Why a Service Design Network Chapter in Boston

The Boston Metro, New England, and Northeast region is one of the most active innovation ecosystems in the world and, as such, brings a rich and diverse design ecosystem with it. Home to many large corporations, one of the largest clusters of universities, many research institutions, and arguably the leading geography for biotech, Boston is full of wicked smart people working on hard problems.


Agencies, consultancies and in-house departments combine a broad array of design, engineering, and marketing talent to support the needs of this diverse ecosystem. Despite the rich community and active economy, service design is still a somewhat nascent field. Many practitioners are within the organizational structure of other design disciplines, but they are practicing nonetheless.


With the awareness of the value of service design growing we believe it is a good time to bring Boston-area (and beyond) service designers and service providers together, as we said above, to discover, discuss, and disseminate the value, practice, and effectiveness of service design.


Looking Ahead

Below are our plans. Get in touch. Help us succeed!

Check back as we plan our kick-off event, set to take place in late September.


First, we would like to…

Identify a group of local collaborators to help actively assist in development of programming and networking, and build a regular cadence for in-person member meetings, content shares, and national/international network participation.


If all goes well we expect…

Active, regular participation from a core group of members including event hosting and

content development from a broad range of organizations, and participation nationally and internationally including at conferences, within Touchpoint, for awards, and in tools/processes/best practices. A happy outcome would be to build and promote a talent pool of skilled service designers within New England that is of interest to employers on a broader stage. We would also like to encourage partnerships with professors and their academic affiliates to create curriculum and attract the student talent that drives the profession forward.

Jon Campbell
Jon Campbell - Head of Experience Design & Service Design, EPAM Continuum

Leads the global service design business at a large innovation design consultancy & teaches service design in MassArt’s MDES, Innovation program. Having been involved in some capacity with Continuum’s participation with the Service Design Network since 2009, I find the organization to be a wonderful community that is defining the practice and advocating for the value it provides in improving people’s lives and driving organizational impact. The innovative and growing New England ecosystem is perfect for a new chapter as it continues to be a leading area in the US for healthcare, financial services, retail, education, and progressive civic initiatives. I’m excited for the opportunity to help bring service design to the Boston area in a more deliberate way that will help create more awareness and application within such a diverse community.

Ben Little
Ben Little - VP, Design Strategy, Hill Holliday

Building service design capability within a creative agency & teaches service design in MassArt’s MDES, Innovation program. I would like to establish service design more strongly as a concept among the companies I work with. We have a sometimes damaging tendency to follow design research & strategy immediately with touchpoint design, which reduces from strategy to tactics in a brutal and often overly-reductive way. Where “Experience Design” is often the banner by which we gain permission to engage with different businesses, it has a tendency to be a euphemism for digital, store design, or product design. The most successful companies I’ve worked with, however, treat all of those things within a broader system that includes their comms and brand among the mix. While I am not looking for service design to offer a means of taking position upstream from those other distinct and mature design disciplines, I do believe it offers a means of holding onto the complex systems we work within and, as such, has something to offer the strategy and business community, in particular.

Brian Gillespie
Brian Gillespie - Independent Design Consultant

The Service Design Network has long been a source of inspiration for my work. The community has an infectious intelligence and enthusiasm that actively seeks to push the boundaries on how contemporary design can continue to grow its influence and impact. I joined the SDN Management Board in 2017. Having a Boston Chapter of the SDN will allow us to achieve one aspect of the SDN mission… “to connect (you) with like-minded passionate service designers from companies, agencies and universities, and with curious innovators who embrace and apply this approach for the better of their organizations and for people.” It allows us to spread the message on the value of service design in New England and as Birgit Mager likes to say… to make service design the new normal, a clearly valued peer among its more established design specialisms. And about me… I’m currently “an independent consultant specializing in the design and innovation of business. I help my clients and partners manage the diverse activities associated with driving business success by design. With a background in UX, CX and Service Design I focus on researching, designing and managing for integrated multi-touchpoint digital and physical customer experience ecosystems.”