Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Non-profits can learn from Coke

“We think, if people need something we don’t have to make them want that something.”

Melinda Gates makes a intriguing case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants — and can get — a Coke.
This is the work of the Design + Non-profits collaborations. We have the skills we need to make a difference. Organizations like DfA and, Epic, Project H, and D4G are all doing this work. And LocalD will soon be there to help these collaborations happen.

More soon on LocalD

Take a look and let me know what you think please.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Service Designers - What's their job?

Here is Dianna Miller's reply to a question regarding finding employment in the Service Design field that I found helpful. What do you think?
(This is from the
IxDA discussion board.)

I can answer from the perspective of how I teach service design here at SCAD. First, a couple things to recognize if you're looking for a job in service design in the US:

1. Service Design as a discipline under that name is currently more widely practiced and understood in Europe (especially in the UK) than it is in the US. There are a few contributing factors to this, but suffice to say, this is where many jobs under that title are currently located (other countries are Australia, India, Brazil, and Korea). This is not an exhaustive list.

2. Some of what I will describe as service design may, in fact, be practiced by people on this forum who have job titles other than Service Designer. This depends largely on the nature of the design problem/space they are working in. You may find a job where it would make sense to use service design methods as an interaction or user experience designer.

3. Service design work in traditional service sectors such as hospitality and transportation likely include human-human, as well as computer-human,
touchpoints. These sectors already have positions for designers working on brand-as- service experience and they are probably not called service designers. Software-as-a-Service jobs are much more likely to be filled by interaction designers who may adopt and adapt some service design tools (see #2). Healthcare and public services are important sectors where I believe we're more likely to see jobs emerging for service designers who work with a methodology that is distinct from UCD although certainly related to it (see below).

I'll answer the questions in reverse:
What types of projects could a Service Designer participate in?
I'm not sure we *design* services; rather, we design *for* services. Service happens when one person (or group) exchanges value with another person (or group). This exchange (called a
touchpoint in SD parlance) can happen online, on the phone, in person...doesn't matter. It can be a provider-consumer, employee-employee, provider-partner exchange, etc. What is important here is that it is between people, even when intermediated by a device. Because it's between people, we can't always predict what the exchange will be and certainly can't control the exchange as designers.
What we *can* do is design the elements, resources,
affordances, interventions (call them what you will) that both providers and consumers use to create this value exchange. Service Designers design the facilitating aspects of a service: the service medium, platform, stage (again, call it what you will).

Service designers refer to these elements that we design (or design for) as the five
Ps of service design: people, props (a.k.a. product), place, process, partnerships.
Therefore, a group working on the design for a service might produce:
PEOPLE: service scripts, protocols for employees; feedback channels for customers

PROPS: product design or graphic design of the artifacts used by the service

PLACE: architecture or interior design of the service's location(s); interaction design within the virtual environment

workflows (rituals) and workflow affordances between customer and employee, employee and employee, etc.

PARTNERSHIPS: contracts, proposed relationships between partners to improve the value proposition of the service

Many of these elements are outside the range of any one designer's
skillset. Which brings us to...
How do you define a service designer in terms of skills and qualifications?

1. service designers are not the subject matter experts of what they are designing. Therefore their value as designers lies in their ability to bring the benefits of their design process to the people who are the experts: these people are the service providers, partners, and service consumers. Service designers therefore must be good design facilitators: they listen, observe well and can mirror,
reframe others' ideas and perceptions.

2. The tools of design facilitation are the same as design: it's all about modeling. Service designers have skills in innovative modeling (visual,
sensorial representations: 2D, 3D, 4D + enactment) that we use to help Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and consumers envision and concretize their own ideas, as well as give feedback on the ideas of others. We use concept modeling to experience prototyping to engage service users directly in the design process. It's this ability to facilitate group ideation and viscerally SHOW (not tell about) the impact of the service that aids in holistically managing the complexity of it.

Side note: Since service design is about the relationships between actors in a service system and the cross functional flow of activity between these actors, you'll note that service designers talk a lot about two specific models: the service ecology (a.k.a actor map) and the blueprint (a.k.a in business as a cross-functional flowchart with "

3. Another important aspect is that service designers facilitate this design process among the
SMEs by engaging them in co-design activities. In other words, we do user research, but we don't stop there: we actively engage users of the service system in the design process. It's paramount to engage service users in the design process because we are designing for a system, a platform, and NOT, as an end, for targeted users interacting with the designed thing. We solicit and engage the ideas of various stakeholders to understand how they want to interact with each other. We test the elements of the service with them through experience prototyping so we can see how they, as individuals, complete the experience. In this way, we have the chance to see what kinds behaviors/interactions will emerge.
In other words, service designers are prototyping a future to see how people will create value *with each other* once these designed contexts and resources are implemented and available to them.

I'd like to make one point on the subtle, but important distinction between User-Centered Design methodology and a systems-focused methodology like Service Design. Research and design in the UCD process focuses on representative users for whom we design tools, experiences. Service Design is also user-centric and a service project may certainly require UCD tools and methods such as user modeling, but when we're researching for the service system itself, we're looking at the unique perspectives and activities of the various stakeholders in the system to understand the synergies, breakdowns,
workflows, influences between them. The resulting design heuristics are then likely to be for the platform, even though the design is ultimately for the benefit of the users.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Retail and DD+D at RTC

Byron lead DD+D's “Embodied Dramatic Personas and Realistic Scenarios” workshop for the retail planning, product design, communication design, and marketing teams at RTC Friday.

RTC is a global company that helps marketers connect with consumers in the retail medium.
For more info on RTC

Here are some comments from the
RTC participant Teams:

"I feel it helps to stretch our
boundaries when examining shoppers and how they shop and behave."

" Seems really helpful in idea generation, sharing insights, and presenting to clients."

"The presentation was engaging and provided me with some new ideas for incorporating theatre methods into the design process."

" The technique can be used for internal problem solving and process improvement and workshops with clients."

"The technique would help to round out and ask the "what
if''s" once shopper data was initially received."

"As a designer/writer I need to become other people to tease out the best way to
communicate information to "me". What would effect "me" and cause "me" to act?"

"Very Effective. I didn't see the connection (theatre+design) before coming today, but when
Byron broke it down in terms of trust, improvisation, creativity etc.. , I immediately saw the connection."

"I saw this being a great way to run a participatory design workshop during the idea/concept stage. I
especially like the "forum"theatre approach."

"This approach might be interesting in presenting research to designers for hand offs or to clients during research
storming identifying their needs and showing them their own clients."

Thanks Ann Zimmerman and