Get involved with service design communities in London and beyond

Over the last few years, the service design community has been growing ever stronger. Regular meet ups, annual conferences, and online networks have been vitally important in forming this community, creating bridges between the various organisations that practice service design.

The next service design fringe festival isn't until September, so here's a few networks that you can join in the meantime, or bookmark for the future. The service design fringe festival collaborates rather than competes with these other wonderful organisations and events.

Service Design in London

Service Lab London - run by Rupert Tebb and Jenni Parker, this meetup used to be called Service Design London. It runs monthly and always has a useful talk to hear, and ample opportunities for networking. It's a great introduction to service design if you don't understand what it's all about yet, and it's also a fantastic place for practicing service designers to catch up with each other. Follow them on Twitter.

Service Design in Government conference - if you're working with or for government, this is a practical 3-day conference every March where you can learn the value of service design in a government context, and come away with plenty of useful contacts. 

Global Service Jam - every February, the Jam runs simultaneously in 100s of locations all over the world, who communicate with each other via video link and Twitter. Everyone works to the same abstract, bizarre brief over a weekend; service design techniques are introduced by the organisers, and there are mentors on hand to help guide the teams. It's playful and fun - a great opportunity to practically try out service design techniques without the pressure of your boss looking over your shoulder. Here's the London one.

Service-design-friendly meet ups in London

The Research Thing - as the name suggests, it's for researchers! Service designers who practice design research are welcome, and people who want to learn more about user research benefit from the case study talks here. 

People Before Pixels - so called because we ought to think about impact on people, before we think about how stuff looks on screen. This is for you if you're a researcher with a passion for human-centred design. Generally the attendees of these talks are user researchers in government. Since there are many repeat attendees, this feels like a safe community to discuss the tricky bits of being a practicing user researcher. 

Tech for Good - lots of service designers are also social designers, and/or into tech. Tech for Good showcases new technology that has positive social impact, and they create opportunities to do community shout-outs at events. It runs every second month. 

Beyond London

Service Design Network - this is a global membership network of service designers and those interested in service design. Included in the price of membership is a magazine called Touchpoint. 

Service Design Global Conference - run by SDN, this 2-day annual conference runs in a different city in the world each time. This year, it will be in Madrid.

SDN UK chapter -  this is currently run by some approachable and well-respected people including Matt Edgar and Kathryn Grace. Importantly, not all of the team are London-based, which is valuable in involving people outside of the London service design scene. They're currently looking for a representative in Wales. SDN UK has a LinkedIn group here.

Service Diorama Amsterdam - a meetup to explore a particular service design tool.

Online groups

Service Design, Design thinking, Service Innovation Facebook group - described as 'A playground for all involved or interested in Design thinking (broad) and Service design (more specific). NOT about interior design or graphic design! Every member can add, react and invite. Sharing is multiplying knowledge.' It's an active, global community.

Practical Service Design is a Slack community of service design practitioners all around the world.  It's got over 2000 members and it's very active, with lots of tools shared.

Ada's List - an online network for women in tech. Lots of service design is related to technology, and Ada's List is a service-design-friendly community.


Do you have any service design meet ups, conferences, or online communities to recommend? Tweet us at @sd_ldf to share the good stuff with the festival community :)


Images all from the corresponding community's Twitter/Facebook page.