Sabbatical

This morning I woke to the end of a year-long sabbatical from Design for Service. Five years after starting this weblog, the service design landscape has barely changed here in the United States. Interest has waxed and waned among several academic institutions and Continuum is making good progress but service design is still largely an afterthought.

Looking back, I was able to hold that reality at bay until the SDN conference in Berlin two year ago. Faced with so much fantastic work it was hard not to wonder about the lack of enthusiasm on this side of the pond. The trip was inspiring but, in retrospect, a little demoralizing. The followup last fall here in San Francisco made it even more obvious that service design isn’t on the local radar. I couldn’t even be bothered to blog about it.

In the face of apparent apathy, it’s easy to retreat into what you know. For the past year I’ve been immersed in the life of an interaction designer. That head space is full of engaging problems and complex systems but interaction design is still widely assumed to be digital and that’s simply too limiting. Service design keeps calling me back.

I’m not exactly sure where to go from here, but today is the first day in reviving Design for Service.


  1. welcome back Jeff, we missed you.

  2. Birgit

    Great to have you back! Looking forward to reading more.
    I am on a sabbatical now – not from Service Design but hopefully from all the administrative and organizational tasks that can keep you from thinking and proceeding!
    Best, Birgit

  3. Nice to hear from you! Welcome back ;) While you were on your leave we hosted a ServDes2012 in Espoo, Finland. My colleagues and I were leading one of the workshops (Designing B2B service offering for a museum) and had only limited time for keynote and other presentations, but i can tell you – the service design is not too much nicer on our side of the pond :) Still there is a lack of common understanding of what it is and what it should be.

  4. Hear Hear to what Damian said :)

    Glad the feed still works! Look forward to reading you all new thoughts.

    Wim

  5. davemalouf

    Hi Jeff,
    Interesting perspective. I have seen it a bit differently of late. For example the IA community has been off-the-hook with service design and xchannel and pervasive IA. There is a real sense that organizational design is key to the success of any design solution.

    Also, studios everywhere are coming to us here at SCAD asking for our Service Design students: Moment, Smart, AP, Method, Cooper, etc. are all taking on the SD perspective.

    Are they fully matured SD perspectives? I don’t think so. But I think from even a year or 2 ago is well on its way for sure.

    — dave

  6. balchenn

    Hi Jeff,

    Glad to hear you are reviving this blog. I work as a user experience designer on appliances, and much of what I learned about service design was from this blog.

    The IA summit this year had the theme cross-channel design, and there were several interesting talks relating to service design: http://2012.iasummit.org/schedule.html.

    I gave a short talk on service breakdowns: http://www.slideshare.net/balchenn/ia-summit-slides-0314, I know you had done a service recovery workshop a few years back.

    – Bala

  7. Good to have you back…and cheer up!




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