Over on the Keech Design blog, our guest blogger Katrina reports on how Service Design infiltrated the traditionally product-focused London Design Festival (LDF) in 2016. And we speculate how Service Design methods could help increase innovation in product design.
Katrina’s Experience at the Service Design Fringe Festival
While the London Design Festival (LDF) celebrated its 14th year, the Service Design Fringe Festival (SDF) has just turned three. Running alongside LDF, the SDF raises recognition of Service Design through workshops and talks by service design experts from private and public sectors.
As an emerging discipline, Service Design is defined in different ways (10 of them listed here), but at its heart, Service Design uses design thinking to help create desirable, human-centred experiences. Unlike the design of physical objects, service design focuses the interactions (touchpoints) between a user and an organisation or brand, often employing journey maps to visually chart a user’s end-to-end experience of buying or using a product or service, such as the map below which charts the visitor journey at the Smithsonian.
Another key feature of service design is envisioning future service experiences. A highlight of the SDF was seeing some of the experimental design tools the UK Government’s Policy Lab uses to explore future service scenarios. As part of their ‘Next Practice Workshop’, the Policy Lab team and design studio Superflux, introduced us to their work using ‘Speculative Design’- an approach pioneered by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.
Policy Lab has been using Speculative Design to engage citizens and policymakers across different government departments in discussions about the future of public services. As part of the workshop we got to share ideas on a range of visualisations created for a project on the future of rail travel. For a more human-centred approach, we debated how two extreme rail users (a mother with a baby and pram, and a partially sighted elderly man) would ‘fit’ into these future scenarios.
Future Tonic’s Take
Since nearly all products have services associated with them (manufacturing, shipping, advertising, training, etc.), we can look at how the product fits into the wider ecosystem to spot opportunities for innovation. For example, if we take the idea of a Customer Journey Map and apply it to a product, we can create a ‘Day in the Life” of a product (a Product Journey Map) that enables designers to see how their product interacts with people, other products, and services. The act of creating the diagram shifts the design team away from a myopic perspective to a more holistic, ecosystem view that reveals opportunities for improving products as well as ideas for new products that fill the ‘experience’ gaps.
Likewise, envisaging the future through speculative design reveals how existing products will have to adapt, and what new products will need to be developed to meet the changing demands of customers and markets. That’s why a forward-thinking design firm like KD (and us!) conduct trends research – to identify those key cultural, technological, environmental, economic and political drivers that will shape the future.