Service Design

May 15, 2011

Moving the blog

The Vanity Experiment is moving to

Small change you won't hardly notice if you're browsing online, but if you're reading this via a RSS reader, you'll want to go change the feed address to this: feed://

Why the change? I've been using Movable Type version old.OLD since about 2004, so I decided to get with the times. Bring on Wordpress (which is now running my entire site).

Posted by Ant at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2011

Service Design 2011

The service design conference in Sydney held yesterday was really worthwhile.

On reflection, the highlights for me were Opher Yom-Tov's presentation "Designers on the Inside" - a nice "Top-Ten" style preso with some salient points that are well-worth remembering. A few that stuck in my mind and I'd heartily second [paraphrased] were - "Build a vision, but also include the first step toward it" "Just start..." and "Great leaders enable service design to succeed" though on that last one, I think the word 'enable' is a bit soft. I'd say 'mandate' is probably a better aspiration, even if a rare find.

I also enjoyed seeing Melis Senova, from Huddle design talk about the difference between corporates and NGOs. She had a sweet little framework for structuring thinking through the initial brief-gathering phases of a project. Check out her presentation on the Service Design 2011 site to see this simple polar map that shows who, what, how, when... very simple, but the most effective techniques often are.

Richard Beaumont, to use the phrase of a colleague of mine "dropped a Knowledge Bomb" on us with his talk "Designing the ultimate retail service experience". Probaby the most experienced and certainly "The Real Deal", Richard imparted so much, that I only caught half of it, and this is the second time I've seen him deliver the same content. Talk's about a million miles a minute, yet in an entirely entertaining and engaging way. Great content from someone who's been there done that and has bucket-loads to share. Richard, if you read this, to set the record straight, I didn't design any part of Victor Churchill on Queen Street in Woollahra. He asked who'd been there, to which I raised my hand. Maybe I misheard and he asked if anybody in the audience had designed it. I didn't, the talented folks at dreamtime design did. But I agree, the sausage door handle is great.

My presentation (Alongside Technology - Service Design on a Shoestring) was a highlight for me, but mainly because I'm passionate about sharing some stuff we've been learning at Different over the last year or so, which after we did initial strategy pieces, was very much more at the pointy end of implementation and borders on change management.

Here's the presentation.

There are some photos here taken by Erietta Sapounakis who, along with Bec Purser, also helped me a great deal with the content of this presentation (they've been at the coalface this past year).

These presentations stuck out for me. However, every presentation was great in it's own way. There wasn't a single one that was only OK, which as Donna, one of the conference organisers said at the end, is very rare indeed!

Overall, the presentations showed that like most burgeoning design disciplines, as a community we're still trying to find a common language, even though we're doing similar activities to one other - it is, after all, just design thinking in another guise. But we're also feeling for the boundaries. Where does design end and change management begin? How do you "build" a service without crossing into the areas of training and corporate culture? Is that our domain? I think so, but in what capacity we're still figuring out.

Posted by Ant at 03:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2010

Service Design Tools

Roberta Tassi has assembled quite a collection of delicious deliverables for Service Design as part of her thesis. is a helpful resource in refining our approach for the work we're doing at Different right now. New challenges arise with each new project, as none are quite alike. This site showcases a few different ways to solve similar problems.

Posted by Ant at 04:39 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2010

Experience Map

Starbucks Service Experience Design - A map of positive and negative factors felt by customers as they move through the end to end experience is a powerful means to realise opportunities. The artefact hints at the emotional journey along the way and coupled with events within the control of Starbucks, it highlights the areas in need of attention to deliver the most impact on experience.

We have been creating these for our Service Design projects at Different as part of the Experience Research and Strategy phases. They're very powerful communication tools that have seen us open the eyes of even the most conservative clients. As such, they deliver tremendous value in terms of supplying clients with the "ah ha!" moment regarding this crazy dark art we practice called "Experience Design".

Posted by Ant at 05:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2009

We're still too fluffy

OZ-IA is an information architecture conference held here in Sydney annually. I presented this year on a topic which has occupied me the past few years: Selling user experience design and the value of design thinking to business.

The thrust of the presentation goes like this:

  1. We, as a profession, have largely failed to make great product experiences.
  2. There are certain people that matter in the world of design, and it's not designers. It's the people who pay to have things built
  3. Communicating the value of design to people who pay to have things made needs to be better done by the industry. They call this "Selling" and we can learn it from traditional salesmen.

Posted by Ant at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)