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.

Amsterdam adventure continues

Very successful afternoon! I have booked my ticket for the Service Design conference coming up in next month.

Thank you to Louise Valentine, Hazel White, Christine Kingsley and Jonathan Baldwin for putting up with my pestering :) and their support in gaining funding.

I must allocate some thinking time to the best way to pass on the knowledge I (hopefully) gain while I am there (especially to the under-graduate students). I would also like to write a review of the conference, I learned lots from writing a review on Intersections which was published by the Art Design Media Subject Centre. If you would like to read my article send me an email or leave a comment!

I am really excited I am going back to Amsterdam...especially after reading this interactive article from the NewYork Times. ( thanks Arne )

My lovely friend Kat will be joining me as she has exciting connections within the world of fashion buying in the city. Learn more about her here.

Dutch Tulips

The tulip has come too be a much loved symbol of The Netherlands. Much to my delight, Marjo and Arne from DesignThinkers gave me a wonderful parcel full of tulip bulbs to bring back to scotland...a bulb of every colour :) These bulbs will always remind me of the wonderful time I had in Amsterdam and I intend to watch them grow faithfully! My gardening experience is very after some google searching I learned that now is the best time to plant them!

Thank you DesignThinkers :)  Stay tuned to watch the bulbs grow...

City-inspired story

This is the first time an international story telling commercial has been used to profile a metropolitan area such as Amsterdam. The makers choose to sell 'emotion' rather than 'unique selling points'.

The city is unique in many ways. It has a wonderful blend of creativity, innovation and spirit...

This creation is playful and effective.