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Dr Silvia Grimaldi

Reader in Service Design and Collaborative Futures
London College of Communication
Researcher Research
Silvia  Grimaldi


Dr Silvia Grimaldi is Reader in Service Design and Collaborative Futures, and Co-Lead and Co-Founder of the Service Futures Lab at London College of Communication (LCC), University of the Arts London (UAL).

In the past she was Course Leader of the MA Service Design ,Postdoctoral Research Fellow on Pharma Factory (H2020), and Co-Investigator leading the UAL side of Co-Design Your Place Erasmus+.

She has a PhD in Design from UAL.

Silvia's expertise is in negotiating, scoping, managing and leading multi-stakeholder projects, involving communities, organisations, researchers, designers and students. Her approach is participatory, based on design-justice principles that value multiple voices, mindsets and experiences, and based on ethical exchange. Outputs are on varying scales from the user centred to the systemic (organisational, ecological), and on varying scales of impact, from service transformation, to service design, and policy interventions.

Her academic research focuses on the role of narrative in service experiences, design fiction and service design as tools for public engagement, surprise, service design, and service design pedagogy.

As Course Leader for MA Service Design (2017 to 2021) Silvia has facilitated, set up and run the many outstanding Knowledge Exchange activities that the course is known for and led the course team in these activities. The course has been featured nationally and internationally for its relevance in design for public service and policy. MA Service Design has a long history of collaboration with public, private and third sector organisations to tackle societal challenges. The master’s team has collaborated extensively with the London Borough of Camden: delivering creative public consultations to, among others, inform the redesign of public libraries, supply evidence on the value of home library services, tackle homelessness, support emergency covid-19 response redesigning food delivery systems and the onboarding of new volunteers during the first pandemic outbreak in April 2020. For an example of this type of work please see the project Camden Families .

Since 2019 she has worked as Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the EU Horizon 2020 Pharma Factory project, a collaboration involving five biotech SMEs and four academic institutions (2017-21) and led at LCC by Prof. Alison Prendiville. Applying a user-centred approach to engage stakeholders (industry, government, regulators, patient groups, clinicians and the public at large) the research aims to better understand the opportunities for plant molecular pharmaceuticals, particularly high value products such as enzyme replacement therapies and diagnostics. The final output of the research will be an international digital exhibition.

In 2019-2021 Silvia has been Co-Investigator and UAL lead for the Co-design Your Place, Erasmus+ funded project on Service Design in Regeneration with partners The Stable Foundation (Poland) and Station Student and Innovation House (Denmark). This resulted in a conference and a published handbook for involving youth in regeneration projects.

In 2017-18 she was research coordinator for the Design School at LCC, working across the school to foster a research culture, provide research mentorship to academics, and work with both the School Management Team and the Research Office to develop a strategy for research within the Design School.

Her research work has been published in international journals and as part of edited books and she is peer reviewer for international journals and conferences.

Research keywords: service design, product design, non-digital interactions, narrative, design narratives, design innovation, design fiction, narrative theory applied to design, emotions, surprise, co-design, speculative design, design thinking, social design, design methods, interaction design, research through design.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

Research Outputs



Conference, Symposium or Workshop item


Current research students

  • Alvaro Bravo Cole, Exploring Creativity In The Context Of Rough Sleeping And Social Design (Lead supervisor)
  • Putri Delina Evans, Decentralising Service design: Co-developing rapid diagnostic assays for antimicrobial resistance in India (Joint supervisor)
  • Marida Maiorino, Community engagement for placemaking actions as a strategic resource to generate social resilience. (Joint supervisor)


3D design and product design
Business & management, and science
Communication and graphic design
Creative Computing