Creating a strong community and expanding horizons together

If 75% of Portugal's economy is a service-based economy. How might we deliver better services in this country?

That’s how the morning of January 22nd has started: with reflection and inspiration about the role of service design in Portugal. It was the launch day of the Service Design Network (SDN) Portugal's chapter, at Mouraria Innovation Hub, in Lisbon. Around 60 people showed up, a multitude of people from different backgrounds and experiences: from designers, managers, innovation experts, consultants, researchers, and academics.

After two co-creation sessions with the community that happened in December (and I was in the one of Oporto), it was the first official event of the year which officially launched the Portuguese chapter of SDN. Carlos Moreira was the event host, during his presentation, he walked us through the goals and the 3 pillars of this chapter: Community, Business and Knowledge.

As the main ambition of SDN is to make Portugal a reference in Service Design, it was a morning to get inspired from Portuguese cases and debate the challenges to be tackled  - from the public to private sector.  

Bruno Figueiredo, user experience director of Xperienz, kicked off the session and presented a case in the construction sector - understanding the full customer journey, pain points and solutions they found to improve the whole life cycle of developing and maintaining a construction site.  

He was followed by Filipa Costa, from LabX - the Portuguese public administration experimentation lab  - presented a view from the public sector where their main goals are to rethink public services from the citizen's point of view. She showed us different cases they have worked on - from understanding and improving the customer journey of "Loja do Cidadão" (the Portuguese one-stop citizen shop) to co-create a game to enable citizenship awareness and practices in kids and teenagers at schools.

To close the morning, Sofia Peres led a discussion panel with three guests: Bruno Figueiredo, Filipa Costa, and Miguel Rodrigues Amaral, Customer Experience Manager at NOS (one of the biggest communications and entertainment group in Portugal). The panel was opened by Miguel, he brought the perspective of a big company that aims to change its mindset and culture through service design and human-centered approach. The challenge is how to scale the skills and capacity of a team of 2 or 3 people, to create an engaging movement within a company with more than 1.500 employees. Their goal is to demonstrate that they have way more to offer than being just a "post-it team". They want to show that a human-centered approach can increase customers satisfaction and consequently improve business results.

Regardless of the context, the type of service, the team or company's size, a similar challenge came across: to service design approach is not only as an important goal in terms of delivering better purpose, but is an essential process to bring higher efficiency, hence value, to every kind of business. In the end, everybody wants to be involved and have a say on how to offer a better service, right?

And at the end of that morning, I felt that we are really on the right path: creating a strong community and expanding horizons together.

Hope 2019 we can have more initiatives of SDN and, together, create better services around Portugal.  

Special thanks to the founding members of Portuguese chapter of SDN's, Carlos Moreira, Daniel Santos, Laura Lorenzo, Kasper van der Knaap, Mauro Bastos, Sofia Peres and Susana Branco who are all volunteers and working hard to build a service design momentum locally (and, also by waiving off their Saturday mornings to have their weekly meeting)!* 

"It's a privilege to me and Zooma Inc. to be part of this movement and to see this community growing in Portugal. Let's do it together!" -  Helena Dias - project manager and strategist at Zooma.inc

* Check the Welcome Kit the team has created for this event. This small booklet intents to help new members navigate into the community and to share our values and believes.

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