Tag Archives: Service Design

Frog Toolkit

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I simply can not thank the fabulous people at FROG and Service Design Network enough for developing and publicising this great toolkit. I love using this in the education studio to empower students to be able to create and facilitate.

Part of frog’s commitment to social impact, CAT is a set of activities and methods to enable groups of people anywhere to organize, collaborate, and create solutions for problems impacting their community.

Click here to visit the FROG page


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A must view! | AC4D Design Library

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It may be early in the year, but I’m almost sure this is one of the most amazing tools I will find in 2014. AC4D Design Library claims that it is a ‘Practical resource to support the process of design’ – and they are not exaggerating! The tools are clear, well designed (I always find it amusing when design tools are badly designed…), using clear language and broken into strategic sections. I can’t wait to give every single one of these a go! Thank you Austin Centre for Design.

To visit the website click here.

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Tools, tools, tools.

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Thanks to the SDS (Service Design Network) for another great hint! I find myself mildly addicted to online design toolkits, well, then again it could be worse. LiveWork studios is my new discovery yet they have been developing tools based on research, practice and trials for over a decade.

In combination with advanced thinking and continuous research we produce surprising customer insights, together with breakthrough business and market assessments. The tools enable us to design and create effective services for customers that organisations can deliver.

Their online toolkit deserves a visit. I’m sure it will soon become a firm favourite of yours. Click on the link below.

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The Value of Design

I was recently asked what my views are on the ‘value of design’. I spend so much time reviewing the work of others and finding links between current design theories that is refreshing to stop, and spend some time thinking about my views on the subject. One of the most important things we need to acknowledge is the difference between design as a profession and design as a process. I often speak to recent graduates and I’m intrigued when they all say “I’m a designer” and never “I design”. Semantics some may argue, but I believe it highlights an important duality in design. On the one hand design is a professional occupation – grounded in the needs and wants of clients. For me the statement “I’m a designer” describes this. The aim of design in this context is to produce object, messages, environments etc. that addresses user needs. The second option, “I design” refers to design as a process, an iterative and methodical problem solving technique.

A Brief History of the Chair in Design, Denver Art Museum, 2012

A Brief History of the Chair in Design, Denver Art Museum, 2012

The apologetic nature of the new (and only slightly different) chair.

I should state upfront that I love chairs. For me, there are few objects that can so succinctly depict the evolution of design through the ages better than seating and chairs. However, if we are honest, many contemporary chair designs are only slight variations of existing designs, offering nothing new to the user except possible colour changes, surface decoration and maybe something a bit special in the leg department. One may ask then why new chairs are being designed and produced.  This is the realm of “only slightly different, but completely new” design.   It is the mind set and design practice that contributed to the consumerist world we inhabit. Yet, we can’t move away from this form of design completely. It is through gradual development that users engage most successfully with new technologies. Users also require more individualisation and personalisation of products and environments, creating demand for “only slightly different, but completely me” design. To say that this stream of design does not offer significant value is unfair.  The objects and environments around us evolve and adapt through this design stream. And, through more sustainable and ethical practices the manufacturing and distribution of designed objects have less negative environmental impact. I spent the first few years of my career in this stream, as I believe most do. Learning my trade, developing my skills and developing that slightly elusive designer intuition (which is by no means always correct). During the last two years my passion within design has shifted and I am now passionate (read, slightly obsessed) with the larger design environment and the connections between design, people and technology.

Thinking for design

Design thinking. The phrase causes a cold shiver down my spine. Mostly because I have sat in more meetings than I would like to remember during which design thinking was describes almost as a magical spell that would improve business, operations and ultimately the financial bottom line. As a designer I was expected to wave my magical ‘design thinking’ wand and shazam! The amazing writings of Richard Buchanan, describing the power of design to address complex, or ‘wicked’, problems had in a few decades been twisted into a parlour trick, required to deliver innovation and organisational rejuvenation. I appreciate the candid discussion of Paul Pangaro on the topic during his Picnic presentation, Rethinking Design Thinking, in 2010.  Today I am back in the world of ‘design thinking’, only this time it is from a user centred perspective.  The potential within the design process, to detail and analyse complex problems and develop through creative, critical and reflective thinking a context appropriate solution, is for me the real value of design. Service design is an area I am particularly interested in. As an approach Service Design encompasses all design disciplines, focused on the improvement of development of user centred service experiences. It’s about people – their world, their technologies, their experiences, their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Design for social development, design for the other 90% and similar movements share a core focus on context appropriate solutions for real users. What is the value of design? Strategic change for an improved situation – a better walkway for children in rural areas to get to school, a more streamlined process in clinics, improved channels of communication in police stations for victims of abuse and food growing projects feeding entire communities. What is the value of design? It can empower us to see problems as manageable, to imagine a better situation and help us do something about it.

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This is Service Design Doing | July 2013

This is a brief documentary of the Executive Summer School “This is Service Design Doing” (Berlin, 23-26 July 2013). In 2,5 days, participants learned how to apply Service Design Thinking to the rapid innovation of customer experiences in multi-channel product-service ecosystems. The school was facilitated by Marc Stickdorn (co-author of the book ‘This is Service Design Thinking’), Markus Hormess (Service Innovation Expert and co-initiator of the world’s largest service design event ‘Global Service Jam’), and Adam Lawrence (Service Design & Customer Experience Expert and co-initiator of the world’s largest service design event ‘Global Service Jam). Got interested? The Executive Winter School ‘THIS IS SERVICE DESIGN DOING’ takes place in Amsterdam, January 20th – January 24th 2014.

More info and registration here:

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Service Design Toolkit

Tools! Is there ever a better a word! I’m passionate about Service Design and love trying out newly developed toolkits and research packs. I haven’t worked through them all, but any developed toolkit is bound to have at least one or two gems. This toolkit was developed at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Enjoy the pack and please remember to credit the creators.

Service Design Toolkit

The tools presented here are a means for you to analyze your thoughts. By seeking the answers to their questions, you may realize something essential about your business, your customers’ needs and their value determination process. Mechanically filling out each tool won’t do much to improve your business, so take your time to ponder each question and their answers. You will find some of the questions easy to answer, while others may take more thought. When starting out, you will need more time. Once you have become less reliant on the tools, you will notice that you’re developing services on the fly and thinking from a customer-oriented point of view. At this point, the tools still function as reminders that can help you review the development of your services, e.g., if you’re looking to expand your business.

You can download the toolkit from the SDT website – it just requires you to fill in your e-mail address and occupation.

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Beyond the Service Journey: How Improvisation Can Enable Better Services and Better Service Designers


A great read from authors, Roger Manix and Lara Penin

What is improvisation? And how can it enhance the service design process? Through a system of exercises, we will describe how to infuse a sense of play in the classroom, in the context of a service design-related course. These exercises shed light on how people (service users, providers, citizens) are connecting (and disconnecting) from one another. Service design insists upon a holistic approach towards the human experience and builds upon human interactions. Its processes, therefore, should reflect this integrated view by working across disciplines.

For the full article visit the Service Design Network



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A Five-Step Process For Conducting User Research by David Sherwin

A great article from Smashing Magazine in which Sherwin explores user research. Easy to digest and insightful. Click on the title to go to the article on Smashing Magazine.

A Five-Step Process For Conducting User Research

by David Sherwin

Imagine that this is what you know about me: I am a college-educated male between the ages of 35 and 45. I own a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 5, on which I browse the Internet via the Google Chrome browser. I tweet and blog publicly, where you can discover that I like chocolate and corgis. I’m married. I drive a Toyota Corolla. I have brown hair and brown eyes. My credit-card statement shows where I’ve booked my most recent hotel reservations and where I like to dine out.

If your financial services client provided you with this data, could you tell them why I’ve just decided to move my checking and savings accounts from it to a new bank? This scenario might seem implausible when laid out like this, but you’ve likely been in similar situations as an interactive designer, working with just demographics or website usage metrics. Continue reading

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Basic Services Intro

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/Marina_L/nyc-global-service-jam-intro&#8221; title=”services intro” target=”_blank”>services intro</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/Marina_L&#8221; target=”_blank”>Marina_L</a></strong> </div>



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This is Service Design Thinking

Service Design is a relatively new field in South Africa, even though it had been practiced in USA and Europe for over 20 years. It is an exciting, user and interaction driven approach to design. A good introduction to the basic research contexts and methods can be found in This is Service Design Thinking by Schneider and Jakob. It is direct, simple and a must have for anyone interested or practicing in the field.
Website: This is Service Design Thinking
To buy in SA: TakeALot

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