Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Service Design Thinks 3: Service Design from Scratch

I know I am really, really late on this, but below are some notes and photos from Service Design Thinks 3 here in London on 30 March 2010. We had an awesome turnout at the Sense Loft with drinks sponsored by radarstation.

On the night, we discussed the theme, 'Service Design from Scratch.'

And our awesome speakers on the night, were as follows:

Dr James Munro and Paul Hodgkin of Patient Opinion, a not-for-profit social enterprise that lets people share healthcare stories and experiences to help improve the UK's NHS (National Health Service).

Zaeem Maqsood of First Capital a venture capital investment company who told us what it took to invest in a good idea.

Sophia Parker (The Resolution Foundation) and Katie Harris (Esro) who spoke about their experiences of starting up The Social Innovation Lab for Kent with Engine Service Design and Kent County Council.

Jaimes Nel (Live|work and fellow coordinator of Service Design Drinks and Thinks) who did a short presentation on my local take-away coffee shop, Grace St Pauls (who also just launched a new website this month) which has been delivering amazing customer service since it opened its doors in late 2008.

Nick Marsh (of EMC Conchango and fellow coordinator of Service Design Drinks and Thinks) hosted the night and also published his reflections and films (taken by Jaimes) of the presentations on his blog here.

Yesterday, while sifting through some papers, I finally found my notes from the night! Had lost them for awhile. If you are interested in knowing more about the themes I captured on the night, let me know and I can do another post shortly.

Otherwise, Nick has outlined reflections from the panel discussion that happened at the end of all the presentations. He blogged these to be:
  • The role of planning - a lot of service design practice is about planning, but when you are starting up, most people talk about the need to be agile and change plans quickly.
  • Sector specific knowledge - service design is generally sector agnostic, and deliberately 'naive' - 'we just focus on the customer', and yet successful startup services tend to rely on having experienced, knowledgeable individuals who really understand say, health care, or coffee.
  • Personal risk - service designers working in agencies don't have any 'skin in the game', yet taking a personal risk seems to be an important part of making a start up successful.
  • It doesn't stop - service designers, like all designers, like designing things - documentation, specifications, deliverables etc. But when you are running a new service business it just doesn't stop! There is no deliverable or design really, just the effective operation and growth of the organisation. (from Choosenick, 11 April 2010)
We're in planning mode for the next Service Design Thinks London, so watch this space! But if you have any feedback on the night (good, bad, how it could be better etc.) feel free to leave it below or email us at

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