Design Fiction Diegetic Prototyping: A Research Framework for Visualizing Service Innovations




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


Journal of Services Marketing



Peer reviewed



Purpose: This paper presents a design fiction diegetic prototyping methodology and research framework for investigating service innovations that reflect future uses of new and emerging technologies.

Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on speculative fiction, we propose a methodology that positions service innovations within a six-stage research development framework. We begin by reviewing and critiquing designerly approaches that have traditionally been associated with service innovations and futures literature. In presenting our framework, we provide an example of its application to the Internet of Things (IoT), illustrating the central tenets proposed and key issues identified.

Findings: The research framework advances a methodology for visualizing future experiential service innovations, considering how realism may be integrated into a designerly approach.

Research limitations/implications: Design fiction diegetic prototyping enables researchers to express a range of ‘what if’ or ‘what can it be’ research questions within service innovation contexts. However, the process encompasses degrees of subjectivity and relies on knowledge, judgment and projection.

Practical implications: The paper presents an approach to devising future service scenarios incorporating new and emergent technologies in service contexts. The proposed framework may be used as part of a range of research designs, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method investigations.

Originality: Operationalizing an approach that generates and visualizes service futures from an experiential perspective contributes to the advancement of techniques that enables the exploration of new possibilities for service innovation research.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


speculative design, design fiction, IoT, service innovation, methodology, diegetic prototyping, qualitative


Harwood, T., Garry, T. and Belk, R. (2019) Design Fiction Diegetic Prototyping: A Research Framework for Developing Service Innovation. Journal of Services Marketing, 34 (1), pp. 59-73


Research Institute

Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)