The what, why and how of Service Design.

5 December 2016
Ine Vassøy

Author: Ine Vassøy

I'm fundamentally positive, curious and a bit of a dreamer.

Last week I did a talk at General Assembly in London for the User Experience (UX) Design class. Service Design and UX Design have a lot in common as both disciplines have sprung from the traditional design field and that it’s all about the interactions and touchpoints. In UX Design, you design the interaction between the users and the digital touchpoints. In Service Design, you design the interactions between the users and the different touchpoints of the service provider. Anyhow, here’s a few key slides and some thoughts from the presentation to enjoy over a cup of coffee.

What is Service Design?

Service design touches upon so many things: digital design, spatial design, business design, product design, design strategy, branding etc. The lines between Service Design and other disciplines can sometimes be ‘blurred’ and this is one of many reasons why defining service design is challenging. As today there are several definitions of what service design is, they’re all the same, but also different. The beauty of the ‘blurred lines’ between the different design disciplines and service design also makes it an interesting and dynamic field to work in. As a service designer, you have more flexibility and can ‘play’ with people with all these different areas (depending on what project you’re in). You can also help shape the field of service design. My favourite definition of what service design is (so far) is the simplest one because I’m a sucker for one-liners and it’s easy to explain to non-designers. In Servicedesign.org’s words:

Service design is a method for designing experiences that reach people through many different touchpoints, and that happen over time.

 

Why Service Design?

Next question; why service design? Well, it’s simple, really. Services are sustainable and more profitable for companies and people. Over the last few years, we’ve seen how companies are transforming their products into services. This trend had a great impact on people and are changing the culture. Research shows that the younger generations care less about stuff and are more willing to pay for a service rather than a product.

If a company want to invest in their business, invest in services rather than products because service design is proven to be more profitable, more sustainable and makes customers happy. So, why not invest in service design?

How to do Service Design?

To wrap up the presentation at GA I ‘cherry picked’ some tools that I love applying to the design process (fo the purpose of this post I kept those slides out). As mentioned, service design is coming from traditional design and, that’s why many of the tools and methods that we use are similar. How service design is practised though varies from company to company, from designer to designer and, from project to project. How we practice service design here at Spotless is unique in many ways, but it’s also similar in many ways. I hope to discover new tools over the next year as there is nothing more exciting trying new ways of working.

To keep innovate in the projects we do we also need to disrupt in the way we work.
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