In the summer of 2018 Snook published a blog, ‘Our world is getting warmer’, to sound the alarm on the climate crisis and explore how design can help. In it, we highlighted four opportunity areas for designers:

  • Framing environmental challenges as design briefs
  • Making the sustainable thing the best thing
  • Inspiring a new generation of design-led activism
  • Taking action on academic research

Of these four areas, we’ve had the most learnings and success with ‘Make the sustainable thing the best thing’.

Image of the earth in space, surrounded by large colourful writing which says ‘make the sustainable thing the best thing’
Image credit: Tash Willcocks

We’ve won new projects with exciting clients who are passionate about their sustainable product or organisation and had the opportunity to put our skills into practice.

Our work with start-up SNTech will always be a standout. SNTech had…

Principles for designing sustainable services

This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Service design is all about understanding people’s needs and delivering services that meet them. So why do we design and implement these services without understanding the impact they have on our planet?

The climate crisis poses a massive risk to meeting the most basic human needs — access to food, water, clean air and shelter. If these risks are to be mitigated, each of us who are designing and delivering public, private and third sector services, needs to work to reduce emissions and find climate-positive solutions.

Environmental considerations need to be positioned as a priority in all of our existing service design standards, including (especially) the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) Service Standard. Currently, the Digital Scotland Service Standard

A red roadwork sign in a parking space that says ‘parking bay suspended for social distancing’
Image credit: Julie-Ann Gylaitis on Unsplash

There are a lot of things happening right now to make life safer — but how inclusive are they? This is a question we set out to explore in the midst of lockdown.

Who are we? Andy (from Go Upstream) creates opportunities for people with disabilities, primarily people with dementia, to work with transport providers to raise awareness of travel challenges and to work on designing solutions. Ness (from Snook) is a service designer and has involved people in the co-design of public services for over 10 years, including trains, bikes, planes and bikes-on-trains. …

Our recent Design+Climate event looked at ‘how to talk about designing for the climate at work’. A topic we identified as a key barrier to persuading clients and colleagues to include the environment in design briefs. Here’s a wrap up of our key, actionable learnings to improve your climate chat.

Illustration: Jo Flood

We were lucky to be joined by Tom Crompton from the Common Cause Foundation and Chris Adams from Greening Digital and ClimateAction.Tech, to share their different approaches to climate conversations, from Tom’s values to Chris’ tools.

Values and tools are both important to shape good conversations that inspire action:


Illustration: Isabella Bunnell

At Snook, we have been thinking about how service design can help shape a more sustainable society. So far our thinking has been outwards focussed; about climate change as something created ‘out there’, by other people. I’d like to now turn our attention inwards, to service design practice and the sustainability of our solutions.

We always put users and their needs at the heart of product or service development. But what if the needs we are designing for today, compromise the needs of future generations? Basic but vital requirements, like access to clean air, food and water. Speed and convenience…

Ness Wright

Service design + sustainability

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