As Service Design we think we have an important mission to fulfill on earth. When we organize an event or build a new service we sometimes get super detailed. Sometimes we are too detailed and loose ourselves in the work. I discussed this with Ines, from the Service Design Network team. She's a woman that does a lot of hard work and has an incredible amount of commitment. Still, she told me:
I’m not curing HIV, I’m organizing a conference
This was something curious for me at first. How can a commited service designer like Ines, who works like hell to make things happen, say that? How a Service Designer could say that about her job? The more we discussed it, and the more I think about it, the more I see the truth that is in this sentence. We are deeply involved in our work. But we sometimes forget to have humility. We forget that the thing that we are designing for others is just a tiny part of their life. We should feel more humble about the things we create. Ines is an extraordinary woman. With a small team of colleagues, they run an international conference. And not a small one. One with hundreds of attendees and some well-known speakers. But still, after such an exploit, they have the humility to say that it’s not that different from «organizing an event».
Work can wait
This quote by Ines reminds me of an article by Jason Fried about the « Work can wait » feature in the new Basecamp app. The guys at basecamp are humble. They have enough humility to know that their product isn’t the center of their user's lives. They understand it so well that they even built a feature to let people enjoy other things than their product!
I think that if we put more humility in our services and products we can bring more value to our users when it’s needed. And if we are humble enough, we can fade out in a nice way when they don’t need us. So remember it. You are not curing HIV, your work is still important but at the end of the day, you are organizing a cool and nice event.
About this article
This article is part of a series celebrating the next Service Design Conference. The conference will take place in Amsterdam on the 27th and 28th October. Want to continue the conversation? Join me in the comments below and explain how you used humility as a Service Design tool. Or leave me a message on Twitter so that we can meet at the conference in Amsterdam.