Service Design is gaining traction because you can't really do anything with Design Thinking and everything is a service.
That's it. The title of this article says it all. But let's break it in parts.
1. Service Design is gaining traction
If you search on Google Trends, Design Thinking still beats the hell out of Service Design. Our approach to the market from day one was “design thinking for services.” We did that because clearly search results and business vehicles were starting to use Design Thinking a lot. But in recent months I've been noticing quiet movements, signals if you will, that show me there's something different starting to happen. For once, Design Thinking is starting to get really worn out. Don't get me wrong, it is still doing more good than wrong but people have misused it a lot. Many professionals talk about empathy without knowing its meaning and think that co-creating and prototyping what other people are saying is all you have to do in order to come up with great business solutions. On the other hand, I've been noticing the term "Service Design" to pop up, out of nothing, in meetings, discussions, online comments and articles within circles one would never expect. This is still just a "feeling-based" argument , but I really do see it is starting to happen.
2. You can't really do anything with Design Thinking
As Service Designers, Design Thinking is our main approach to solve problems but it is not what we do. I mean, we do use Design Thinking as a way of working with the pursue of empathy, multiple points of views to co-create solutions and rapid prototyping to figure out what to do. But everything we create is a service .We've been doing Service Design projects as Livework in Brazil since 2010. So Design Thinking is just a philosophy, a way of working that we use to create services. And in practical terms, business knowledge and service design tools are what put it all together to make solutions work, not Design Thinking. So, you can't really do anything with Design Thinking.
3. Everything is a service
This is very straight-forward. The value of everything is in the service it provides. So even if you are in the manufacturing or consumer goods business, you should be aware of that by now. My upcoming article with Mauricio Manhaes will dig deeper into that. If you are already curious, you should read our post on the Service-Dominant Logic.
So what do you think? Is Service Design as a discipline with real deliverables, business awareness and result oriented going to replace Design Thinking that is just an approach or, being so simple and flexible will Design Thinking remain the dominant, entry-level term in the Design universe?