Notes on Service Design Network Global 2018 conference

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Even though I have been introduced to what is now Service Design back in 2000, I have never been to one of the network’s conferences, which started in 2008. but now I am a member and after this kind of conference it feels great.

Member Event

The day before the two main event days was a catch-up for the community and its members. Being in a room with people from around 30 countries and coming in as far as Japan and Korea, one becomes very humbled by the commitment people make for their profession. Director Birgit Mager elaborated on progress growth and general value proposition of the community, which does not always exist in such accessible terms for other communities. The case studies alone should get everyone excited.

Not even during the .com boom have I seen a community cross the divide between the Europe-America group and Australia-Asia group.
Beyond community affirmation, we had some very insightful presentations from Wipro on new tools that create inclusive project processes between designers and engineers like a demo on real-time board with a Jira integration that spanned project data from human centred research information down to Jira tickets. Smart, bright and the future of team processes.

A strong pre-conference day finalised by a quick dive into Dublin.

Dublin, I love you : Best and most tasty meatballs that ever showed up around 1am I can remember.

Conference Days:

Yes, a project I worked on with BT and FromHereOn got shortlisted for the awards. :)

There were plenty respectable projects around service design from various industries. It really felt like people take notice of the business relevance of service design.

The Hygiene Factors of Transformation

  1. Compliance C-Level Sponsorship
  2. Inter-divisional staff involvement
  3. Personnel Capacity
  4. Implementation Management
  5. Implementation Maturity
  6. Temporary Organisation

I liked those as I could pick up similarities to the transformation project I was just in for a year.

Stefan Moritz, head of customer experience at McKinsey design made a compelling point about people at work being able to be more satisfied and productive. The potential seems immense, and it is a notion I share. Businesses are going through a structural efficiency revolution. Service Design contributes.

C-Levels act like (African) tribes. In a fascinating talk the discussion explored the characteristics of why and how conflicts appear in leadership levels despite that the end goal is a shared goal. A lot has to do with the common language that sometimes prohibits that the shared goals are identified as shared and the same.

Don’t force processes on people!

Systems Thinking vs everyone else,…

A maybe not unsurprising trend was that various areas of expertise that define new business processes are competing for dominance. Depending on where you are coming from, people use their language to describe the focus and steps it takes to move forward. Alberta Sorenzo from Lloyds made a compelling point aligning most aspects to centralise towards her profession, Systems Thinking. Interestingly, I have just been in a one-year engagement that aligned Service Design with Business Architecture. I would argue that this moment in time there are about 5–10 views and languages around mapping and tracking how new business processes should be looked at and talked about. In case any of you is watching I would love to have a sit-down with Alberta Sorenzo, Jake Knapp, Stefan Moritz, Paul, and whoever else wants to watch or contribute. This needs to happen so lets not delay it.

It is always surprising when a concept hits you that you never formalised, but that another person made part of their profession. Systems Thinking has the above, which is part of my book concept. I would argue that we are living at a time where companies are massively shifting more from an X towards a Y theory. Tool and processes seem to indicate a mindset that supports that and X appears to be stuck in the industrial revolution kind of era. Discuss :)

The slide that got the most laughs. The reality of a company vs what most processes are tracking.

All in all, the projects were re-confirming and some of the keynotes were rather inspiring. Some questions I took away that I would like to get some opinions on:

Is Service Design becoming a new invory tower or is it starting to include everyone?

What in your opinion are the closest allies for Service Design?

I hope you enjoyed the notes.

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