Jonathan Eng and Leslie Fountain

In May 2021, Service Design Network Singapore Chapter (SDNSG) launched the first wave of our inaugural mentorship programme with 12 esteemed service design experts and aspiring service designers.

My perception of mentorship has always been about someone guiding the other, like a father mentoring a child. I was wrong.

In the mentoring sessions, Leslie and I had so much to chat about from finding purpose, discovering life, coaching and what does it mean to be human in this VUCA world and the digital era.

We shared about how we can find purpose in our business. We discussed about corporate culture in today's world and noted that the boundaries between service design, business and design communications are overlapping each other.

Being parents as well, we naturally wondered if service design can play a part in our education curriculum to prepare children for the future world. We discussed how one can also develop awareness and understand divergent and convergent thinking at a young age.

The insights and perspectives shared were fantastic. Through conversation and questioning, I discovered more about what great service design is and how it can be embedded into the business world and education. On top of that, I realise it is a philosophy and not just a process.

Perhaps we should incorporate service design principles in rethinking education to allow the space for children to develop both divergent and convergent thinking capabilities.

Service design has come a long way but we need to raise more awareness to bring it to the ground level and community.

An area of concern that came up often in our discussion is about designing with ethics in the digital era especially now when digital is gaining momentum. Do we design with humans or for humans? As AI and machine learning become more capable, how then can we humans stay relevant and continue to equip ourselves with the right mindset?

Another takeaway is how can service design enable organisations to adopt a growth mindset through coaching and facilitating the process.

I am sure there are great opportunities and possibilities for the service designer. We just need to stay relevant and forge forward to create opportunities.

As a mentor, mentorship for me is about connecting, active listening, opening conversations and asking questions to help explore possibilities. Working with Jonathan, we broadened our lens on service design, on our businesses, and our lives. The flow of sharing, learning and exploring has been a 2-way street.- Leslie Fountain, Executive Director & Global Practice Lead, Foolproof

Leslie Fountain
Leslie Fountain - Executive Director & Global Practice Lead, Foolproof

Leslie’s career began in Human Factors Engineering, optimising human performance through the human-centred design of physical spaces, products and services. Leslie completed an Executive MBA at Cass Business School (UK) to become more effective at solving business problems through human-centred design. Leslie’s experience includes strategy and planning; formative and summative user research; stakeholder engagement, agile design methodologies, service design, and business development. She's particularly interested in the potential of technology to augment human capabilities, enabling society to take back control of our wellbeing, financial stability and planet.

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