Service Design takes centre stage

I have spent the last few days at Europe’s first conference dedicated to Service Design. I was also lucky enough to see beautiful Amsterdam in the snow..

In the 168people crowd there were many familiar faces; it was nice to finally put faces to names I have gotten to know. The presentations were all good, some were excellent… Oliver King, co-founder of Engine, most definitely stood out from the crowd.


I left inspired although I have to say I didn’t learn anything new; this was a missed opportunity for show casing and bench marking. I was hoping to learn about successful Service Design projects from the business world, the private and public sector.

I would have liked to learn more from Shelley Evenson from Carnegie Mellon University who discussed Service Innovation within Health Care. She described design as a ‘catalyst for change’, reinforcing the importance that designers adopt a ‘fearlessness of really listening’.

I believe our job now is to develop new ways of communicating Service Design to the public. We need to spend less time talking to ourselves and each other. There is still too many fruitless conversations spent defining disciplines and labeling people; it doesn’t matter how we define it. It is how we do it that counts!

This will require painting the bigger picture; conveying the strong connection to business, strategy and the importance of diving into the customers world.


For me, the last few days proved that the demand for Service Design is growing. It definitely is an emerging field and more people are curious… I hope to stay in touch with the interesting people I met. As Birgit Mager concluded “We need to spread the word. Let’s get started and do it, getting better and better everyday.”

My plan now is to get out into the world and do just that.

My Flickr photos from the event.