Services reimagined for brighter futures: Announcing the 2017 Student Service Design Awards winners

A service to support migrant sex workers, learning materials to assist people with autism preparing for job interviews, and a system to help those without a fixed address to access crucial services. Announced today, these are this year’s worthy winners of the first-ever Student Service Design Awards, presented by the Service Design Fringe Festival and Arts Thread.

Today, we reveal the prize-winning, highly commended, and shortlisted projects that were selected from a large number of submissions, by a panel of distinguished judges from the service design field. The awards were launched this year to help students and recent graduates kickstart their service design careers. The brief challenged entrants to demonstrate how they approach problems creatively, and show how they are capable of delivering services in the real world, outside the playgrounds of design schools.

The 2017 competition was open to students and recent graduates from around the world, and invited people from any discipline to enter. The awards’ openness allowed students to show how different disciplines can benefit from using a service design approach, revealing the fringes of the field, and the industries it could expand into in the future. This year saw students with backgrounds in interior design, fashion, and engineering, all designing end-to-end services, and meeting user needs, signifying a shift in approach as products increasingly become servitised.

The winning projects were picked out by our rigorous judging panel, Emma Gasson, Head of Product for Code America, and Fan Sissoko, a leading service designer in social innovation. The panel aimed to showcase the best student service design work, helping to bridge the gap between the study and practice of service design.

The three winners will be showing their work at this year’s Service Design Fringe Festival, giving them an opportunity to present to industry. We welcome employers to come along and meet this year’s winners, as we would love to see more junior service designers in work.

Register for free tickets to the Winners Talks.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the first Student Service Design Awards. The quality of entries across the board was incredible, leaving us very optimistic about the future of our industry.

2017 Winners

Empowering migrant sex workers by Charlotte Ladiges

Using service design to improve the success of AmiAmi, a non-profit counselling and health care service, which helps migrant sex workers and victims of sex trafficking. In redesigning both print and web content for migrant sex workers, women can more simply access information and support. The website also helps ensure their existence as a non-profit, helping AmiAmi find new ways of funding, becoming more visible and attractive to potential investors.

Emma: Beautiful, affecting and brave. This work stood out by making you immediately stop and focus on the problem. For service design, if you can describe the problem effectively, you’re halfway to solving it.

Fan: I was impressed with Charlotte’s approach because she focused on a hidden problem and produced something that will have a real impact on the organisation she partnered with. Her understanding of the challenge was thorough, anchored in real insights and beautifully communicated.

See more on Arts Thread.

EMPLOYME by Jenna Schuetzle


EMPLOYME is a new interactive learning material which aims to help those with autism successfully prepare to navigate the interview process to gain employment. It has been created with autistic individuals at the forefront but aims to be an inclusive design.

Emma: This was well developed and you could clearly see the process and critical thought that had gone into the work. It was a substantial enquiry into how to create a solution that would really work.

Fan: Jenna’s approach to user research and prototyping felt refreshing and creative. Both the challenge she was tackling and her thought process were clearly communicated. Her skills are easily transferrable from product design to service design.

See more on Arts Thread.


Modern nomads are excluded from the society. NFA (No Fixed Address) system proposes a new system with a static postcode tied to a dynamic, impermanent address, allowing modern nomads to participate in a functional society.

Emma: This blew my mind! As a subject area it has the potential to address so many layers of social needs and really tackle diversity issues. I don’t know what was happening in that video but I loved it!

Fan: I liked the speculative aspect of Chih’s project, and would be interested to learn more about the user research or prototyping informing the outcome. It’s a reminder of how a small intervention can providing a solution to a potentially big future problem. The service design industry needs this kind of brain!

See more on Arts Thread.

2017 Highly Commended

Servizz Design by Ella Walding


Servizz Design is a set of service design tools aimed to create change in the Government of Malta, which has the potential to create change in any organisation. These tools were implemented in, a one stop shop in Malta that citizens can use as a single point of contact for all public services.

Emma: This felt close to what being a service designer really feels like. Kudos for getting out there and facilitating things to actually happen.

Fan: This project is in line with the way service design in the public sector is developing: it is increasingly about building civil servants capacity to do innovation. Ella was brave to work directly with the Government of Malta and to use design to impact on their organisational strategy.

See more on Arts Thread.

The Beacon by Heather Kelly


The Beacon is a new-build project in collaboration with Dundee University Mental Health Society to co-design support services as well as a physical space on campus for students who are affected by mental health issues: particularly anxiety, stress and depression.

Emma: Really nice process being followed here and a good articulation of the subject area.

Fan: Heather’s commitment to co-design was impressive. Her approach to research felt really creative and the end result is beautifully communicated.

See more on Arts Thread.

2017 Shortlist

FACTORY NEXGEN: Design for Local Manufacturing SMEs by Szu-Ying Chen

Factory NextGen connects people outside and inside manufacturing SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to exchange abilities and facilities that can help these businesses to innovate, transform and ultimately sustain themselves.

See more on Arts Thread.

Carmunity by Jordan Ware


Carmunity is a new rural to urban commute ridesharing platform. The service combines ridesharing with pay-per-use rentals to create a new innovative method of commuting. The service utilises vehicle downtime and generates revenue for the vehicle owner, whilst providing convenient flexible mobility in both rural commuted and urban surroundings.

See more on Arts Thread.

Connect by Yan Shum

Connect aims to work with concessionary travel passes to encourage older people to travel more by giving them a purpose to travel. This service aims to overcome social isolation for older people who live independently. Connect solves the problem by allowing older people to search for activities independently and guide them every step of the journey to give them confidence to travel and attend activities.

See more on Arts Thread.

Wilde Town by Joey Wang

For aging LGBT boomers who feel discriminated against and isolated, Wilde Town is a safe and guided social networking platform that removes the mental barriers which lead to self-isolation. It highlights certified safe spaces and helps LGBT boomers expand their networks by recommending connections based on compatibility.

See more on Arts Thread.

Community Information and Planning Hub by Tom Morgan and Panagiotis Tzortzopoulos

A moveable space such as a re-appropriated fish and chip van; Moving between development sites, giving locals in the area information regarding community spaces and activities. Also offering them the chance to take part in hub planning.

See more on Arts Thread.