Archive for October, 2009

Service Design Hub

Here’s a new service design resource that just came across my radar. Suze Ingram from Sydney, Australia has begun compiling a promising blog called Service Design Hub. In her words it’s a place to find blogs, articles, papers, books, links and videos about service design. Lots of good stuff to sift through.

In my earlier post about participatory design I mentioned a brief note about the politics of participation. That clear support from management is a must but actually having the boss in the room during a design session can also restrict the conversation. Particularly during critique.

To follow up on the political angle, users also need a guarantee that their design efforts will be taken seriously. Bodker, Gronbaek, and Kyng discuss this requirement in their essay on Cooperative Design in Participatory Design Principles and lay out three guidelines for such exercises:

  • They make a difference for the participants
  • Implementation of the results is likely
  • They are fun to participate in

The first two points concern the political nature of participation in design but the last speaks to the nature of the design process itself. As the authors put it: “no matter how much influence participation may give, it should transcend the boredom of traditional design meetings to really support design as meaningful and involved action.”

What other rules of thumb have you found to be useful for framing participatory design exercises?

The Great Good Place

I noticed this poster for Starbucks in the subway a few weeks ago. It’s an overt reference to Ray Oldenburg’s concept of the “third place” from his 1989 classic The Great Good Place. Oldenburg was writing about those places between home and work that serve as anchors for the community. Cafes, pubs, bookstores, salons and other venues where people socialize.

Starbucks has always positioned themselves as a modern-day third place, but I’ve never seen it put so directly.

For me maintaining a weblog is like the canary in the coalmine. Every now and then I realize that things have spiraled out of control and I haven’t posted for a week or three. If I haven’t had time to blog it’s usually because I haven’t had time to think. And that’s not good. It means something is out of balance somewhere and I need to re-focus. Now where were we?