Journey to the Interface

Nick Durrant pointed me toward a fantastic service design paper from Demos and Engine in the UK called “Journey to the Interface.” This is one of the first overviews I’ve encountered that gets past the “what” and the “how” of service design to take a position on the “why.” The authors outline an ideology for service that goes beyond operational concerns like key performance indicators. As they put it, the fundamental purpose of service is to provide support and to help people live their lives to their full potential.

Experiences and relationships are the recurring themes of this pamphlet. … We offer some practical tools and insights from the small but growing discipline of service design. Service designers do not see service as someting that can be reduced to a commodity. They focus on how people actually experience services, in order to understand how large service organizations can create better relationsips with their users and customers.

Definitely check it out. You can find the pamphlet on the demos website. It’s free to download [PDF 2.8MB] under a creative commons license.


  1. This is also similar to Richard Buchanan’s closing keynote at Emergence 2007.

    Buchanan’s conclusion was that the ultimate purpose of service design is to give people the information and tools needed to act—to be free to live as one would choose.




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