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Happy Service Design Day!

June the 1st is Service Design Day, who knew such a thing existed. I didn’t but happy to celebrate with the existing service designers, wannabe service designers, and service design allies all trying to create better services for people.

Service Design Day Heart

The first Service Design Day was organised in 2016 by the Service Design Network, who’s manifesto is to:

…connect you with like-minded passionate service designers from companies, agencies and universities, and with curious innovators who embrace and apply this approach for the better of their organisations and for people

June 1st was chose and the word June originated from the Latin meaning of ‘young’. Youth doesn’t need to be about age as long as the feeling of excitement, energy and activism are present! This day is all about this spirit!

Why I am a Service Designer!

I fell into Service Design almost by accident, though out my career I have worked in various stages of technology and digital. From operations and running live services , to delivery management of large scale programmes of works. I have always tried to look at the big picture.

When I try to explain service design to someone, I use the analogy of a theatre. There is the Front stage where the actors and audience interact. The Back stage is the costume designers, lightening technicians and stage hands. Finally there is the Support service that are rarely seen but vital to the running of a production, the insurance, the box office ticket sales, the promotion and advertising.

A successful service has these aspects too, the Front stage are the touchpoint where a user interacts with the service. Not just digital but the other off line channels too. The Back stage is the back-end systems and processes that make the front stage happen. The Support is in the form of the policies, procedures, third parties etc who help the service run.

You have to get “it”

As mentioned Service Design is all about the big picture. There is no right or wrong background when it comes to service design. A good service designer understands the big picture and knows how to connect the dots between stakeholders.

Service design is often intangible and fuzzy

To begin with at least, often I will get a vague design brief and ultimately carry the responsibility of creating something tangible that other team members will take and turn into the end product or service. This is one of the biggest buzzes I get from my job, dealing with the uncertainty and going with your gut. It’s ok to be wrong, just fail fast and start again if you do.

Creates better experiences

Often at the start of a design journey you are looking at a completely different problem than where you will end. That is because as a service designer you look at the bigger picture, what is the underlying problem that is trying to be solved. It’s not always the symptom that is shown which is the real problem. We create better user experiences, but can also help businesses improve their efficiency. In order to create a smooth, seamless service experience for a customer, stuff behind the scenes has to work, too.

Constantly Evolving, and Improving

I love being a Service Designer, but I know I can be better. Networks like SDN and Practical Service Design have created community events for helping experience and beginners alike. To continue my own personal development in the coming weeks I will be attending Leeds GovJam. I am lucky that the sector I am working with at the moment has a great community of designers to share ideas and inspirations.

I am also trying to move out of my comfort zone and speak publicly more. With my varied background I was asked to talk at the latest Cross-government Service Design Meetup which topic was how to expand Service Design into Service Management and Operations. It was great to share my experiences, but it was better to see that other professions and disciplines were enthusiastic as to how we can work together.

Cross-Government service design meetup 4

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