5 essential strategies for design thinkers in organisations - A Festival Story by Ben Heller.

Following the biggest Service Design Fringe Festival to date, we're sharing the highlights of our talks and workshops with the global community, so everybody can join in discussions around our industry. Continuing in a series of short stories, Ben Heller, a senior consultant at EY, writes his top five tips for bringing design thinking into organisations, complete with some amusing memes courtesy of UX Reactions.

Hello service design enthusiasts! Ben Heller here, reporting back on the Service Design Fringe Festival panel discussion “Bringing Design Thinking into Organisations”.

Emma Gasson, Megha Wadhawan, Jason Grant and Lisa O'Brien were our brilliant panellists. Their wide-ranging experiences provided some insightful lessons learnt. Reflecting on the high and low points of their careers thus far in service design, the panellists all helped paint a picture of what it takes to think like a service designer, even when no one around you does.

Their advice was too precious to be boiled down to a short list, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying! Here are some thoughts and actions we can all take to the studio with us for our next service design project:

Get sponsorship from the top: This isn’t always possible, but where you can, get some senior stakeholders on your side. Provide them with insight, make them look good at a meeting, be friendly and be a bit lucky and you’ll have some senior support on your side, which will make your job that much easier.

Speak your client’s language: Thinking like a service designer doesn’t necessarily mean speaking like one. When you bring service design thinking into an organisation, remember to speak the language of your stakeholders. If words like ‘design’, ‘prototype’ and ‘user centricity’ are scary for the people around you, find a way to articulate the same ideas in more accessible words.

Be visible: It can be tempting to sit in a quiet room and build your solution in isolation, waiting until it is absolutely finished to show it to your clients. Resist this urge! Mock something up, get it out the door and try it – it’s the only way to be sure your ideas work in practice. By working near your stakeholders and showing them you are friendly and accessible, you also make the likelihood of them opening up to you that much higher. Don't be like these guys below!

Avoid thinking you have all the answers: Service design is not a silver bullet, so don’t pretend you have all the answers. The people around you may have some great ideas too. Collaborate, ask questions, take people on the journey – you never know what you will learn.

Don’t be discouraged: Good work takes time, and not everyone will be on board at first. Be patient with yourself and others. You’ll get there eventually.

Thanks very much for reading one of the festival stories!

With love,

The Service Design Fringe Festival Team