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.
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.