A Practical Take on Service Design

Last month we dived head first into Service Design. It’s an area that’s been talked about a lot, so we were curious to explore the practical implications of designing a service. The talks looked at the skills and tools necessary to do the job as well as unpacking real-life challenges through a case study.

Our first speaker, Lisa O’Brien, gave us five lessons she learnt from her time in service design. She emphasised the need for user research as well as representing your users, especially for those who need it the most. One of Lisa’s strongest views were on leadership; “Be a leader no matter what level”. Lisa explained that we should alway try to be leaders regardless of the size or scope of the project.

The second presentation was by Amy Ricketts and Nina Timmers, who both work for the FutureGov. They presented an insightful case study on how service design can be used successfully for council run services.

Amy and Nina spoke about the not-so-glossy outputs of service design in the public sector saying that “a lot of design ends with diagram, but people pay for impact”. Advice was given to deliver early and iterate to make to most impact.

The talks were really insightful and covered a range of high-level practical advice for service design. The Q&A session proved how engaging the talks were with interesting questions and points being raised.

📷 Don’t forget you can see all the pictures from the night here.

About the Speakers

Lisa O’Brien

Lisa is a strategic designer and researcher that loves making sense of complex problems. Firmly believing that ideas really can change the world, Lisa helps organisations consider the bigger picture by using human-centred design to focus on creating experiences that aim to make the world a better place. Lisa’s on a mission to make design accessible and practical, pulling back the curtains to demystify the process without losing that special bit of magic that comes from a truly well-designed experience.

Amy Ricketts

Amy is a Service Designer with 6 years of experience working in a variety of design and research roles for the public and third sectors with clients including Mind, CentrePoint and Lewisham Borough Council.

After training as a Visual Designer, Amy went on to study for a Masters in Service Design Innovation and developed a passion for designing solutions that look to tackle complex, social problems.

At FutureGov, Amy has worked on a diverse range of service re-design and organisational transformation projects across children’s and adult’s social care.

Nina Timmers

Nina has been working on service design, organisational change and innovation projects since 2010, delivering impact together with a range of clients and partners. She has worked on projects in the private, public and nonprofit sector across the UK and internationally.

As an organisation designer at FutureGov Nina partners with Local Councils across the UK, such as the City Council of Birmingham and the London Borough Council of Bexley. She has delivered projects focusing on concrete challenges such as innovation in fostering and early help as well as supported councils to think more strategically about how to build innovation capacity through setting up innovation labs, building transformation teams and transferring skills. Nina holds a Master of Science, Strategic Product Design from the University of Technology, Delft.


A huge thank you to Tesco for hosting us and the speakers for the engaging talks and Q&A.

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About the Author

Marwa Khalil is a London based UX and UI designer who has had the chance to work with some great London startups and SaaS companies. She is a regular contributor and editor for the LTUX London blog. Stay up to date with her on Medium, Twitter and Instagram.