We have unsatisfactory experiences when we use banks, buses, health services and insurance companies. They don’t make us feel happier or richer. Why are they not designed as well as the products we love to use such as an Apple iPod or a BMW?

The ‘developed’ world has moved beyond the industrial mindset of products and the majority of ‘products’ that we encounter are actually parts of a larger service network. These services comprise people, technology, places, time and objects that form the entire service experience. In most cases some of the touchpoints are designed, but in many situations the service as a complete ecology just “happens” and is not consciously designed at all, which is why they don’t feel like iPods or BMWs.

One of the goals of service design is to redress this imbalance and to design services that have the same appeal and experience as the products we love, whether it is buying insurance, going on holiday, filling in a tax return, or having a heart transplant. Another important aspect of service design is its potential for design innovation and intervention in the big issues facing us, such as transport, sustainability, government, finance, communications and healthcare.

Service Design is an eminently practical guide to designing services that work for people. It offers powerful insights, methods, and case studies to help you design, implement, and measure multichannel service experiences with greater impact for customers, businesses, and society.

Description from Rosenfeld Media

Review by Birgit Mager

The library for service design has been constantly growing in the last few years, and it is nice to put a new book onto the shelf: a book rooted in service design practice and informed by years of experience with a broad spectrum of clients and challenges.

Polaine, Løvlie and Reason present a refreshing mix of historical perspective, methodological overview and advice and practical examples, with the latter being the facet that makes the book most valuable. Even though some of the projects are themselves historical and the methods and visuals have been seen before by the dedicated service designer, thus far there has been no comparably comprehensive summary of real-world experiences.

“Andy, Lavrans and I felt that there was no book to use with students. We wanted it to be a book for practitioners and tell the story of where we come from,” says Ben Reason.  The book is, therefore, also the story of one of the first service design agencies. It gives amusingly straight answers to frequently asked questions, it combines the big picture of economic change with detailed ‘how to’ tips and it involves guest authors who give outside perspectives, like Chris Risdon’s on the value of journey maps and visualisation.

Knowing Livework and their recent strategic focus puts high expectation on the topic of the business value of service design, and a full chapter is dedicated to measuring this, one of the most relevant topics for service design today: “We have not found a single, perfect method that provides robust evidence for the value of service design. However, it is important to define some measurement criteria …”.  A nice overview on optional methods from other fields is given, and room for another book on this topic is left on the shelf!

Readability, content-wise, is great. Layout and typos are, however, another story…!


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