Service design

“The most important design discipline you’ve never heard of” — Kerry Bodine, Forrester Research

If you have a job, the chances are you work in a service industry. In my home city of Leeds, six out of seven workers do. They care for the sick and elderly, raise and teach the next generation, perform in the arts, clean the streets, drive the buses, staff the checkouts and help customers over the phone.

Strangely when people hear the word “design”, they don’t think of those things. Most picture graphic design, drawing and art, or physical products like architecture, interiors and dresses – all very nice, but why lavish creativity there while neglecting the stuff we do and have done to us every day?

There’s a worldwide movement that says we should think differently about services, and about design. Service design enlists designers’ people-centred tools and techniques to choreograph service wherever, however, and by whoever it is delivered.

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