Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

For the past several months I’ve been researching co-design practices around the world. Participatory methods don’t have much of a track record in the United States apart from the work of Liz Sanders at MakeTools. I’m interested in understanding the circumstances behind that gap.

There are plenty of good examples of co-design overseas so I’ve been reaching out to contacts in the UK, Australia and New Zealand for brief interviews about designing with groups and incorporating non-designers into the design process. Aside from the crazy logistics of interviewing people with a 19 hour time offset things are going well. I’ve spoken with designers from consultancies as well as within industry. My focus has been less on the “how” and more on the “why.” I’m exploring the culture surrounding participatory design as a first step in understanding how to catalyze those processes closer to home.

If you’re wrangling with co-design methods in your own organization I’d love to hear about your perspective. This could be as part of a design consultancy, an internal design team or as a component of design education. My interviews have been directed overseas for the most part but if you’ve found a pocket of co-design stateside then I’d definitely like to get in touch.

Nick Remis and Izac Ross are enrolled in the BFA service design program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. As part of a team of eleven undergraduate students they collaborated on a 10-week service design project for the Woodville community garden in Savannah, Georgia.

I interviewed Nick and Izac about their work by telephone earlier this summer on June 8th, 2010.

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Birgit Mager from the Köln International School of Design offers a brief overview of service design as part of an international lecture series organized last month by the Helsinki City Library.

Our economy has radically changed over the past 30 or 40 years and there is a need to design services that fit customer needs. Services that are useful, usable and desirable from the perspective of the user and of course efficient, effective and different from the perspective of the provider.

Professor Mager talked a bit about how libraries have evolved from book-centric systems to people-centric systems, about the importance of collaboration and about the need to accommodate failure when experimenting with new services.

She also gave a lecture on service design later that day at the National Museum in Helsinki.

Athina Santaguida, Miki Aso and Molly Oberholtzer are students from the Health Services Innovation Class at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Their team worked on a group service design project for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

I interviewed Athina, Miki and Molly by telephone on May 18, 2010 about their GROW project at Parsons.

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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!

Earlier this month European academics Daniela Sangiorgi, Stefano Maffei and Nicola Morelli launched a promising new initiative focused on service design research:

While Service Design is now being acknowledged by most within the design community, the various initiatives, events and research projects that aim to define what Service Design is and does are starting to grow in number with little focus and on shaky foundations. Likewise, design practices are quickly evolving to stretch existing boundaries and to question again the reason and need for this specialization.

Representing Lancaster University in the UK, Politecnico di Milano in Italy and Aalborg University in Denmark, they argue that there needs to be a space for reflection about service design; about its theories and practices. The researchers aim to consolidate a base of knowledge, experiences and opinions on the discipline.

To begin with they’ve posted a series of interviews with design researchers. I look forward to seeing this effort grow.

Eilidh Dickson is a student at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design where she’s part of their Pilot Year program in collaboration with the Danish Design School.

I interviewed Eilidh by e-mail about service design at CIID/DKDS and her team’s project for the Copenhagen Central Library.

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Touchpoint Journal of Service Design

Over the weekend I received my copy of the Touchpoint Journal from the Service Design Network. I didn’t expect it to arrive so quickly from Cologne; I can still smell the ink.

Touchpoint isn’t available online and they don’t do a great job of promoting it. There are rumors about a PDF download, but until then I thought I’d run through the table of contents so folks can get an overview of the first issue.

It’s a simple two-color publication with a few judicious full color ads for Continuum (who helped with the graphic design) and Köln International School of Design.

The price is roughly $20 for US subscribers.

Touchpoint
Volume 1, Number 1, April 2009

From the Editors
Birgit Mager and Shelley Evenson

News
Jutdith Altenau and Gayatri Korhalkar

Dutch Design: Time for a New Definition
Marcel Zwiers
In Dutch, “design” usually describes products rather than processes. Marcel Zwiers illustrates why he thinks that it is high time for revision and a more human-centered approach.

Methods and Processes of Service Design
Birgit Mager and Oliver King
Read about the views of Service Design experts Oliver King and Birgit Mager on the evolution of Service Design and its value-adding capabilities within the Service Sector.

Design’s Odd Couple
Fran Samalionis and James Moed
Designers and strategists see the world through different mindsets. Nevertheless, as Fran Samalionis and James Moed point out, both sides are challenged to embrace collaboration since service organizations discover their need for design while the design process is forced to incorporate business strategy.

Service Design: From Products to People
Lavrans Løvlie
Service Design is fundamentally about and for people; this shapes the discipline’s development. Lavrans Løvlie examines how designers engage with the needs of people.

Interviews
What do service organizations expect from designers? An Interview with Helene Persson (Swedish Customs), Lennart Cederberg (SHMI), Karl Humphreys (MoMat), Katriina Lathi (Kunounpaikka).

Service Design at McDonald’s An interview with Denis Weil of the Institute of Design and McDonald’s Corporation.

Customer Profile
Justin Rheinfrank and Zhen Zeng
An imaginary blog entry from a fictional young professional in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania created as a composite from intervews with a number of recent college graduates in the Pittsburgh area.

Dos and Don’ts of Service Design

SDN Members Overview

Paul Robare is a second year Master’s candidate at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Design Continuum in Boston co-sponsored a service design course at CMU where students worked on a project called the Advanced Medical Home.

I interviewed Paul by telephone earlier this year about the design of his team’s LiveWell service.

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This slipped by me last fall, but the Design Council Magazine (DCM) ran a brief article on service design by Trish Lorenz in their Autumn 2008 issue. Why Britain Needs a Revolution in Service Design [PDF 2.5MB].

The four-page article focuses on the state of customer service, using recent survey metrics to set the stage and following up with advice from Live|Work, IDEO and Virgin Atlantic. The article also includes seven steps to successful service design and a brief rundown of customer service disasters.

Nothing particularly controversial here, but one thing jumped out at me. One of the interviews from a business consultancy asserts that “product is easy to imitate, but service is much more difficult. It offers a far more sustainable competitive advantage.” The article even highlights that sentiment with a pull quote.

I think this argument is backwards.

Product innovations are almost always defended by patents but it’s extremely difficult to patent a service. And while operational innovations that reside beyond the line of visibility are somewhat insulated, any customer-facing process or innovation is subject to copying precisely because it’s out in the open.