SDN Team
Author - SDN Team

We asked leading practitioners giving talks and workshops at the Service Design Global Conference to answer the 3 key questions. Today we asked Michele Ide-Smith, a lead design and product manager at Sigma, to give us her take.

1) Can you explain what service design is? And how your company implements it / uses that field?

These days, many of services that we benefit from - for example commercial, governmental, or those concerned with the provision of healthcare - are in fact systems of connected information and interactions. Perhaps as users or consumers, we don’t always perceive that system. As designers, though, there’s an opportunity for us to consciously consider people’s requirements of a service, and their experience of using it, in a holistic way, across a range of scales and touchpoints. That’s service design for me.

Along with my colleagues at Sigma, I’m interested in trying to design the connections between the touchpoints, as well as the touchpoints themselves. I am intrigued by the concept of service design and “customer experience” being synonymous in some circumstances. I am probably most motivated by considering service design challenges within healthcare and life sciences, and that’s where much of the work of our Cambridge office is focused.

2) What do you believe is the greatest opportunity for your company using service design?

I think for Sigma, the greatest opportunity in using a service design approach (where it’s appropriate) is that we can affect a wider system, and hopefully have even more of a positive impact. That’s good for our clients but most importantly, it’s good for the people who use the service.

3) Can you share three tips for implementing service design in their own practice?

Based on my experience, I’d suggest

i) you don’t necessarily need to take on and use a new lexicon, with service design. For people outside the field, it can just seem like more jargon to contend with. Continue to talk to clients and collaborators about the outcomes and the benefits, and you’ll find it easier to implement what is, in fact, service design… just without calling it that!

ii) be ready to switch between “lenses” in your practice, zooming in and out (details / big picture), and adapting your approach as required;

iii) keep learning - personally, I’ve found that learning more about, for example, architecture and systems thinking has influenced and benefitted my own practice. As well as reading, directly interacting with other communities of interest can really help how you think about services, and design in general.

Figure image

Michele loves solving complex problems, from re-designing government services to creating productivity tools for software development teams. She is currently leading the design and product management of Europe PMC, a tool that allows research scientists to find and explore life sciences and biomedical literature.

 

Read  Michele's full biography here. 

And find out more about her SDGC16 talk How to sabotage an organisation here.

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