Cees van Dok on Soft is Easy, and Hard is Really Hard

The closing keynote this afternoon by Cees van Dok focused on the observation that as challenging as software design can be, adding hardware makes it even harder. He provided examples from his tenure as Head of Design at TomTom.

Martijn van der Heijden has a nice visualization sketch of the keynote; Hazel White posted another good sketch that captures the talk. Both have been really great today about posting their output from the conference.

Cees spoke about the obstacles to the creation of successful services along with an honest appraisal of the failure of the TomTom Taxi from 2012 in the wake of Uber. He spoke about tangible artifacts and multi-device continuity represented by services such as Netflix and how TomTom re-framed its mandate in the wake of smartphones which began dominating the GPS landscape nearly a decade ago. Their broader goal these days is essentially to make cities smarter.

He spoke about the TomTom VIO for scooters which resonated with my chosen mode of transportation in San Francisco. It’s an example of how tangible artifacts act as the avatar of a service and help to create better experiences.

His keynote wrapped up a great first day for the Service Design Global Conference in Amsterdam.

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