Tools, process, doing, thinking

Process driven design, empathic design, design thinking, so many terms and even more interpretations. Every designer has his or her own way of going about situations and will name this process or the approach differently. Design thinking is becoming an accepted term for human centred design, but there is a lot more to it.

Service design is all about ‘the design of services’ according to, but is it really? Is it just like any other design discipline; a way of thinking with a specific toolset to tackle and find a great variety of issues that need a response. Birgit Mager says that service design ‘is about choreographing processes, technologies and interactions within complex systems in order to co-create value for stakeholders.’ This sounds more like it to me. For my dissertation I have started to look into the application of service design in Citizens UK and their development plans. The reason is not just because of the opportunity but also because of the nature of engagement with staff and members that is needed. The service we want to develop comes with a shift in the culture within the organisation. Service design in this scenario goes far beyond the service itself.

Talking with a senior service designer this morning, and reading blogs this afternoon I learned that designers often just do a lot ‘because we are busy’ the question is: are we thinking WHY we do what we do? Why do we ask time to test what we test? Why do we use the tool we are using? In other words, shouldn’t we just learn how to deal with all the tools in our toolbox, the same way a shoe maker learns how to handle his tools? Sometimes all we learn is how to sharpen the knifes we have before we are able to make the right cut.