Some reflections on Service Design

(Please consider these as working scribbles in my notebook.)

I keep hearing the statement ‘Service Design is the new UX’

This may be true in industry attention and the number of specialists in the field, service design specialists popping up at the speed UX specialists were popping up 5–10 years ago, but if you were to take that statement without that cultural context, it’s actually non-sensical.

Much in the same way that saying ‘art is the new drawing’ — whut?

Because there’s always been art. It’s the broader thing. Drawing is a discipline within art. Much like UX is just a tool / discipline / element within service design.

I’m just learning about service design. I’m by far no expert, but these are some things I’m surmising so far:

  • Service design has always been a thing — it’s just evolving more focus and discipline around it, probably largely led by the focus and discipline that exploded in the last 10+ years of putting the user at the heart of what you’re designing. UX has been surfacing inherent problems with broader services for humans.
  • But service design requires more than just a user centred design process.
  • It requires an understanding of systems — both the system of a service and of the wider systems services are entering (societal, cultural, technological).
  • It requires an understanding of cultures and biases within individuals and organisations providing services.
  • UX designers (and ‘product owners’) need to understand the system they are designing within, or at least that they are designing within a broader system (or set of systems) not just tunnel vision on the specific users they are designing whatever specific ingredient of the service for.
  • And they need to learn the art of collaborating with other product owners, UX designers, anyone designing anything within that service, and within the system, essentially.
  • When they don’t, silos occur. Tensions within organisations arise. Internal competition happens. Services don’t work as a whole for individuals and society.

That’s all for now. What can you tell me about service design?