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|Designing with and for social innovation: service design by working with youth civic groups in Lebanon
|Within contested contexts marked by profound political, social, and economic changes, social innovation emerges to reconceptualise services, ideas, and products. At the intersection of multifaceted agendas, social innovation brings forward a paradigm shift in tackling problems that traditional methods fail to adequately address. In this thesis, I focus on the context of Lebanon which suffers from political, economic, public health, and social turmoil. In light of a fragmented, politicised and weak welfare system, Lebanon is a fertile ground for the proliferation of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and particularly youth-led, grassroots organisations that challenge the existing status quo by devising novel ways of creating and delivering services. Therefore, how can we surface, structure, and scale youth-driven social innovation in service design and delivery, through participatory methods within contested spaces? With participatory action research (PAR) as an overarching methodology and by applying embedded ethnography, participatory design (PD), and service design methods, this thesis examines social innovation focussed on designing services across three distinct contexts of civic engagement. These include: 1) large-scale organisations in which the youth are positioned as beneficiaries; 2) small-scale youth-led organisations; and 3) the Lebanese social movement of 2019, encompassing a constellation of local and transnational grassroots. Findings reveal tensions when attempting to adopt participatory research methods within environments which lack inherent participatory attributes. Conditions needed for the creation of technology-supported social innovation for service delivery within such a complex context surface, and new forms of socio-technical infrastructures resulting from circumstances of emergency and uncertainty are highlighted. I contend that a hybrid model of design with top down and bottom-up elements is most suited to be able to structure and scale out social innovation especially while navigating both embedded and emerging issues of participation and power. Also, the design and adoption of digital technology within such contexts requires re-purposing familiar tools and building new social practices around them. Finally, due to the ongoing and evolving negotiations that need to take place as a result of circumstances on the ground, researchers ought to shift roles ranging from facilitators to activists when working within such contested spaces.
|Ph. D. Thesis
|Appears in Collections:
|Population Health Sciences Institute
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|Armouch 160705117 e-thesis.pdf
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