The Craft of Service Design Write Up | A Festival Story by Sam Richards


Sam Richards is a programme development officer and illustrator based in London. She attended and helped out at three workshops at this year’s Service Design Fringe Festival. Here, she shares her thoughts on the The Craft of Service Design, held on 21 September and run by LCC.

The Craft of Service Design, 21 September 2017, UAL: London College of Communication

To kick off the session we heard from Dr Geke Van Dik, co-founder and strategy director of STBY.

Geke’s organisation has successfully created a global network of service designers who work to fully localise and tailor their fieldwork, research and analysis.

In the session Geke shared some of her top tips, the first of which is to “always be clear about your lines of enquiry as these are what will drive your research”. She left us with some practical advice about what to do after gathering user insights:

  • map out service users’ current journeys

  • ask how it could be done differently  

  • and then ask how feasible this is.


Next, Fracesco Mazzarella took to the stage and hit us with his energy!

With a rich and varied background in service design, Francesco walked us through his career journey and shared some insights from his work across the globe.

“We are going through an environmental crisis… Service design helps to future-proof the diverse needs of local communities and activate routes for communities to have more sustainable futures”.

On his service design methodology, Francesco advised:

  1. Start with a challenge or opportunity

  2. Apply design direction to it

  3. Use your design tools (such as stakeholder mapping and user journey storyboarding) to create a manifesto and action plan for change.

  4. “Remember to pilot before you go live, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse!”

Next up we heard from Anish Joshi, head of design at Deloitte Digital Strategy. He had a big impact on me with his calm and thoughtful delivery of how important it is for designers to be more “business minded”.

He talked about how design is about adding value, and how we need to translate our work to make change achievable and deliverable for strategists.

“Craft for business as well as people”.

The takeaway from Anish’s talk? All of our powerful work, as service designers, could effectively sit on a shelf if we don’t bridge the gap between creativity and business thinking.


Lastly we heard from Alison Prendiville, a reader in designing for service at UAL.

Alison got everyone on their feet and opened up the discussion of how do we, as service designers, articulate what we’ve achieved?

She explained how organisational cultures affect the implementation of services and how we can use our skills to shift colleagues thinking to be more user focused.

To help illustrate the point Alison shared an example from her work with Camden Council, where intensive internal co-design sessions between different departments, contributed to a major cultural change in the organisation – ‘Oh! Things can be done differently!’

To finish up, Alison shared two top tips:

1) Plan what you want to change at the start of your project (this can change and that is okay).

2) Capture all of your outputs from meetings/workshops as your evidence!