Professor Ingo Karpen

Professor Ingo Karpen
 Position Professor
 Org Unit Adelaide Business School
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5525
 Location Floor/Room 10 ,  Nexus 10 ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    You can find Ingo's research profile here:

    Ingo Oswald Karpen is Professor of Business and Design, with a passion for making lives and (eco)systems better. His interdisciplinary research revolves around reimagining and advancing service through designerly ways of thinking, working and being; and how this enables organisations to cocreate better strategies and improve the wellbeing of people and their (eco)systems alike. Multilevel and multimethod theorising is his favourite approach, connecting the essentiality and existentiality of individual human experiences with systemic innovation. As a faculty member at CTF - the Service Research Center at Karlstad University (Sweden) and Adelaide Business School, Adelaide University (Australia), Ingo seeks to engage with researchers and entrepreneurs for positive societal change across contexts.

    Ingo's research has been widely published including in the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Research, Marketing Theory, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Service Management, Journal of Cleaner Production, Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Service Theory and Practice and Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services among others. His research and education has also been internationally recognised, among others with a SERVSIG Best Service Article Award for a publication in the Journal of Service Research, and multiple Educator Awards across Australia/New Zealand.

    Seeking direct contributions to solving systemic problems, Ingo has won significant competitive research funding such as a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant and successfully tendered Government funding for the purpose of service reform and societal wellbeing. Ingo also serves as an editorial review board member across service journals and has managed special issues across academic disciplines. Leveraging the nexus of business and design, Ingo works as a Strategic Designer and consults with private and public organisations.

    Illustrative recent publications:
    Danatzis, Ilias; Karpen, Ingo O. and Kleinaltenkamp, Michael (2021), Actor Ecosystem Readiness: Understanding the Nature and Role of Human Abilities and Motivation in a Service Ecosystem, Journal of Service Research, in press.
    Klenner, Nico; Gemser, Gerda and Karpen, Ingo O. (2021), Entrepreneurial Ways of Designing and Designerly Ways of Entrepreneuring: Exploring the Relationship between Design Thinking and Effectuation Theory, Journal of Product Innovation Management,, open access.


  • Research Interests

    Interdisciplinary in nature, my research mainly revolves around human-centred and systemic design, and its various forms that emerged across disciplines. This includes, for instance, service design in the marketing and design domains, as well as design thinking in the management domain. Combining human and systemic needs, I also pursue the notion of strategic design, which I investigate from an academic perspective (see publications) as well as from a practitioner perspective with my co-edited book titled Strategic Design.

    In recent years, I have been focusing on understanding, measuring and managing organisations from a design and strategy perspective. For instance: drawing on service and designerly thinking to better understand and inform value cocreation and innovation strategies; unpacking and measuring the interplay of service-driving organisational design and customer experience design; managing service systems and human relations towards more engaging experience processes and better experience outcomes.

    The term ‘strategic’ reappears across my research areas as I am interested in studying, explaining and predicting phenomena that define the essence, priorities and evolution of people and the (eco)systems they are embedded in. For this purpose I am also a mixed methodologist using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research approaches.


  • Community Engagement

    I fundamentally care about and work towards improving and innovating human experiences, and the (eco)systems where these experiences emerge. The design discipline that underlies this purpose and my daily practice is rather interdisciplinary, not being bound by rigid ideologies but open philosophies, integrating valuable insights from various perspectives for the betterment of the (eco)system. This challenges me to meaningfully combine human desirability (needs of people), with system-level feasibility (resources, processes), viability (relevant returns) and sustainability (long-term shared benefits).

    As a practicing Strategic Designer, I apply design principles and practices to support positive change and innovation across product/service systems, business models, and (eco)systems. For this reason, I lead projects and trainings across government, industry and social enterprise sectors. This includes, for example, strategic design projects to redesign legacy organisations with traditionally less service-centred perspectives such as courts or hospitals; but can also include entrepreneurs and businesses that seek to make a difference to the wellbeing of people and the community, such as organisations driven by a responsible and/or a strong social purpose.

    While engaging in these projects, I also seek to translate important (yet non-confidential) insights into academic publications and leverage these in my education. This creates a circular knowledge flow that my clients, students and partners benefit from.   

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 13 Jul 2021

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