain knowledge on how a perspective of risk and safety can benefit design in a safety critical domain, two different perspectives were adopted through the use of two different methods. The methods were service blueprinting and barrier analysis, adopted from service design and cognitive systems engineering respectively. The methods were implemented during the research phase of a service design project in a home healthcare system in Sweden. Service blueprinting is a method used by service designers to visualise services. Barrier analysis is aimed at identifying and categorizing artefacts and functions that prevent unwanted events from taking place, or that lessen the impact of their consequences. A comparative analysis of the two methods was performed, concluding that barrier analysis has the potential to benefit design work performed in complex and safety critical systems. The potential for barrier analysis to be more tightly integrated into current service design methods is discussed, but more research is needed in order to clarify this matter.

Keywords:

Service Blueprint, Barrier Analysis, Cognitive Systems Engineering, Healthcare, Design Perspectives, Service Design

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Barrier Analysis as a Design Tool in Complex Safety Critical Systems

When constructing or improving large complex systems, design activities help establish the needs and goals of users, deepen the understanding of the system and facilitate ideation of new solutions. When service systems are large, dynamic and complex, the need for thorough design work is especially evident. However, design methods usually strive to describe and design best case scenarios and we argue they lack the perspective of safety needed when working in safety critical systems. In order to gain knowledge on how a perspective of risk and safety can benefit design in a safety critical domain, two different perspectives were adopted through the use of two different methods. The methods were service blueprinting and barrier analysis, adopted from service design and cognitive systems engineering respectively. The methods were implemented during the research phase of a service design project in a home healthcare system in Sweden. Service blueprinting is a method used by service designers to visualise services. Barrier analysis is aimed at identifying and categorizing artefacts and functions that prevent unwanted events from taking place, or that lessen the impact of their consequences. A comparative analysis of the two methods was performed, concluding that barrier analysis has the potential to benefit design work performed in complex and safety critical systems. The potential for barrier analysis to be more tightly integrated into current service design methods is discussed, but more research is needed in order to clarify this matter.

 

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