Service Design Fringe Festival: The Craft of Service Design

For second year consecutive, MA Service Experience Design and Innovation collaborated with Service Design Fringe Festival to organise an host an event in the London Design Festival.

Student Anupa Dasgupta strongly believes in the importance to inform, educate, share skills and knowledge that grows amongst the community. That is why, when Anupa took on the curation of the event she decided to give it a masterclass format that highlighted a very important, and seldom shared, part of the practice of service design: technique. Driven by her interest in ‘the Craft of Designing for Services’, Anupa put together a cross-sector panel to share their practice knowledge: Dr. Geke Van Dijk, strategy director at STBY; Francesco Mazzarella, PhD researcher at Loughborough Design School, Anish Joshi, Head of Design at Deloitte Digital Strategy and Dr. Alison Prendiville, reader in Design for Service at UAL; chaired by Silvia Grimaldi course leader.

Anupa Dasgupta – Photo: Thomas Wagner


Anish, Geke, Francesco, Alison and Silvia – Photo: Thomas Wagner

Geke van Dijk is co-founder and Strategy Director of STBY in London and Amsterdam. Geke has a background in ethnographic research, user-centred design and services marketing. Since 2003, STBY has been crafting the practice of Design Research for Service Innovation. Their practice is global yet situated, working in collaboration with an international network of professional like-minded agency partners. In her talk, Geke explained three principles to their practice: ’It’s always about people’, co-creative and agile. Geke shared insights on how to make research design-driven, creative, interactive and impactful. STBY have crafted a methodology to work with agile processes in diverse context, in close collaboration with the client team. In particular, Geke shared how their use of video ethnography to provide in-depth insights into people’s lives.

Francesco Mazzarella is a PhD researcher at Loughborough Design School, funded by the AHRC Design Star CDT. His multidisciplinary research interests span the fields of service design, social innovation, sustainable futures, design anthropology, and textile artisanship. In his talk, Francesco reflected on the role of designers as future makers to address complex challenges. Like Geke, Francesco emphasised that ‘one-seize-fits-all’ approaches do not work in varied context and encouraged designers to be highly responsive and master skills to craft situated services.

Anish Joshi is Head of Design at Deloitte Digital Strategy, where he champions Design Thinking principles and Service Design methods to inspire and craft new products and services. Anish has recently completed an Executive MBA, where he has looked at how strategic design can combine with businesses. In his talk, Anish advocated for people-centred, yes, but also business-centred design. Anish pointed out that services need to be crafted for business as much as for people to enhance implementation and generation of value. He offered a look into how human-centred approach goes beyond experience into service and business design using a ‘deep-journey mapping’ tool: an extended journey map that touches into implementation and evaluation, with sections that refer to KPI’s, responsibilities, limitations, capabilities, market barriers, etc. that run in parallel to a persona’s journey.

Anish Joshi – Photo: Thomas Wagner

Alison Prendiville, reader in Service Design explored the evaluation in designing for services. Alison asked the audience about what and how we evaluate: mixed quantitative and qualitative in private sector, and mostly quantitative in public sector. Focusing on design for public services, Alison points the complexity of assessing impact in service transformation projects, where the practice of what is being designed changes. She argues that there is an overemphasis on final outputs and outcomes, therefore ignoring other values that emerge throughout the design journey: organisational changes that allow a design to be delivered, empathy and building trust, or employees that are up-skilled. How can we evidence where changes lay? Are KPI’s the right language? Alison invites designers to craft evaluations that capture values for different actors.

Alison Prendiville – Photo: Thomas Wagner


Anish, Geke, Francesco and Alison – Photo: Rob Maslin


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