This is a part of the interview with Birgit Mager, President of the Service Design Network, that was recently conducted due to a very special occasion that we will be celebrating this year. Curious? Then read on…
SDN: The ‘Redefining the Meaning of Service Design’ conference takes place on 18th May, 2015. Why now?
Birgit Mager: We are celebrating the anniversary of service design at Köln International School of Design (KISD). I have been teaching and doing research on service design for 20 years. Many former students, well known service design experts and practitioners will participate in the conference. Agencies like IDEO, Designit, Innovation Unit, Fjord, Edenspiekermann, Engine, Livework and Claro Partners, as well as companies like Lufthansa, Volkswagen, Berkleys Bank, EON and Carglass will contribute to the conference. In the tradition of KISD, a student team will organise the conference experience, applying service design to this event!
The term ‘service design’ is not widely known. How would you explain it?
Service design choreographs processes, technologies and interactions within complex systems in order to co-create value for relevant stakeholders. This is the definition I use for service design, and it raises as many questions as it answers! What does choreography mean, what are complex systems, what is co-creation and who are relevant stakeholders? So, putting it simply: service design uses design processes and methodologies in order to create services that are useful, usable and desirable from the user perspective and valuable and different from the provider perspective.
Why are you enthused about service design?
It is truly humanistic, focusing on value creation for people. And it is truly participatory. Employees, users and the service design experts are collaborating in co-creation processes to create or improve services. So everyone has an input. Together, they build prototypes and test them. The energy of creation is amazing. This feeling is overwhelming, touching all participants. For me, it is a pleasure to drive these processes and to transform the co-created content into feasible concepts.