Choosenick. Notes and observations on service design, as well as other interesting things/thinking. By Nick Marsh.

Posts tagged with “event”...

Service Design Thinks 2 - Videos and reflections on service design at scale

On the 29th of November 2009 a bunch of interesting people got together in the lovely Sense Loft to listen to talks and start conversations around the topic of Service Design at Scale.

We had three really different presentations from really different types of service designers. As with other events we had a mix of design-led people (in this case Julia) and some service designers who don't really identify their work with design practice (Steven and James).

We started with a bit of an intro around why we'd chosen the 'scale' theme. You can click through the slideshow below:

Following on from this, Steven Baker got up to tell us about his experiences of designing the wildly successful M-Pesa mobile banking service for Vodafone/Safaricom whilst working at Sagentia. It's a fascinating tale with some great insights into designing services with mass appeal.

The main message is around simplicity, and I love the elegance of the design, in particular the approach to customer acquisition - if someone sends you M-Pesa (mobile money) and you are not a member, in order to get the cash you need to go to an M-Pesa vendor with your mobile and your national ID card, which are the two things you need to sign up. Ace.

Following on from this, Julia Schaeper took the stand to tell us about her experiences as an Associate at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. The NHS is a huge organisation (the 3rd largest employer in the world), and Julia is one of just a handful of people within it who is pushing design-led approaches to innovation.

In this presentation she shares her tips for amplifying the service design message and building support across different teams and practices through the design of processes, products and programmes:

Finally, James Gardner, previously head of Innovation at Lloyds Banking Group and now Chief Technology Officer at the Department for Work and Pensions gave us a presentation on his experience of creating an internal 'innovation market'.

The basic idea behind the market was to connect ideas for service innovation from the 'front line' of Lloyd's huge organisation to capital and capacity at the centre. In this presentation James shares some of the successes and failures of the market's design and operation:

All in all, a great evening with lots of inspiring stories. My thanks to all the speakers and to everyone who came along! If all this sounds like your sort of thing, please join our mailing list, and come along to the next service design drinks and have a chat!
May 1st, 2010 / Tags: servicedesign, designthinking, event / Trackback / Comments

Service Design Think 3 - Videos and reflections on designing services from scratch

On 30th of March a wide range of super interesting people got together at the fantastic sense loft to listen to three really different stories about designing services from scratch. (And to drink beer courtesy of Radarstation. Thanks guys!)

This was the third service design thinks event we've run, and to my mind it was the best yet. We introduced two new features, a case study and a panel Q&A format which hopefully added some more layers to the conversation.

I've embedded the videos from the talks below (All the talks are available separately for linking to on our Vimeo channel), with a few notes on some of the emergent themes at the end.

As with other service design thinks events, we're trying to find a balance between showcasing design-led approaches to service design alongside other methods.

In essence, this means asking interesting people, who don't have a background in design, to share their experiences of founding, running, managing and innovating services.

However, in the spirit of service design drinks, which is much more about design-led service design people getting together to share ideas and experiences, we also want to showcase remarkable design-led stories too.

So, at this event we showcased two non-design approaches, one very design-led approach and a case study that used designerly observational methods to understand a small service entrepreneurs approach. I've embedded the videos in the order in which they presented below, and then written up some of my own notes at the end - as always, your comments and tweets are very welcome!

If all this sounds like your sort of thing, please join our mailing list, and come along to the next service design drinks.

First up we had James Munro from Patient Opinion talk about his experience of getting the Patient Opinion service off the ground. James, along with Patient Opinion's founder Paul (who's featured in the panel discussion below), both come from a clinical background, and they used their deep experience of the NHS and their training as doctors to help guide and inform the design of the patient opinion service over time:

Secondly, Jaimes Nel, one of the co-organisers of Service Design Drinks / Thinks and head of research at Live|Work presented a short case study that told the story of Grace at St Pauls, a small, independent coffee shop in central London very near Lauren Tan's house (the other co-oganiser). Jaimes pulled out lots of lovely insights into how the owner of the coffee shop has designed his service and business, and concluded with a challenge to the service designers in the room - how do we make our practice relevant to service entrepreneurs operating at such small scale?

Thirdly, Sophia Parker of the Resolution Foundation and Katie Harris of Esro spoke about their experiences of setting up and running the Social Innovation Lab for Kent in partnership with Engine Service Design and Kent county Council. This was a very 'service designy' service design project - a design led initiative to design a service that helps other people (KCC employees and partners) design better services using design-led methods. Phew!

Fourthly, Zaeem Maqsood, Vice President at First Capital explored and explained what makes start up services investable. Zaeem has unique insight into this area - he's an investor and investment advisor, along with being an entrepreneur himself. His talk focussed on a service he designed for entrepreneurs and investors called 'The Gauntlet', which took the very ad-hoc, face to face venture capital pitching process and made it into a simple online tool. Part way through he also gets very candid about the failings of VC and VCs. Well worth watching!

Finally, the presenters sat down as a panel and answered questions about their work and their thoughts on designing services from scratch.

Some of the themes and challenges about the role that design-led/design thinking type service design practice can play in help services get going form scratch that I pulled out at the start of the panel included:

  • The role of planning - a lot of service design practice is about planning, but when you are starting up, most people talk about the need to be agile and change plans quickly.
  • Sector specific knowledge - service design is generally sector agnostic, and deliberately 'naive' - 'we just focus on the customer', and yet successful startup services tend to rely on having experienced, knowledgeable individuals who really understand say, health care, or coffee.
  • Personal risk - service designers working in agencies don't have any 'skin in the game', yet taking a personal risk seems to be an important part of making a start up successful.
  • It doesn't stop - service designers, like all designers, like designing things - documentation, specifications, deliverables etc. But when you are running a new service business it just doesn't stop! There is no deliverable or design really, just the effective operation and growth of the organisation.

So, lots to think about, and lots to talk about! The panel address these, and other questions in the video below:

All in all, a great event I think! We're already planning the next one, but in the meantime do please share your comments here, or come along to the next service design drinks and have a chat!
April 11th, 2010 / Tags: servicedesign, designthinking, event / Trackback / Comments update - A month of service design events!

As some of you may know, this year we launched a revamped website to collect together the various and varied global service design drinks, thinks, talks and other events that have sprung up around the world, in part inspired by the original Service Design Christmas Drinks here in London two years ago.

Interest in putting on service design events around the world has grown and grown (we're adding a city a week at the moment), which is great news for all of us as it means more and more people are interested in talking about service design, which means they must be interested in doing more service design - which hopefully means better services for everyone. Which is good.

As a case in point, in the second half of march, if you have very deep pockets, you could go to a service design event almost every other day!


So, if you are in Sydney, Amsterdam, Cologne, London or San Francisco in March, and you're interested in meeting up with other people interested in exploring and understanding the role that design can play in improving services and service experiences, get on the site, and get in touch!
March 6th, 2010 / Tags: servicedesign, event / Trackback / Comments

Service Design Thinks 3 - Service Design from Scratch

The next Service Design Thinks is here! We've had fantastic feedback and support for the previous events, and I'm really excited about this event, which will be all about 'service design from scratch'.

Getting new services off the ground, as startups or as new offerings within existing organisations is a huge part of service design practice, and we've got a range of speakers with lots of experience of doing just that.

As with the previous events, we're trying to expand perspectives on what constitutes service design by bringing in voices from outside the design world. Of course we're not excluding design-led service designers (Sophia and Katie are flying the design-led flag this time), but we are trying to push everyone's understanding of how services are designed by all manner of people, in all manner of ways.

In addition, we're changing the format a bit this time - hopefully we'll have a fun case study from a local service entrepreneur, and we plan to do the Q&A session more like a panel at the end of the event, in order to cross pollinate the ideas and get the conversation going between presenters.

Tickets are available from the 10th on the eventbrite page, I hope to see you there!

Below is the text that went out to our email subscribers yesterday.


Please join us for three talks and one big conversation exploring what it takes to get new services going from scratch. Our diverse panel of speakers will share their experiences of founding, funding, managing, growing and designing service organisations and teams.

They’ll explore questions like:

  • What makes a new service business attractive to investors?
  • What kind of people, processes and propositions make a new service more likely to succeed?
  • What does it take to grow a new offering inside an existing service organisation?
  • What can’t you plan for?

We'll hear from:

the entrepreneur Dr James Munro, Patient Opinion
This is our NHS. Let’s make it better: Dr Munro will share his story of growing a social enterprise from scratch, and outline the lessons that all service designers can learn from Patient Opinion’s experiences.

the investor Zaeem Maqsood, First Capital
You’re funded! Zaeem will share his unique experiences of designing venture capital investment services, and explore what makes a startup service investable.

the intrapreneurs Sophia Parker and Katie Harris, The Resolution Foundation and Esro
Innovating social innovation: Sophia and Katie will share their story of starting up The Social Innovation Lab for Kent with Engine Service Design and Kent County Council

The fantastic Sense Loft venue is kindly provided by Sense Worldwide and drinks will be provided from the lovely people at Radarstation

Entry is free, but you must have a ticket. Tickets are available from the Eventbrite page from noon on the 10th of March. Hope to see you there!

March 6th, 2010 / Tags: servicedesign, designthinking, event / Trackback / Comments

Design research for service design seminars

DMI is offering a seminar on Design Research for Product and Service Innovation, taught by Cheskin's CEO Darrel Rhea in Milan, Chicago and San Francisco during 2009. They say:

Design Research for Product and Service Innovation takes a deep look at what makes corporate innovation initiatives succeed or fail, and how design research can be used effectively to foster innovation.

Cheskin are pretty cool (but secretive), and this looks interesting - I'd like to hear the opinions of a market research agency on the emergence of design research from market research practice, and how its evolving and improving to meet the needs of service design. 700 Euros though, sheesh! Via Dexinger
January 1st, 2009 / Tags: servicedesign, designresearch, event / Trackback / Comments

RDI Summer School at Dartington: Reflections

I took part in the RDI summer school this year. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of my design career to date. I met some very inspirational people including RDI's Kenneth Grange, David Gentleman, Max Fordham and Terence Woodgate, as well as some other really interesting and inspiring fellow summer schoolers.

Photo by Alistair Hall

Organised by Chris and Ed of Expedition the Royal Designers for Industry Summer School was an inspiring opportunity to reflect on my design practice, learn about a wonderful range of other design thinking and creativity going on in the UK and beyond and think long and hard about the designers responsibilities towards the wider world.

Chris and Ed introduced us to a range of inspiring provocations - three beautiful ice monoliths, an intriguing self assessment exercise, two deeply inspirational films and many other smaller activities designed to make us think, reflect and understand our roles as designers in a wider context than the next deadline.

Photo by Alistair Hall

As is always the case with a good event like this, the conversations round the edge were the most interesting - I got to learn about optimising jet engine design, developing effective municipal bicycle systems, how the intercity 125 nose cone came to be, how to hand draw the internal wiring for a 1000 apartment block (very carefully is how), how the investment climate in Russia is shaping up following the Georgian war and much much more.

Of course, everyone was very interested in this 'service design' thing, although it was inspiring and reassuring to see that there was one other self proclaimed service designer on the course, Jonas from Participle, as well as several other people who were aware of the discipline.

In all, the weekend was one of the most thoughtful experiences I've had - a challenging, ambitious, creative bunch of people holed up in what was once an artists commune was always going to be fun, but I found myself constantly surprised by the level and intensity of discourse on offer. As I said before, a remarkable weekend, recommended to anyone who cares about good design and wants to meet other people who do to.

You can read more reflections on the summer school from Alice Casey, and you can check out Alistair Hall's flickr photos of the event here, and you can listen to the RDI's themselves in these podcasts.

September 16th, 2008 / Tags: event / Trackback / Comments

"The itSMF USA Fusion 08 conference and exposition brings together the best minds in the service management industry" link to conference site
April 10th, 2008 / Tags: event, servicedesign / Trackback / Comments

Where will design be in 2020?

I went to a workshop today with Aviv on behalf of Engine to help explore the future of the British design industry. Met lots of inter-esting people, and had some interesting conversations, although the general conclusion seemed to be 'more of the same only better.' Quite reassuring really - check the BDI website for the resulting publication in June (this workshop was a small part of a larger future/foresight programme) - I'll post a link when its up.
April 8th, 2008 / Tags: event, innovation, designindustry / Trackback / Comments

Mobile Service Design Workshop

Interesting upcoming workshop on mobile service design for the 2012 olympics.

"The workshop will investigate the possibilities for service design and creation around mobile platforms, through the presentation of exemplary work in these areas, and will explore how mobile services might enhance the experience of the 2012 Games. Participants will work together to conceive and present potential new services, combining disciplinary skills and design visualisation. These concepts will be visually documented and described, and subsequently published as a booklet to inform and inspire people working in the mobile industry, involved in the the 2012 Games, and otherwise shaping communication futures."

Unfortunately I missed the registration - The attendee list reads like a who's who list of interesting designers in London...
March 26th, 2008 / Tags: event, servicedesign / Trackback / Comments
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