Screenwriting and Service Design

About a year and a half ago I wrote about the parallels between screenwriting and service design:

Legendary film director Howard Hawks once said that to make a great movie all you need are three great scenes — and no bad scenes. It’s a pretty simple formula for success. What if we looked at service design through the same lens?

There’s a lot we can learn from the structure of screenplays, as well as the screenwriting tools people use to establish that structure. More to come on that topic shortly, but the Howard Hawks post is good background material.

  1. I use the structure of James Bond movies to analyse great experiences:

    It’s a simple model that people grasp quickly, and it works well. Compare it to the structure of a well-planned cruise holiday, for example. Or a restaurant visit, a shopping mall…



  2. Jeff

    Thanks Adam, that’s a great post. It also reminds me of the movie High Fidelity where the main character explains the “rules” for making a great mix tape. Those guidelines seem pretty similar to “Boom! wow, wow, wow, BOOM!!”

  3. Interesting link, thanks. It’s been a while since I mixed a tape – it’s easier (and less satisfying) with MP3s. 🙂

  4. Bill Prenovitz

    My background is in filmmaking and the more service design I do, the more relevant my background. Filmmaking is about using resources (human, financial, knowledge), applying it to technology, to create an experience. And the fundamental way to organize that experience is through a story, hence screenwriting. I’ve recently realized that method acting is key to service design. The same way an actor researches his role to understand and then experience the character, a service designer conducts research which allows them to empathize with the user of the service to project how they will experpience it.

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