Dennis Hambeukers
Author - Dennis Hambeukers

We asked Dutch-based design consultant Dennis Hambeukers to recap his SDN's Global Conference 2016 learnings in both written and visual form.

Looking back at the Service Design Global Conference 2016, I saw how service designers are transforming the way businesses operate when it comes to innovation. We’re not only designing services, but we are helping organisations develop and deliver these services. Delivering innovative services requires organisational change, digital transformation. We are doing what business consultants were traditionally doing. But service designers are doing it in a totally different way: the designer’s way.

More and more people are recognising that designers have skills that are very useful in addressing the issues that businesses face when creating innovative and user-centred services. Service designers all over the world are translating the basic skills of designers – such as creating beauty, clarity and structure – into business project needs such as engagement, direction and project performance.

There are many ways to translate the designer’s skills into the competences that businesses need. Oliver King showed us a couple, demonstrating how design can be the engine that drives innovation. Linnea Vizard showed us how designers can help to navigate the complexity of modernday innovation projects: by making maps. These are visualisations that come before shaping solutions, exploring the hidden connections and structure of the problem and building on the structuring and visualisation talents of the designer.

In an innovation project, everything has to be designed. This also goes for the experiments that you do to test, validate and gather insights. Gordon Hui and Jamie Nicholson pointed out that designing and executing an experiment is a creative process.

The conference transmitted knowledge just like service designers do: by giving presentations, holding open discussions, facilitating workshops and a game now and then.
The conference transmitted knowledge just like service designers do: by giving presentations, holding open discussions, facilitating workshops and a game now and then.

From all the different approaches and views expressed in the presentations at the conference, I can only conclude that there is not one way to roll out service design. You have to adapt to the circumstances, test the water to see what works and have an agile mindset. In short, you have to work strategically. Cathy Huang introduced us to her ‘Wu Xing’ innovation model. She uses this holistic and systematic model to address the various forces within organisations that must be addressed in order for projects to succeed.

These are all instances where design thinking and doing are moving business away from spreadsheets, thick reports and flowcharts to ‘designerly’ ways of doing. They are moving business as usual to business as unusual, and that is becoming the new normal.


This article is part of Touchpoint Vol. 8 No. 3 - Business as Unusual. Discover the full list of articles of this issue or flip the preview to get a sneak peek at more fascinating insights on this topic! Touchpoint Vol. 8 No. 3 is available to purchase in print and PDF format. Become a SDN member, or upgrade your community membership to be able to read all articles online and download the full-issue PDF at no charge.




Related Community Knowledge

Cross-Discipline Compelling Services Need Compelling Content

Compelling Services Need Compelling Content

Relevant content is a critical element across all channels of a service. That is why a good content strategy is of crucial importance. At Informaat, service design and content strategy go hand-in-hand.

Continue reading
Meet the service designer Chapter Success Stories 2016

Chapter Success Stories 2016

This digital publication celebrates the amazing work of the SDN Chapters. Last year saw five new chapters become official, four chapter run national conferences and a variety of other unique chapter initiatives which we commend in this publication.

Continue reading
Cross-Discipline Service Design Award Winners 2016

Service Design Award Winners 2016

It was a very close race for the 2016 finalists! The jury commended 5 winners who stood out as having the most convincing outcomes, the clearest and most well developed process as well as a convincing collection of success metrics that set them apart.

Continue reading
Cross-Discipline Design Within Organisations Needs Sustained Thinking and Doing

Design Within Organisations Needs Sustained Thinking and Doing

Great service design is all about designing a service so it is useful and desirable to customers, while also making sure the service is both usable and used during and after its introduction.

Continue reading