Berlin Beckons

The  Service Design Network Conference Agenda was released this week. I went along to their first event in Amsterdam, November 2008, I couldn't afford a ticket on my student budget so I asked my university to buy me a ticket instead of paying me for the teaching I was doing at the time. Like many others I decided not to go to the event in 2009 primarily because its location, but it did spark a huge debate amongst the community about what the next conference should be!

So, here we are in 2010 with the "next conference "only months away! I'm feeling pretty proud of myself because I have been invited to be a keynote speaker on the second day and my partner in crime, Sarah is lecturing on the first day. I am also initiating a design challenge around Making Service Sense. A hat trick for the Snook team !

I can't wait to meet new people and put many faces to twitter names! This opportunity has really got me thinking, I want to make an impact. I re-read the post I wrote about the event in 2008 and the journey I have been on since then has been pretty incredible.

I can't wait to share it with you.

Master in Service Design 2011 Competition

The Domus Academy have launched a service design competition to win a scholarship for their new Masters Course In Service Design.

The new master in Service Design is devoted to create the next generation of humanized and pleasurable service experiences. The design-driven approach to Service Design and management and the human-centric view are the driving forces for the innovation of service industries.

So you can enter this competition and send your service idea proposal to get a scholarship!

Volcanic Ash Cloud Shuts Airports:

The inconvenience generated by unpredictable events can become an occasion for companies to offer service plus.

Due to the ash cloud, in the last months, most people experienced canceled flights and flight's delay during their traveling time, with all the related soft or serious damages : waiting at the airport for hours or days, being forced to stay longer in a city-hotel, getting fresh clothes, feeling anxiety in flying close to the ash cloud, loosing important family or business events, queuing to find alternative travel arrangements and get information on next flights or trains, working in any place without your own stuff.

Consider one of these possibilities inconvenient situations to design a service idea that companies such as Airports, Airlines, Hotels, Travel Agencies, or even Telecoms could offer to their clients to alleviate the problems encountered. Often simple ideas and signals of courtesy become distinctive and value for customers.

The deadline is the 6th you want to study Service Design in Italy? I think this is a great opportunity - and what do you have to lose? if you don't win you have still answered a very relevant brief! Let me know if you are going to enter ...

1 nation. 60 million opinions

There is a new web service in town and it collects the opinions of the public. It seems they are doing all their advertising on buses and billboards, I spotted a billboard yesterday in Glasgow Central Station.

"These days, so many people feel that they're not being listened to and they have no way of making their voice heard.  They feel distanced from self-interested politicians and the news media.  Yet the hallmark of Britain has always been that people care about, and have strong views on, almost everything.  Speaking out is a democratic right this nation has historically embraced with enthusiasm.

Britainthinks is an independent space where the opinions of the British public can be publicly expressed. It launched on 4th January 2010.

Britainthinks was created to give people a new voice and support the vibrant democracy that the people of Britain already participate in up and down the country - in the pubs, living rooms and street corners of our nation.  We’re not backed by big news media organisations.  We have no political or religious axe to grind.  We just believe it is high time for us all to listen, speak and vote for the issues that count in our daily lives.  Britainthinks is the place to do just that."

You can vote on issues ranging from 'Should parents be paid to stay at home with kids?' to 'Do MP's care about us or just themselves?'. I am curious as to who is behind this and what they are going to do with all the opinions they gather!

Although, as Matthew Taylor points out "BritainThinks doesn’t encourage its participants to ask themselves whether their opinion is wanted, useful or soundly based is reinforced by the site’s slogan…if you’ve got an opinion, here’s where to stick it..." It also doesn't seem to have a space for people to discuss their opinions and engage in conversation about their thoughts...

I like the site and the graphics. I'll be watching closley to see what happens next.

True Grit

Last February I got snowed in during a visit to London town and wrote about Snowing and Togetherness. Here I am nearly a year later and the snow is even deeper. The togetherness is different too. As I've said before - maybe it has something to do with lovely  co-production, citizenship and co-creation theme tune I hear every day.

It is genuinely lovely and exciting and over flowing with possibility. That's why  Snook are looking for evidence of it actually happening and making a difference in the places we live.

When the snow fell the Scottish Government asked ordinary people to take more responsibility for their own welfare and the welfare of others. This echoed what MyPolice heard at the RSA when they spoke about human capability. They believe every citizen has the potential to be:

  • self reliant
  • resourceful
  • self sufficient
  • altruistic

and behave in a way that their actions contribute to the social fabric of society. The Scotsman's Life In The Freezer captured this perfectly:

"Elsewhere there has been much talk about "true grit"; of communities pulling together; of the spirit of the Blitz being rekindled. And – though some may see this as a major exercise in buck-passing – there is little doubt that across Britain the current weather crisis has sparked a few acts of great resourcefulness and heroism among ordinary people.

But there have also been those small, mundane, everyday acts of altruism: whether it's pushing strangers' cars out of snow drifts, taking a neighbour's children to school, buying groceries for those who can't get to the shops or looking in on vulnerable pensioners, people seem to be becoming a little less blinkered and insular.

Stranded drivers made the best of their ordeal by building snowmen on the central reservations of motorways

The cold weather seems to be bringing out people's creativity too, Caldercruix Community Centre project development officer Ruth Taggart's own street took on a party atmosphere as neighbours banded together to clear it.

"When the first snow came, just before Christmas, we came home from a shopping trip and found we couldn't park in our cul-de-sac so three or four families – the adults, their sons and their friends – all came out to clear it. We had music going, and juice to drink, and there was lots of laughing. At one point, the boys were all competing to knock off the dangerous icicles with snowballs. Normally we just come in from work and go straight into our houses, so it made a change to spend some time outdoors with everyone."

So there is certainly no lack of true grit in Scotland.

I like this little collection from the BBC - people across Scotland share their experienes of the icey conditions.

EASY COUNCIL: Council inspired by Ryanair

The Guardian reports: "A leading Conservative council is using the business model of budget airlines, Ryanair and easyJet, to inspire a radical reform of public service provision which is being seen as a blueprint for Tory government." How does this work? Well, would you pay extra to get your planning permission quicker? The council will offer a basic service and enable people to get more if they pay extra. The same way you get on the plane first if you pay Ryanair a little more.


This scheme is already in place in the London Borough of Barnett and it is predicted that other councils think this is the approach they will need to adopt in the future.

The article has ruffled many feathers:

"Well, it's being called choice, and targeting, but what it means is, there's to be a fast service with trimmings for the richer, and a longer wait for a basic service for the poorer.Presumably this will eventually be the model for the NHS as well..."

"Is it simply that someone with more money can get something better - that's what's money for."

I think this is a really interesting debate...although I can't help but think there is something very wrong with using Ryanair as a role model?

Thank you to Jonathan for discovery.