Diversity and Inclusion in 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 Diversity and Inclusion in Service Design event on 17 September.

Diversity and Inclusion in Service Design, 17 September, Julian Thompson and Chris French

Julian led a thought provoking workshop on the first Sunday afternoon of the festival with a discussion about diversity and inclusion in the service design industry.

The group began the session by discussing what diversity means to them and exploring the difference between diversity and inclusion. We discussed culture, background and values. We also shared our thoughts and experiences of diversity (or a lack thereof) in the workplace and why we think diversity matters in service design.

There was a lot of food for thought in this session but, in brief, here’s what I learnt:


If you bring a diverse group of individuals together but are not inclusive, you aren’t achieving anything. All members of a co-design group or workshop need to feel valued and listened to in order to feel comfortable enough to throw their ideas and experiences into the pot. There’s no point having a diverse group of people in the room if you only listen to one of them.

Some of the big issues we are facing today - not only in the service design industry but in wider society - such as gender bias, racism, sexuality and disability discrimination, are not new issues and whilst some progress has been made, these issues are still ongoing.

It’s therefore crucial that we keep challenging the ‘norm’.

We need to keep challenging our peers and ensure that, together, we are delivering services to people that are less advantaged and seldom heard.

Diversity and inclusion is the acceptance of everyone, their experiences, lifestyle, appearance, gender, sexuality and views. And good services should be as diverse and inclusive as everyone who uses them or, directly or indirectly, comes into contact with them.