What Do Service Designers Do?

Lucy Kimball’s video from the University of Oxford study Designing For Services is making the rounds on the service design blogs. It’s a 7-minute overview of a project by Live|Work for g-Nostics, a company offering personalized medicine.

I suppose it’s nice to see a day-in-the-life of a London service design consultancy, but the video focuses mostly on Live|Work’s research. That’s a critical part of the process, but when it comes to the actual design, it boils down to one sentence:

Then, they came up with design ideas for improvements to the existing service, and quick sketches of new services.

Eureka! To be fair, the actual process of design is tough to externalize and doesn’t make for very good video. I don’t want to be too harsh, because this is just a glimpse of an already abbreviated project and there’s a lot to be gained from other elements of the Designing for Services research effort (particularly the essay archive) but this presents design as a black box.

The video outlines philosophical and procedural aspects of service design research but when it comes to how service designers actually design, it would be nice to see a little more.


  1. Qin

    well… I agree, what happens in the designer’s meeting to come up with ideas and how they verify those ideas are in fact much more valuable for research purpose, but there might be some business competition issues involved if she release the internal decision-making process on website… I don’t know…

    I am a bit disappointed that there is not comments from the client, g-Nostics. How do they evaluate the service proposed? Would they commit to the development of any of these idea generated in the cooperation? How would this project change the way they deliver the service to their customers? It would be interesting to see the other side of the story as well… after all, g-Nostics will be the one who actually delivers the service system (designed by the designers) on a day-to-day base if in a real-life project…




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