Archive for September, 2008

Back in April, Don Norman gave a guest lecture at the Institute of Design in Chicago focusing on service design. It took me a few months, but I finally tracked down a copy of the talk.

Now that I’ve listened to the lecture a couple times I’ve got a better idea where Norman is going with this. He makes some good points about the importance of back stage operations but I don’t agree with his assertion that operations and design are the same topic. He seems disappointed with much of the existing service design literature and treats Pine and Gilmore with mild disdain. The lecture goes on a rambling tour of theme parks, fast food, hospitals, hotels and banking, with some great anecdotes and pointers toward interesting research.

At 678MB the whole thing is tough to download, so I’ve stripped away the video and put together a transcript of the lecture along with a podcast of the talk [64.8MB]. There’s also about half an hour of questions at the end of the podcast.

Designer Congress

In last Sunday’s National Review online, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wrote: “Congress was designed by the Founding Fathers to move slowly, precisely to avoid the sudden panic of a one-week solution that becomes a 20-year mess.”

I made a mental note because I wholeheartedly believe that the constitution of the United States of America is a design document with the Founding Fathers as its designers.

Government isn’t a force of nature; every now and then it’s nice to stop and acknowledge this state of affairs.


I came across a new service design weblog this summer that’s worth keeping an eye on. Lauren Currie started publishing the incredibly prolific Redjotter’s Weblog last month in Amsterdam during a stint with DesignThinkers.

Now she’s shifted toward documenting her experience in the Master of Design program at Dundee.

Lauren wrote her undergraduate dissertation on service design and was kind enough to forward a copy earlier this summer. One of the things that really stood out for me was a series of fantastic interviews with the likes of Bill Hollins, Nina Belk, Stefan Moritz, Nico Macdonald, Kevin Gavaghan, Gill Wildman & Nick Durrant and John Thackara.

It’s a shame the interviews aren’t available online. They’re a veritable who’s who of Service Design. If she could round up permission to repost the interviews on her blog I think it’d be a valuable contribution to the community.

Looks like my summer hiatus has somehow spiraled out of control. I’ve been blogging for about seven years now and this kind of cycle seems to be inevitable, but two months away is probably enough of a vacation. Back to work.