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Service Futures: Empowering Reflective Action

MA 2022
Decarbonisation, Abatement, Climate Crisis, Collective Intelligence, SustainLab2022

Sferå, which stands for Service Futures: empowering reflective action

is a sphere of shared learning and reflective action that incorporates play to shift the language of decarbonization and climate narratives in the converging crisis. 

Sferå empowers Service Designers to understand, commit and enable impactful decarbonization amidst the converging crisis by knowing the facts, avoiding greenwash, and collectively committing to reflective actions through its learning hub, toolkit resources, workshops, and podcasts.


True Carbon Zero Challenge set by futurist Sanjay Khanna to explore how designers can navigate the complexity and confusion of decarbonization strategies, greenwashing and evolving climate impact amidst the converging crises. For this particular project, I have worked with Sanjay using his evidence-informed foresight lenses and the RCA Design for planet Lab to empower service design students to rise to the occasion of the climate crisis, societal inequities, physical and mental health decline and geopolitical fragmentation through reflective action.


The future of services is bound to the future of the planet on which they exist. We are currently moving towards the radical uncertainties of the future, exacerbated by the climate crisis.

In order to keep global warming to 1.5c, it requires a 50% of carbon emission reduction against 2018 across sectors by 2030. Decarbonization is important because it is the most effective strategy to combat climate change by lowering global warming. What we do in the next decade to restrict emissions will be vital to the future, which is why every country, sector, company, and the individual must collaborate to develop methods to reduce and abate the carbon we emit. 

The climate crisis threatens fundamental human necessities, including food, water, clean air, and shelter. Central to the entire discipline of Service Design is humanity. Service Design should be a practice where designers focus on people’s needs not as individuals but as societies with complex, deep-rooted problems. When designers collaborate with communities, tackle the correct problems, conduct systems investigations, and co-design modest, straightforward interventions, they may co-create solutions that will not add to the existing crisis in the future. All of us who design, develop and offer public, commercial, and third-sector services must work together to decrease emissions and identify climate-positive solutions.

Service Design has the unique opportunity to transform and improve how humans deal with each other, society, and the environment. We need to collectively reflect as service designers in the way we learn from each other, inspire and influence partners, researchers within the transactional environment, and together scan the horizon of the contextual environment.

Problem Define

Key Insights

The gap between Strategy and Action

From 2 initial surveys, 10 interviews, 4 workshops, we find out that there is a recurring pattern of a factor of disengagement of Service Design students in actively embedding decarbonization in their process; the main key takeaway is the gap between strategy and action. Some of the students find it hard to translate high-level strategies from Design conferences and seminars into practical tactics for their projects.

The Language

There is also disengagement because of the high-level ESG (Environmental -Social Governance) board room meeting language, which tuned off students to actively engage with net-zero strategies. There is also a lot of jargon surrounding Decarbonization strategies and ESG matrixes (Environmental -Social Governance).

As designers, we're acting in this context of confusion, with distractions such as Green Washing worsening the case. In order to be more effective, we need to figure out how do we bring our own house in order so that we can be better collaborators and better service designers in our sphere.

Design direction

How might we empower Service Designers to understand, commit & enable impactful decarbonisation amidst the converging crisis?


Sferå  Service Futures: Empowering Reflective Action

Sfera, which stands for Service Futures: Empowering Reflective Action

is a sphere of shared learning and reflective action in the Service Design course that incorporates play to shift the language of decarbonisation and climate narratives in the converging crisis. 

Sferå empowers Service Designers to understand, commit and enable impactful decarbonisation amidst the converging crisis by knowing the facts, avoiding greenwash, and collectively committing to reflective actions through its learning hub, toolkit resources, workshops and podcasts.


Sfera hub platform is divided into 3 main sections, which are Know the Facts, for the articles and basic information on decarbonisation and climate crisis, the jargon around it(carbon jargon) and the timeline of the progress we’ve made so far.

The second section is about greenwashing and other distractions so that we are aware of them and avoid them and flag greenwash as well.

And the third section, which is the action section, focuses on collective learning through sharing information and tool resources.

And collectively engage and commit to build more tools in the workshops and quickly reflect on them by testing them on projects and informing others through feedback and sharing case studies.

Sferå DNA

Decarbonization Nodes of Action

The area of focus, which is Abatement, Adaptation & Transition, is the three main blocks for nodes of action in how we sort our resources bank.

For every node of action, there are leverage points that are interrelated with other nodes of action.


  • Direct Emission
  • Carbon Intensity
  • Carbon Flow


  • Decarbonisation Rate
  • Climate Impact Mitigation
  • Carbon Sequestration


  • Energy Efficiency
  • Decoupling
  • Regenerative

Information Architecture

These nodes of action are the main blocks as categories for the information architecture of the Sfera hub resources. From the type of resources, which range from reports, or research documents to playbooks, users can sort it in terms of the level of interventions from strategy to tactics, and the scale of the intervention from the governance level to the community level.


Special thanks to my parent, my family for their unwavering support, Sanjay for sharing his evidence-informed opinion and valuable feedback, Emily Boxall, who gave excellent support, notes for every meeting, which was very helpful, list of references that inspire Sferå to expand beyond the brief and guidance and valuable honest feedback; Qian for her feedback and opinion; Emily Stone from The Net Zero Toolkit, Vanessa MacDougall from xtonnes, Clive Grinyer for the trust and encouragement, Carolyn for the excellent coordination, to all the students who joined the workshops, who shared their thoughts and bits of knowledge; to Richard Atkinson from the Liveable Planet Lab, who is always willing to share thoughts, research and bounce ideas and fellow MA Service Design students for the honest conversations, which inspired Sferå.