"Can you name a crappy service that you came across in your life?"

That's how we started the second session of SDN in Portugal, this time in Porto. Hospitals, supermarkets, public services, you name it! Many dissatisfied answers flew up in the air and people seemed restless and motivated to change this scenario. What was the outcome? A provoking and full-power co-creation session with 30 new community members.

 Gabriela, this post author (on the left), and Chloë (on the right) getting to know each other --
Gabriela, this post author (on the left), and Chloë (on the right) getting to know each other —

With a full house, every person had a different perception and understanding of what is Service Design, what challenges and constraints come along with it. With the urge of demystifying Service Design into three main pillars – Business, Community and Knowledge -, we took advantage of people’s distinct background and experiences to map out their knowledge and assumptions.

  1. How to bring awareness and value towards Service Design? 
  2. How to establish a common set of understanding for the community?
  3. And how can Service Design have an impact in the business world were some of the questions raised during the session?


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Having the three pillars in mind, the community ideated of what could be some of the first steps to be taken by the local SDN chapter

Having the three pillars in mind, the community ideated of what could be some of the first steps to be taken by the local SDN chapter:

In Knowledge, the creation of an open source platform to share case studies. Furthermore, the urge to translate Service Design into an understandable language for anyone and any company was clearly pointed out.

In Community, having a board of mentors and specialized training for the community was widely mentioned as a big must. Silos vs. Collaboration was also an important issue to address. Based on the member’s own experience, they see themselves having better performances in collaborative and team-oriented setups.

In Business, considering Service Design as the process of designing user interactions – frontstage – and optimizing the chain of processes in the supplier side – backstage -, is quite intricate, filled with complexity and intangibilities. Therefore, the traditional business KPI’s might fail to measure its real impact. People mentioned the key importance of measuring Service Design impact in order to demonstrate its value.

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Service Design (...) can be used as a springboard to a wider scope where knowledge, community and business problems and needs are understood and, ultimately, solved.

After an overwhelming experience of co-creation to empower the community and its members, the contagious atmosphere to value, improve and push Service Design was felt. Understanding how to turn Service Design into a meaningful and relevant tool was a goal achieved by and for the community. We are left with a motto that summarizes SDN’s mindset:

Although Service Design is simply the design of good services, it can be used as a springboard to a wider scope where knowledge, community and business problems and needs are understood and, ultimately, solved.


Porto, December, 2018
Gabriela Anjos ,  SDN Portugal pioneer community member


Check some glimpses of the event here.

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