“Up to now, few business have regarded the service industry as an area of innovation. However, as companies waken up to the massive potential it offers, over the coming years demand for Service Design competencies will be huge.”

1508 Design Company, Denmark 'Can You Design a Service?' page 17.

As a discipline, Service Design is becoming surer of itself – what it can achieve and the role it will play within our economies, what changes and benefits it can bring. We are already (in the Western world) living in a service-driven economy, but one which is not meeting the needs and demands of the customers and users of those services.

As companies and organisations wake up to the changes they need to begin making, and Service Design begins to play a leading role in those changes there is going to be a rise in collaborations between businesses and design.

Service Design is already a bit of a buzz-word amongst those interested, but not wholly involved in it. As more organisations reach that stage of interest it is going to become increasingly important to manage the introductions and explanatory stage of Service Design: its principles, methodologies and tools at the beginning of a project. I want to work in that area, creating tools to be involved in those introductory stages.


To introduce and explain. To begin mapping out what could happen, what areas (chapters) of Service Design would be effective, what the organisation sees as beneficial to them. Testing the waters. I want to encourage the asking of questions, and to begin sketching out the elements and parameters of the designers brief.

I want the organisation to be able to work through these tools themselves, for them to delivered to their environment (offices, space) thereby inviting design in. I envision this first stage being undertaken not by those at the top of the pyramid, but by those who are in contact with the users and customers of the service,or those that will be. They are the experts, in the customers and the service currently provided, they know what is missing and what needs to be altered. Their insights are invaluable.

I have been asking myself what way is best to introduce such a broad, and widening, subject? I’ve found (through speaking to designers, and specifically service designers) that showing them your work, your methods, your process is enough to get the message across. The Service Design process is a learning curve – each side adjusting and learning from each other as the project extends. I want to make that adjustment a little easier, by beginning to weave the two sides together a little earlier.

I’m thinking a video introduction to tell the story of Service Design, a quick and easy way for people to take on board information. I’ve been working on a script … I took 12 Service Design definitions from UK and international companies, extracted their key/buzz words, divided these into themes and methods. what, why, who, how, what, why, where. These form central paragraphs and branches of the script. I was keen to input too much of my personal opinion, to keep it open and adaptable.

I am working on the small set of tools enabling the group to venture a little further into sections of design methodology which may suit the organisation, envisioning possible futures. Telling future stories.

I want the outcomes of these activities to be fed back not only to the designer who will take on the next stage of the project, but to be made available to the rest of the organisation. Service Design should be shared, and it is the storytelling which stitches it all together.

images to follow ( too dark to take pictures in the studio)



3 thoughts on “pre:design

  1. this is just what sds need. they should be employing you.
    can we chat some point at the end of the weekend/weekend…they are in need of good communication throughout the organisation of exactly what the SI team can do and how we should all fit together…I’d like to find out more.

    brilliant blog by the way!

    sarah x

    • Thanks! I tend to think of my blog as a way of talking to myself, it’s good that others are listening!
      I’m doing BoConcept stuff tomorrow morning and a meeting with the Development Management team at GSA in the afternoon. Apart from that I’m free on Friday/weekend, whenever suits.
      I’m 07963185634 (or any other communication means)
      cheers love, happy to help. Also intrigued to see what is happening at sds…

      kj x

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