31 January 2018

Service Design—Or What Design Can Do

By Isabelle Swiderski

Service Design is still a relatively new term, particularly in North America but less so in Europe–particularly in Scandinavia where there are countless examples of improved services and experiences thanks to a service design approach. The documentary Nordic Service Design—a collaboration between the Service Design Network Chapters of Denmark, Finland and Sweden—dives into such examples in a short survey.

Whilst the cases it explores stay at a high level, the film drives home the notion that understanding the reality of people’s lives—what happens before you go to the airport, what life events trigger thinking about insurance—plays a key role in understanding how your organisation could communicate and adapt to develop better services and customer experiences.

This thinking is also extending to how governments approach their own services, as expressed by Anne Stenros, Chief Design Officer at the City of Helsinki: “The single biggest trend within city governance is actually this [citizen] participation. Because of the complexity and huge challenges, we need everybody’s ideas.”

Exposure to design thinking and co-creation, to methods that leverage the diversity of teams and participants, breaking down artificial silos of specialisations, changes people’s attitudes—in a lasting way—about how to serve other people. It also brings teams together to gain a common understanding of the real needs to be addressed and solved together. And in the words of Anne Beate Hoving, Service Designer for the Oslo International Airport: “It is so much more fun, so much more interesting to work this way. It should interest you, what the customers think.”