Archive for the 'Service Design' Category

Reflections on Emergence 07

[updated with photo]

Emergence was all about service, what is service design?

Another question was also raised: “how is service design different from the other disciplines like user experience design and interaction design?” No one at the conference had a really definitive or confident answer to this question . But some themes emerged in Emergence for me :

A service mindset means designers need to give up control and empower our customer. Facilitate their engagements beyond products and interactions.

Designing for services is a mindset, most products we design are part of a service if you look deep enough. Providing good services requires designers to collaborate and enable others to think on their own, grasping every key moment to deliver to the customers above and beyond. Designers need to stop making crap and start helping people help themselves.

Designers need to speak the business language and be stealth.

A service mindset means more facilitation and more stratetic business thinking, which is not traditionally a designer’s job, we have to step up to it.

Day 1 Keynote: “Visual Thinking at a Global Scale: The Story of Many Eyes” with Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas, IBM Research Visual Communication Lab

Manyeyes was conceived as a research project to research how information graphics used in a social network context will have effect on people. Go to the site and see for yourself what effect they have on you and notice the comments others have left. This is really a cool project.


Here’s a really great word-based visualization of one of my favorite plays:


This is my latest interest, what motivates people in different cultures?


Activating Consumers with Mark Jones, IDEO, Chicago

Mark presented a case study on a project they did to redesign the service of a health insurance call center. The methods they used to help their client involved doing observations, domain study, working with stakeholders, experience maps (“the health journey”), workshops on finding a focus (“be clear about your role: guide? teacher? coach? expert? financial advisor etc…”), scenarios, personas. They did experience prototypes and acted out scenarios in workshops with the client. They also delivered a set of service design principles for their client as a deliverable and a prototype (fictional call to show how a the specialist can seize key moments with the customer.


As a result of this project, the client had a create a whole new role in their organization. They also have had to change the way they measure success, prior to this project, they measure how quickly the reps can get off the phone. Now, they don’t. It’s amazing to me the kind of organizational change IDEO was able to make here.

10 Disruptive Trends in Design with Allan Chochinov, Core77

Alan talked about 7 trends in design and showed 3 videos. All good things come in 7s, 3s, and 10s 🙂

  1. Design Memes: camera tosses on Flickr and toilet paper dispenser are some examples of design gestures shared online:
  2. Authorship
  3. Customization (user created)
  4. Omnipotence + Omniscience
  5. Scale
  6. Transparency
  7. Internet of things

The End of Products with Todd Wilkens, Adaptive Path

Todd adapting Peter Merholz’s path, gave a more theoretical talk about how to stop designing products. I think his whole point was that Service Design is a mindset rather than a brand new discipline with totally new methods and techniques. Service design examples he mentioned were: Apple, Flickr, the old tale of Eastman Kodak. Here is something he wrote on the matter. I tend to agree with most of his points. When we design with a service mind-set, we have to look at goals, cultures, relationships and understand people completely, in order to bring to them magical moments in all their experiences with our systems they interact with.

Keynote with Chris Downs, Managing Partner, live|work

This was the best talk at this conference. Chris has a design root and a business savvy demeanor. He knows the craft inside out and has a perfect balance of humility and charisma. He started the talk apologizing to his friend, whose wedding his missing to come to the conference. Then gave preps to the Dott 07 conference. He presented a few case studies: streetcar, GVA, Boots… Chris cut his original presentation off in the middle and took a turn to present something he put together the night before, inspired by conversations at the Emergence party at the Warhol Museum. During this presentation, he asked 3 questions:

  1. What is service innovation and design?
  2. How can we measure it?
  3. How do we make sure it’s successful?

For question 1, he talked about the Baltic museum case study. The museum asked live|work to help them redesign their services. live|work sent them on a service safari, gave them the tools to redesign their own service. What did we learn from this? Service Design is all about giving people the tools to make better services. Designers have to give up control. We didn’t come to any real conclusions on questions 2 and 3. But we know service design is a bit different from other ux disciplines and management consultants in the way we approach problems, Chris used these words to describe this discipline:

  • Facilitate
  • empathize
  • entrepreneurial
  • optimism
  • open
  • collaborative
  • stealth


Pre Conference workshop


Core’s review on the conference