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 Nihan Altug, a teaching assistant in design thinking at the University of St.Gallen , to give us her take.

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

The design of a service is basically the definition of experiences that are embedded into a business model. It is a way to make an experience somewhat replicable and distributable and capture them despite their ephermal character. We use the word service to emphasize that it is an intangible product which we develop for the users to meet their needs and help them getting their jobs done. We implement service design together with design thinking as a package since for us they are inseperable.

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


The greatest opportunity for us using service design is to drive cultural change and promote agile processes in a corporate environment in an organic way. The beauty of it is, that this approach is truly human centered and in this way much easier for people to understand, accept and adapt to than to other abstract and theoretical models. 

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

  1.  Start always there, where your user currently stands. Your starting point should not be current standards in the market but the current state of the people you do something for.
  2.  It helps to think more about the processes than about the things that you need for it such as interfaces or products. Since the requirements of what you need are a result of the process that you design.
  3.  You should be aware that it is ok to feel insecure about the process. It is a new mode of thinking and the experiences of the experts are not yet as widely spread as the methods and tricks in product development, which makes it much harder to compare your work to some sort of state of the art. Also, people still have to get used to losing grip in the haptic dimension in order to step foot into the digital world. It is scary to let go of the known in order to enter a whole new epoch of practice. 

Nihan is a teaching assistant in Design Thinking at the University of St.Gallen where she also works as a Design Thinking Coach for corporate partners. As a trained industrial & strategic designer Nihan holds a M.Sc. degree in Strategic Product Design with highest distinction from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. 

Read Nihan Altug 's full biography here.

And find out more about her SDGC16 talk "From Dinosaur Suits to Digital Dolphins"  here.

Related Community Knowledge

Meet the service designer Patti Hunt:  Meet the service designer

Patti Hunt: Meet the service designer

Patti Hunt is the founder and director of MAKE Studios, a service innovation company based in Hong Kong. For this edition of the Touchpoint Profile, she had a chat with Jesse Grimes, the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, about her work with multi-national corporations, NGOs and start-ups in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the unique challenges posed by practicing service design in Hong Kong.

Continue reading
Meet the service designer Eleonora Carnasa: Meet the service designer

Eleonora Carnasa: Meet the service designer

Eleonora Carnasa is a Bulgaria-based service designer and founder of Fabrica 360, a design and innovation agency. In this profile, she had a chat with Jesse Grimes, Touchpoint’s Editor-in-Chief, about her efforts to grow service design in Eastern Europe.

Continue reading
Meet the service designer Luis Alt: Meet the service designer

Luis Alt: Meet the service designer

Established in 2010, Livework’s São Paulo outpost is a service design pioneer in one of the world’s top-ten largest economies - Brazil. Since then, the team has worked with an enviable roster of clients, but also experienced the challenges of carrying out service design before it became widely recognised. In this edition of the Touchpoint Profile, Editor-in-Chief Jesse Grimes speaks to Luis Alt, one of the studio’s founders.

Continue reading
Meet the service designer Meet the service designer: Anna-Sophie Oertzen

Meet the service designer: Anna-Sophie Oertzen

Anna-Sophie Oertzen is a PhD Candidate exploring how co-creation with different actors may be used to design and deliver profitable, user-centric services. For that, Anna-Sophie uses her business background specialised in marketing, strategy and innovation, her experience in conducting user research, and her practical service design knowledge.

Continue reading