The Service Experience Camp

Creating open learning formats

Service design resources are increasingly promoted in-house. Big corporations and smaller businesses create their own service design units and roll-out large-scale training programmes to equip their staff with the necessary skills to ‘Design for Impact’. However, learning does not stop at the corporate entrance but transcends organisational boundaries. Open conference formats such as the Service Experience Camp foster peer-to-peer learning among service innovators.

In-house capability building can be complemented by open learning formats outside the organisation. Companies have started to bring in impulses from outside by hosting talks by experts, engaging external trainers and using online courses for training purposes. Often true inspiration lies beyond what we already know. In our daily routine we can miss the forest for the trees. We need to leave our comfort zones to refresh our thinking and doing.

The Service Experience Camp — 2016 in its fourth edition — offers an interactive learning format, studded with cross-cutting key talks, attendee-generated open sessions and special events. We call it co-conference because it is about collaboration between everyone involved, from participants, speakers and partners to the organisers. It is also about the co-creation of conference content. As a participant, you actively shape the event, creating your own learning experience. We want to break with the common conference design where you sit and listen to content on stage and seldom can tap on all the experts sitting in the same room — not even during the often too few and short breaks. Instead, we want to build a learning platform with the Service Experience Camp which everyone can adapt to their own needs.

How is this done? First, the key talks framing the whole event feature cross-cutting topics that offer inspiration beyond the design scene. Tearing down the ‘wall’ between speakers and audience means that we facilitate interactive elements, such as a microphone that can be thrown around like a ball. Second, the open sessions are at the heart of the conference. It is a format generated by the participants. Following a service-dominant logic view, we believe that the value of the conference actually can only be created by the attendees themselves. The programme is therefore not predetermined by the organisers but co-created before and during the event. Everyone can host an open session, which lasts 60 minutes, to engage with fellow experts. It is an opportunity to present your work, discuss early ideas and prototypes and receive valuable feedback. Third, we make sure to schedule enough time to mingle and talk because some of the most exciting stuff and meaningful conversations during a conference happen beyond the official programme, during the breaks and evening events. Participants are also featured on the conference website to allow them to connect with each other before, during and after the event.

All in all, open learning formats, such as the Service Experience Camp, allow participants to bring back impulses to their respective companies. We believe that such openness is not a threat but an advantage to survive in a competitive market for both talent and business opportunities.