Archive for November, 2009

Nordic Service Design Conference by Francisds

I’ve been following a few recaps of the Nordic service design conference last week in Oslo. Tom Halsør, Nina Lysbakken, Qin Han and Matt Cottam each have interesting photosets on Flickr, including quite a few photos about a co-created supper held during the conference.

Joyce Yee has written a nice overview at Design Dictator but if you really want to wade into the thick of things check out the Oslo School of Architecture and Design for a couple dozen papers and abstracts from the proceedings.

Looks like next year’s conference will be in Sweden at Linköping University. No word yet on the date but I’m happy to see the organizers translate this into an annual affair [the conference will be bi-annual starting next year — thanks Fabian].

Update: A video of Marc Stickdorn’s presentation from the conference is available on Vimeo.

SDT Book Preview

The folks behind This is Service Design Thinking have uploaded a glimpse of their book design in progress.

They caution that it’s a dummy copy, meaning that the text is only a placeholder. The graphic design looks like it’s coming along nicely but I’m intrigued by the use of The Sorrows of Young Werther as a placeholder text. The copy is legible in a few of the photos and it took a moment to interpret Goethe’s prose as filler. I’ve never encountered such a use, but apparently the new book isn’t a tribute to Romanticism.

Qin has a couple interesting questions on her Design Generalist weblog. One is about how far service designers should go in terms of service implementation.

I’ve written about this topic before, in Service Design Isn’t in the Touchpoints. In my experience, the US consultancies who embrace service design typically bring together designers from a pool of disciplines, none of whom function as an actual service designer. They might be interaction, environmental or graphic designers, working under the direction of a service design lead to craft discrete touchpoints. But I don’t recognize what they’re doing as service design on an individual level.

Head over to Qin’s blog and add your perspective.

UX guru Jess McMullin presented a technique called “Business Origami” at CanUX 2009 today in Alberta. Details are a little sketchy but it seems to be a paper prototyping technique for services. Participants at the workshop described it as an early planning method with paper dolls and pop-up books.

At first blush it reminds me a bit of Jo Reid’s “Model Storming” as well as the “Envisioner” toolkit described by Jeanette Blomberg in Participatory Design Principles. But at a macro-level.

Here are a few more photos. Rawwr!

SDN Conference 2009

The Service Design Network has posted photos and presentations from last month’s conference in Madeira. The best overview I’ve seen so far is Jamin Hegeman’s recap of the festivities.

A few of the presentations seem to have been omitted from the SDN archive so I’ve done some sleuthing around the internet to bring them back into the fold. The easiest to find was Asier Perez’ presentation on co-design. He uploaded it to slideshare right after the conference: Co-creation sucks.

The presentations from the larger design firms like Continuum, IDEO and Engine were a bit harder to track down. For those, I’ve cobbled together recaps from Twitter along with images from Flickr. Andy Polaine and Thomas Schönweitz both did an extraordinary job documenting the conference and between the two of them I’ve reconstructed the following three talks:

Four other presentations continue to elude me, including Jesse James Garrett’s presentation on Design for Engagement, Julia Schaeper’s talk on the NHS and Joe Heapy’s keynote presentation, but I’m sure they’ll be covered by the videos due next week on the SDN website. Stay tuned.

Update: They’ve added the videos.

Looks like another service design publication is in the works, this time with a healthy dose of co-creation. Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider and Fergus Bisset have set up a website called This is Service Design Thinking for members of the community to suggest tools and techniques for the core of the book.

If you are into service design or design thinking or however you call our field of work, you are most probably dealing with a set of methods and tools every day — share these with us! Make your ideas of service design thinking valuable for a larger audience. Establish your approach by putting it down to printed paper and help us building a conceptual base for our discipline.

Like the recent Designing Services with Innovative Methods the initial section of this book will introduce the discipline with contributions from various authors while the end will focus on a handful of service design case studies.

I keep hoping that someone will write a book with about ten pages of 18-point type introducing the idea of service design with the rest of the book devoted entirely to presenting highly visual service design vignettes. A picture-book written for non-designers to grasp the discipline and its potential.

That’s not what this is, but there’s still plenty of evangelization yet to do inside our ranks. Hence the focus on tools and techniques. The project is still in the early stages but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on as it develops.

Wi-Fi + London

Now that folks have recovered from jet lag following last week’s service design network conference in Madeira there’s a fair bit of conversation brewing about how future service design conferences might shape up differently. Joel Bailey has put together a quick forum to discuss and vote on ideas.

The Service Design Network has never really struck me as a democracy per se but even though they don’t seem to be active in any of the threads it’s good to see the community thinking ahead to 2010 while the events are still fresh.

AIGA Voice features an interview with my friend Phi-Hong Ha entitled Answering the Call to Service Design. She talks with Steven Heller about the “what” and the “why” of service design and delves a bit further into the “how.”

Phi-Hong is teaching a class on the subject next fall at SVA in New York and in this interview she considers three principles for learning and practicing service design:

  1. Embrace people, emphasizing the user-centered nature of the discipline across a wide range of stakeholders — not just customers but employees as well.
  2. Learn from others, emphasizing the cross-disciplinary nature of service design and the extensive cross-pollination required for most projects.
  3. Make it visual, emphasizing our strength in form-giving and holistic visualization when dealing with the intangible nature of experience.

Service design is still making in-roads into the design community here in the US and these kinds of interviews are a great way to get the word out. Way to go Phi!