Service Design

26 Apr 2010 - 12:47pm
4 years ago
4 replies
2466 reads
Al Di
2008

Hi,

lately I'm getting more interested in Service Design as a field to get deeper into

and even think about it as a future Job, " Service Designer " Now I'm wondering :

  1. How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and qualifications?

  2. What types of projects Service Designer could participate in? 

What I understand so far is that, service designers must have a good knowledge
of storytelling in order to map/Imagine/Visualize the whole journey of user through
the service that they design.
thanks

 

Comments

26 Apr 2010 - 5:10pm
dianna_miller
2010

I can answer from the perspective of how I teach service design here at SCAD. First, a couple things to recognize of you're looking for a job in service design in the US:

1. Service Design as a discpline under that name is currently more widely practiced and understood in Europe (especially in the UK) than it is in the US. There are a few contributing factors to this, but suffice to say, this is where many jobs under that title are currently located (other countries are Australia, India, Brazil, and Korea). This is not an exhaustive list.

2. Some of what I will describe as service design may, in fact, be practiced by people on this forum who have job titles other than Service Designer. This depends largely on the nature of the design problem/space they are working in. You may find a job where it would make sense to use service design methods as an interaction or user experience designer.

3. Service design work in traditional service sectors such as hospitality and transportation likely include human-human, as well as computer-human, touchpoints. These sectors already have positions for designers working on brand-as- service experience and they are probably not called service designers. Software-as-a-Service jobs are much more likely to be filled by interaction designers who may adopt and adapt some service design tools (see #2). Healthcare and public services are important sectors where I believe we're more likely to see jobs emerging for  service designers who work with a methodology that is distinct from UCD although certainly related to it (see below). 

I'll answer the questions in reverse:

What types of projects could a Service Designer participate in?

I'm not sure we *design* services; rather, we design *for* services. Service happens when one person (or group) exchanges value with another person (or group). This exchange (called a touchpoint in SD parlance) can happen online, on the phone, in person...doesn't matter. It can be a provider-consumer, employee-employee, provider-partner exchange, etc. What is important here is that it is between people, even when intermediated by a device. Because it's between people, we can't always predict what the exchange will be and certainly can't control the exchange as designers. What we *can* do is design the elements, resources, affordances, interventions (call them what you will) that both providers and consumers use to create this value exchange. Service Designers design the facilitating aspects of a service: the service medium, platform, stage (again, call it what you will).

Service designers refer to these elements that we design (or design for) as the five Ps of service design: people, props (a.k.a. product), place, process, partnerships.

Therefore, a group working on the design for a service might produce:

  • PEOPLE: service scripts, protocols for employees; feedback channels for customers
  • PROPS: product design or graphic design of the artifacts used by the service
  • PLACE: architecture or interior design of the service's location(s); interaction design within the virtual environment
  • PROCESS: workflows (rituals) and workflow affordances between customer and employee, employee and employee, etc.
  • PARTNERSHIPS: contracts, proposed relationships between partners to improve the value proposition of the service


Many of these elements are outside the range of any one designer's skillset. Which brings us to...

How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and qualifications?

1. service designers are not the subject matter experts of what they are designing. Therefore their value as designers lies in their ability to bring the benefits of their design process to the people who are the experts: these people are the service providers, partners, and service consumers.  Service designers therefore must be good design facilitators: they listen, observe well and can mirror, reframe others' ideas and perceptions.

2. The tools of design facilitation are the same as design: it's all about modeling. Service designers have skills in innovative modeling (visual, sensorial representations: 2D, 3D, 4D + enactment)  that we use to help Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and consumers envision and concretize their own ideas, as well as give feedback on the ideas of others. We use concept modeling to experience prototyping  to engage service users directly in the design process. It's this ability to faciliate group ideation and viscerally SHOW (not tell about) the impact of the service that aids in holistically managing the complexity of it.

Side note: Since service design is about the relationships between actors in a service system and the cross functional flow of activity between these actors, you'll note that service designers talk a lot about two specific models: the service ecology (a.k.a  actor map) and the blueprint (a.k.a in business as a cross-functional flowchart with "swimlanes").

3. Another important aspect is that service designers facilitate this design process among the SMEs by engaging them in co-design activities. In other words, we do user research, but we don't stop there: we actively engage users of the service system in the design process.

It's paramount to engage service users in the design process because we are designing for a system, a platform, and NOT, as an end, for targeted users interacting with the designed thing. We solicit and engage the ideas of various stakeholders to understand how they want to interact with each other. We test the elements of the service with them through experience prototyping so we can see how they, as individuals, complete the experience. In this way, we have the chance to see what kinds behaviors/interactions will emerge. In other words, service designers are prototyping a future to see how people will create value *with each other* once these designed contexts and resources are implemented and available to them.

I'd like to make one point on the subtle, but important distinction between User-Centered Design methodology and a systems-focused methodology like Service Design. Research and design in the UCD process focuses on representative users for whom we design tools, experiences. Service Design is also user-centric and a service project may certainly require UCD tools and methods such as user modeling, but when we're researching for the service system itself, we're looking at the unique perspectives and activities of the various stakeholders in the system to understand the synergies, breakdowns, workflows, influences between them. The resulting design heuristics are then likely to be for the platform, even thought the design is ultimately for the benefit of the users.

Hope that helps.

--Dianna

26 Apr 2010 - 7:10pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Dianna,

Can service design be viewed as a kind of interaction design? Or for some case, we design a mobile application which is a touchpoint of a service, can we say it's part of service design or better view it as service design inspired interaction design?

Br & Thanks,
Jarod

On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 7:09 AM, dianna_miller <dmiller@scad.edu> wrote:

I can answer from the perspective of how I teach service design here at SCAD. First, a couple things to recognize of you're looking for a job in service design in the US:

1. Service Design as a discpline under that name is currently more widely practiced and understood in Europe (especially in the UK) than it is in the US. There are a few contributing factors to this, but suffice to say, this is where many jobs under that title are currently located (other countries are Australia, India, Brazil, and Korea). This is not an exhaustive list.

2. Some of what I will describe as service design may, in fact, be practiced by people on this forum who have job titles other than Service Designer. This depends largely on the nature of the design problem/space they are working in. You may find a job where it would make sense to use service design methods as an interaction or user experience designer.

3. Service design work in traditional service sectors such as hospitality and transportation likely include human-human, as well as computer-human, touchpoints. These sectors already have positions for designers working on brand-as- service experience and they are probably not called service designers. Software-as-a-Service jobs are much more likely to be filled by interaction designers who may adopt and adapt some service design tools (see #2). Healthcare and public services are important sectors where I believe we're more likely to see jobs emerging for  service designers who work with a methodology that is distinct from UCD although certainly related to it (see below). 

I'll answer the questions in reverse:

.. What types of projects could a Service Designer participate in?

I'm not sure we *design* services; rather, we design *for* services. Service happens when one person (or group) exchanges value with another person (or group). This exchange (called a touchpoint in SD parlance) can happen online, on the phone, in person...doesn't matter. It can be a provider-consumer, employee-employee, provider-partner exchange, etc. What is important here is that it is between people, even when intermediated by a device. Because it's between people, we can't always predict what the exchange will be and certainly can't control the exchange as designers. */What we *can* do is design the elements, resources, affordances, interventions (call them what you will) that both providers and consumers use to create this value exchange./* Service Designers design the facilitating aspects of a service: the service medium, platform, stage (again, call it what you will).

Service designers refer to these elements that we design (or design for) as the five Ps of service design: people, props (a.k.a. product), place, process, partnerships.

Therefore, a group working on the design for a service might produce:

* PEOPLE: service scripts, protocols for employees; feedback channels for
 customers
* PROPS: product design or graphic design of the artifacts used by the
 service
* PLACE: architecture or interior design of the service's location(s);
 interaction design within the virtual environment
* PROCESS: workflows (rituals) and workflow affordances between customer and
 employee, employee and employee, etc.
* PARTNERSHIPS: contracts, proposed relationships between partners to
 improve the value proposition of the service

Many of these elements are outside the range of any one designer's skillset. Which brings us to...

.. How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and
 qualifications?

1. service designers are not the subject matter experts of what they are designing. Therefore their value as designers lies in their ability to bring the benefits of their design process to the people who are the experts: these people are the service providers, partners, and service consumers.  */Service designers therefore must be good design facilitators: they listen, observe well and can mirror, reframe others' ideas and perceptions./*

2. The tools of design facilitation are the same as design: it's all about modeling. /*Service designer*/*/s have skills in innovative modeling (visual, sensorial
representations: 2D, 3D, 4D + enactment) /* that we use to help Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and consumers envision and concretize their own ideas, as well as give
feedback on the ideas of others. We use /*concept modeling to
experience prototyping */ to engage service users directly in the design process. It's this ability to faciliate group ideation and viscerally SHOW (not tell about) the impact of the service that aids in holistically managing the complexity of it.

Side note: Since service design is about the relationships between actors in a service system and the cross functional flow of activity between these actors, you'll note that service designers talk a lot about two specific models: the service ecology (a.k.a  actor map) and the blueprint (a.k.a in business as a cross-functional flowchart with "swimlanes").

3. Another important aspect is that service designers facilitate this design process among the SMEs */by engaging them in co-design activities/*. In other words, we do user research, but we don't stop there: we */actively engage users of the service system in the design process/*.

It's paramount to engage service users in the design process because */we are designing for a system, a platform, and NOT, as an end, for targeted users interacting with the designed thing/*. We solicit and engage the ideas of various stakeholders to understand how they want to interact with each other. We test the elements of the service with them through experience prototyping so we can see how they, as individuals, complete the experience. In this way, we have the chance to see what kinds behaviors/interactions will emerge. In other words, service designers are prototyping a future to see how people will create value *with each other* once these designed contexts and resources are implemented and available to them.

I'd like to make one point on the subtle, but important distinction between User-Centered Design methodology and a systems-focused methodology like Service Design. Research and design in the UCD process focuses on representative users for whom we design tools, experiences. Service Design is also user-centric and a service project may certainly require UCD tools and methods such as user modeling, but when we're researching for the service system itself, we're looking at the unique perspectives and activities of the various stakeholders in the system to understand the synergies, breakdowns, workflows, influences between them. The resulting design heuristics are then likely to be for the platform, even thought the design is ultimately for the benefit of the users.

Hope that helps.

--Dianna

(((Please le
26 Apr 2010 - 8:18pm
dianna_miller
2010

Hi Jarod,

To your question, my answer would be "yes." ;-) I'm not personally interested in whether one discipline is a subset of the other. The important thing to me is the practice: whether a designer understands the nature of the design problem s/he is working on well enough to choose, creatively adapt, and apply the right set of principles, tools, and methods, at each stage of development, to reconcile the variables in a desirable, holistic, and sustainable way. 

With many mobile apps, the service is delivered entirely via the technology, so interaction tools and methods work well. But, the moment that app is part of a service with touchpoints across other contexts and media (online and offline), my question would be: what are the tools and techniques to track provider and consumer exchanges and behavior, both frontstage and backstage, to assess the moments that are most critical to success of the service (moments of truth)? And what are the tools and techniques to design, test, and effectively communicate an integrated, innovative solution across those touchpoints?

--Dianna

27 Apr 2010 - 11:30am
Minal
2010

Is it somewhat related to visual thinking?

On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 12:05 AM, Ali Dehghanpour <little.designer@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi,

lately I'm getting more interested in *Service Design* as a field to get deeper into

and even think about it as a future Job, " *Service Designer* " Now I'm wondering :

1) .. How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and
     qualifications?
 2) .. What types of projects Service Designer could participate in? 
 
What I understand so far is that, service designers must have a good knowledge of storytelling in order to map/Imagine/Visualize the whole journey of user through the service that they design. thanks
 

(((Please l
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