Thursday, 26 November 2009

Nordic Service Design Conference 09

My horribly busy writing schedule has kept me from doing many things that I should have done for weeks, and... this is one of them... I haven't got time around to report any thoughts on the conference, well, now much of them are already lost in the mist of my memory.

But, there are three good blogposts of this conference online now from others:

1. Jeff Howard's Design for Service: some useful links of presentation and pictures from the conference, and most recently a post about the Service Design Touch-point cards.

2. there is a round-up one the Service Innovation blog - the host of the conference.

3. This one is from a friend of mine (shared with Lauren Tan and JB!) Joyce Lee from the Northumbria University. We met at the conference and made dinner together - the good old days, now seem so far away!

Some materials from me if you are curious what happened:

[some really nice picture of service designers co-creating their own dinner at the conference!]
[here are all the conference papers, I found some really good ones, already used in my thesis as quotes!]

and finally my PPT presentation available here:

Monday, 23 November 2009

sweet sweet gifts

To be honest, I was quite impressed by the organisation of Nordic SD Conference - received this little pack shortly after arriving at the hotel. Couple cute gifts from the organisor, including a pair of over-shoes to 'protect your favourit e shoes regardless of weather conditions' (shame that my Timberland seem too big for them...) and a set of design cards around touch-points from the AT-ONE project.

It seems that card making is the new 'black' in Design now. we all know the famous IDEO cards, as far as in Service Design, I know of two other sets of cards. One is the SILK method cards made by Engine with Kent city council. The other one was Lauren (Redjotter)'s Master project: Making Service Sense, a set of postcards of SD case samples. Both brilliant projects - I would love to see more likely projects, and also see these methods find their way into organisations and make tangible differences. It would be great if the use of design card becomes as normal as using SWOT Analysis. well... if you know of any other similar card sets, I would love to hear from you!

I mean it's a good thing. It's a sign that designers are preparing to share the authority of being the 'gifted ones' with more people and moving into a facilitating role in order to encourage innovation at larger scale, well and democracy as well. I consider it as a sign of this profession becoming more and more matured, and am happy to see that Service Design is honest to what it claims to be: co-design, and empower others.

Really look forward to tomorrow, yet, have to prepare for my own speech first... left the speech notes in the UK, so gotta work from scratch again... Well, let's enjoy the next three days!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

two questions to Service Designers...

After trying gto put an conclusion down on paper for the past weeks, I still have two questions in my mind. Think it might be a good idea to share with you guys to see what you think... Let gather the brain power around the world, and see what we get!

1. How far should service designer go in service implementation?

For my research, I interviewed a couple of service designers. It seems that not all designers actually are actually designing the touch points or carry out training workshops. Many service designers work only in the research stage of a service development project and then hand it over to other people - either the client or the so-called ‘traditional’ designers - to deliver the implementation stages.

I had an interesting conversation with one of my participants who was a practicing service design about this. It seemed that the designer was fairly happy to stay as a mainly researcher role rather than getting into the details of designing the actual touch-points or running trainings for the client. Of course I am not saying it represents what all service designers are thinking, but it did make me think how far would and should service designer, as a professional, go in service implementation?

Hypothetically, there is a role of actual producing in service development, either producing the actual touch-points (physical products or it is a piece of software) or producing the process of implementation details (the criteria of the service or a roadmap of how change would be carried out in the organisation). But in the case studies out there, I did not see a whole lot of stories about how the implementation is carried out. So why? Well, it can be that service designers do not consider the producing as Service Design job, even though they sometimes does it, they would rather let ‘traditional’ designers to do it. Or… they cannot do it, because they do not have the skill to produce. Let’s be honest, roadmap of organisational change is not really in designer’s skill set, isn’t it? Of course there is a third option that the client does not want designer to be involved in the implementation – if so, how do we overcome it?

So, my question is… if you happen to practice as a service designer, how far do you normally go in service implementation? Or, how far you think service designers should go?

2. How is Service Design related to knowledge creation and diffusion?

One thing I often hear service design say about their project is to ‘change people’s perception of service’. Service, like branding, is socially constructed in people’s mind.

Developing a new service obviously involves creating new recognitions of that service among different stakeholders, and new knowledge about how to delivery, market, operate it. And that knowledge has no value unless it is diffused to all parts involved in day-to-day service delivery. After all, designers are not the ones who handle the users or supply materials/information in the backstage. Then the ultimate goal of designing service is actually about creating and diffusing the knowledge about a new service. Visual methods, blueprints, workshops, whatever service designers use, they are just means to let the knowledge flow.

So… it seems that Service Design is actually closely related to managing knowledge creation and diffusion. But so far, Knowledge Management does not seem to be a popular topic in Service Design... I found Debowski’s Knowledge Management theory interesting. It suggests that building capacity in knowledge development can be influenced by social capacity (e.g. organisational culture), technological skills (like IT systems), leadership (vision, and strategic stuff) and project/problem-based learning (that involves designer and all stakeholders I suppose).

Have any of you guys used any similar structure to analyse or plan your Service Design projects? Say, like evaluate or predict the social capacity of the service provider while putting together the blueprint?

Or… maybe you guys have some practical tactics to go about understand knowledge creation and diffusion in Service Design process. Care to share the trick please?