Service Design workshop in Cambridge

Geke participated in a workshop on Service Design at the HCI2009 conference in Cambridge. The participants had a wide range of backgrounds (service systems, service design, services marketing) which resulted in an interesting exchange of references and perspectives. This year’s workshop followed on a previous, similar meeting at the HCI2008 conference in Liverpool. Both workshops were organised by Peter J. Wild from Cambridge University.

Geke’s contribution to the workshop was a reflection on Service Design for the Public Sector. Over the past 6 months STBY has been engaged in quite a few Service Design projects for the public sector, both in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In her presentation Geke gave some examples from recent projects and ended with a slide summing up our reflections on these projects:

– Despite being a service-based sector, there is not a strong tradition of user-centered design and innovation in the Public Sector.
– An open dialogue with consumers needs to be set up and nurtured from both sides. Empatic conversations are crucial to understanding.
– It is important to involve the client team in throughout the process. Both to observe during the home visits, and to co-create insights and ideas during the analysis stage.
– It is important to show the benefits of not immediately jumping to solution-driven thinking. First explore what the problems, needs and opportunities are. Allow time and space for some discovery research.
– It is not sufficient to only focus on the consumer perspective. Also involve the people-facing-professionals in an organisation. They are an important source of knowledge and are also ‘users’ of the services.
– Video and other visual material help strongly to reveal and communicate the points of view of consumers. This makes the insights much more personal, more empathic, and difficult to ignore.

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