Disputation: Manuela Aguirre

Manuela Aguirre Ulloa will defend her PhD thesis "Transforming Public Organizations into Co-Designing Cultures - A study of capacity-building programs as learning ecosystems" for the degree of PhD at AHO Friday 5. June at 14.00. The defense will be held in English. 

The PhD thesis is available to read here:

Register for the disputation
The disputation will take place in zoom webinar. To be able to participate as audience you need to register. After registration you will receive a link. This link will be active 15 minutes before the disputation is scheduled. 

Register here


This thesis explores how public sec​tor organizations introduce new ways of working, such as co-design methods and mindsets, and examines the interactions between emerging co-designing cultures and dominant public sector cultures. This research contributes to the field of design, with a focus on culture change in public sector organizations.
Through s​ystems oriented design, two large capacity building programs were studied using participatory design approaches: Fifth Space in Canada and Experimenta in Chile. The experiences from these two cases were coupled with literature reviews and gigamapping, where theory and practice were connected iteratively leading to the development of the Ripppling model and the Ripppling ecosystem. 
These two frameworks highlight the importance of the physical, practice, and paradigm dimensions in intercultural relations, and support the analysis of the cases. The findings from this thesis are critical for designing lasting transformation in public organizations, by taking into account the complex, dynamic, multi-scaled, and multi-layered relationships that exist within and across cultural co-designing groups. 
manuela_aguirre_mg_7650_3.jpgAbout the candidate
Manuela Aguirre Ulloa (1988) is a Chilean designer, passionate about tackling complex social issues while bridging research, teaching, and real-world practice. She is currently Assistant Professor of service design at AHO and leads the systemic design efforts at Designit. Before starting this doctorate, she worked at Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, epicenter for using design to transform healthcare experiences. She holds a Master of Industrial Design from AHO, completed in 2012 with the award winning project Designing for Dignity, recognized for pioneering the use of systems oriented design for multi-sectorial co-creation.


Birger Sevaldson, Institute of Design, AHO
Andrew Morrison, Institute of Design, AHO

Adjudication committee

  • Alex Ryan, Executive-in-Residence, Rotman School of Management, Toronto. 
  • Per-Anders Hillgren, Professor, Malmö University
  • Maja van der Velden, Associate Professor, Institute of Informatics, UiO

Date: 05. June, 2020
Time: 2:00 pm

Venue: Zoom