How the Swiss culture and Service Design blend together

We are excited to share the recording of the talk about the history of Service Design in Switzerland.

Rewatch the full webinar or watch selected clips below.
Automated transcript of the webinar

This text is an automated machine transcript of the webinar. 

 What's the history of service design in Switzerland?

And the short answer is, is it's a deeply cultural, it's a very at a deep. But first, this is a very shitty first draft. When I do this kind of stuff, the value is that it gets other people say, I disagree with that, or, oh, I have so many more informations to share than what you have written.

And that really then helps to go to the next prototype. And that's really the goal with this one, as I did with the book A Tiny History of Service Design. You know, so many people commented with, oh, you forgot this one, which is so important. And that's exactly what's what we want here. So we're just buttoning it here outside so that people have no, a lot more knowledge, but usually don't speak, have now an opportunity to comment and speak as we, the goal that we have here.

The other thing is I've got that history. I'm just someone who. Really love service design and is quite good at Googling. That's basically the two skills I have. So take everything here with a grain of salt. And a few of the elements that I will present today are from this book, A Tiny History of Service Design that I published a few years ago.

You find it online in a readable format in a, in a blog post, but you can also get it four. And the goal now is for this tool is to speak bit about the. A little bit about a present and the co the future will be more for the, the conversation bit that will be out of this recording. The one important I might be more excited about is the, the conversation bit, obviously, but I think we usually need a bit of content to inspire the convers.

So let's jump right into it with the past. Let's start with a bit of a, some key Swiss history dates that shaped the service culture. So Switzerland has a bit of a specific way of handling You know, different cultures. It's a bit of a weird country and I think this weirdness really can inspire service designers in Switzerland, but also service design side of Switzerland.

And it shows also I think why there are some specific elements in the, in the Swiss service culture with that, like for in the topic of co-creation, which are maybe more advancing than other countries. But let's jump right into it. The first day I will share here is 10,000 before Christ, which is a very, very, very, very, very, very long time ago.

And that's where historians said we have agriculture coming specialization. and you know, that's the moment where you have the first service. You know, where now I can say, okay guys I'm really good at planting stuff but I but now I need someone to help me on that. And this person then provides a service with you, but also the first judges is, is one which is very, very funny.

Which, Priests priests because of IBU culture. Now you have people who can't focus all their, their attention on praying for good weather, you know? This is purely a service because they don't provide any tangible value. You know, they don't give you a carrot, they don't give you a dead animal to eat, but they give you something which is intangible, but that still creates a lot of value for you because you feel safer.

You feel listened. No, all the stuff that we speak about in service. So, you know, pre might be some of the first service designer or service. In history and with this date of 10,000 before Christ, around there we have the separations of tasks that allows to have these first services. When I talk, when I speak to my wife, who is a pastor and I tell her that priests are the first service Design she loves at me, but I think that's true.

Ben, we go further. And that's the moment where we are most more specific about Switzerland, 9,000 before Christ. That's the first moment where we see that there might be some humans in Switzerland. Switzerland, very harsh breaks, you know, with the mountains and all the glaciers and all of that stuff.

So we had the first crazy people who said, we want to come there and, you know, you don't have any services without children. So this is a very important date for us. As service design was working or interested in working in Switzerland, And then we have a first image that comes a year for some who have been in history class in Switzerland that might remind you something, which is something called Landesgeminde.

So now we have a term in, in German but basically what is Landesgeminde? It's a public non-sec ballot voting system operated by major basically. It's a bit of. It's the community. Say, Hey, we have to vote on very important stuff. Let's bring everybody together in the circle. And let's say, okay, who wants to say that this person is great?

Oh, yes, I agree. Okay, cool. And then if you have a majority, then this, everybody agree that this person is awesome, you know, and that's to 12,000. 12 1231. So it's, it's quite, quite old. And this shows that this first notions, you know, of co-creation, this first notions of having people involved in how things are run is something that is quite old, are in Switzerland.

Another image. So here we are, very proud guys. And what do these proud guys do? This is 1291, the founding of Switzerland. At least that's kind of the mythical date that we use in the history books. And there is one thing that for me is interesting. At least in French we say it like that, which is that Switzerland is, is a state of will.

It's a state of people that were. That have decided to be together. But still are very different and agree to that, which is something quite interesting. Many other states, it's more like a kid who comes and says, okay, now we all, all together. And if you are not if you don't agree we are gonna kill you.

And we are gonna force the language. We're gonna force rules. And here's very different here. It's. Different regions that say we will be stronger together, but still we want to keep somewhere that ends. And I think that's something that is very special and that we find, again in this notion of service design, when we say, Hey, we have different people making a service, stakeholders, partners, but we don't believe that there is one party that rules over everyone that's.

That all of these pieces brought together are stronger but still have individualities. I think that's, again, something which is quite inspiring to see that we have this notion of state of will. So imagine what is a service where people are brought together and say, we are a service of will and not a served a forest service.

That one that we want to be together and we see value in.

You see here people dancing. What are they dancing about? This was 18, 15 where Switzerland. I'm not sure about all these days, but I, from, from what I understood, was kind of forced into neutrality. Just because Switzerland was very good at war I had very good soldiers and that's the moment where Switzerland agreed at least or decided to go into a more neutral position with wars.

And to me Why is that interesting? Because in service design, a lot of the time the service designer is a bit of a facility. Try to make things work and, and not be like the one, say it's like that, or you are wrong. It's more having a mutual position, trying to bring everybody together and giving a voice to everyone.

And so again, here we see that this topic of neutrality for us as Swiss people might be. Not so old. If we look at them, yes, it's not that old, compared to the history of Switzerland. But still it's something that is very ingrained in our culture. Fancy hotels, fancy stuff. Now, how, well, what do we mean with that?

That's a date which is 1858. That's the start of mass tourism in Switzerland. You might google this stuff with the tu, which is the tour of Europe as people did, and people also came in Switzerland, that then you have this tour where, where there is a Palace that you take and all this paths you have and hotels coming out of the services and new offerings for the tourists.

And why is tourism so important in for service design in Switzerland? It's because it's one of the most important areas in terms of job offerings. But also in terms of education. You see a lot of education, service design is performed by schools and universities that are. Focused on tourism. And so I think there is something quite interesting here where we see that in Switzerland, service design is pushed, educated by this tourist touristic industry, the hospitality industry, where in other countries it might be more the banks the beach or, or, or the public services.

Here it's more tourism, which. Say something quite interesting about the notion of hospitality that we have at least that we hope we have existed.

Another image, okay, what does this? Woman said, basically she shows us something interesting, which is the introduction of the restaurant. So 1874 in Switzerland. Now you have a new tool that allows the public. To get even closer in deciding stuff. So what is a referendum? It's a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.

So basically it's Something that we say, Hey, do we want more worlds in Switzerland? Yes. Oh no, people vote and the mad wins and we go with that decision. So here we have this very direct way of interacting with big decisions that change the lives of people. But how does that relate to services like me might ask?

This is an example. Very, very practical, but very fun. From Migros. Migros is one of the biggest Shopping centers in Switzerland in the last month they put to, to vote to the, all the members of the, the middle. And everyone, everyone can be a member. So my wife for example, she's a, a member cuz it's a very common thing because you, you know, you've got some discounts and, and some obviously stuff like that.

But you also get a vote. And this, shop is one where for years they never sold. And they made a rotation, which was, do, do we now change? Do we now offer alcohol in our shops? Yes. Or all. And then the public voted and decided if it was yes or no, and they made two beers. The yes beer, which had alcohol and the no beer, which had no alcohol.

And based on the results and the rotation they have then. Put into production the right beer, which now we have a no rear in Switzerland, which is promised by legal based on this refer referendum by made by a company. So this is quite interesting, a company not giving just to the shareholders, the, you know, the classical shareholders, the big guides, something to vote, but also the vein.

Normal people will shop in the in the business and can decide something as meaningful as said. Do we have alcohol in our shop or not? Which is something quite you know, it says something about the business, these current decisions. Then 1891 we have the introduction of popular initiatives. So here it's something where, People can bring something to the vote.

So where people say, Hey, this is important to us, and now we want everyone to vote at that. There are actually technic technicalities, obviously. We need to have enough people who are interested in the topic to make all the 8 million people vote for it. That's kind of like the, the logical stuff. But it's now again, another tool that pushes the co-created part of the Swiss politics.

And again, it's itself used by companies. I'm going again with Migros because it's kind of a funny example to use it quite well. Well, in Switzerland they have something which is called Migipedia. They have it's kind of larger crowdsourcing platform. And there you capture your ideas, you can share your ideas for new products, for improvements, and you know, There are really products that came out in the shops because of this initiative.

And so it's quite interesting to see that something that dates backs to 1891 is used also today by businesses to make their businesses more co-creative. So now we looked at that.

Yeah. Following that, just to tell you that voting is national sport in Switzerland and just to compliment all the facts and you are providing that are very interest. Is that we say that on the planet on average each year, you, we've got 180 popular votes. Okay. And we've got 90 popular votes that are Swiss votes just to show that it's a national sports following that initiative.

Thank you so much for sharing that. I think this really shows how big the, the co-creative side of Switzerland is. Definitely. And on a worldwide scale, definitely. Let me bring you back at a smaller scale and this one at a bigger scale. Okay, so we are wrap. Wonderful. Now let's go. Outside of the history books and more in stuff that is related to the, hmm, a bit nearer to service design. Let's say it like that. This is an image that Manuel who just spoke before might law. Exactly. He's smiling already.

And why is that? You might know the, the Ritz Carlton hotels very famous for their hospitality and their very customer-centric approach, and César Ritz said around 1818 this sentence: The client is never wrong, which then was reused in an opposite way, which was the current, the client is always right.

And I think this again shows that not only, it's something very political, the deeper co-creative side of Switzerland, but it's also something that has then very very rich scene in the in the touristic industry.

That's an expression we are using in every part of the world, but maybe you, sometimes you, you hear the client is king. Okay, the king. And it was coming for the first time by Cesar.

You know, let's make all the technology that we have today look a bit fun. 1965 you see that I'm a big fan of Migros and we have a lot of stuff about Migros here.

The Migros guys, they have the first sales checkouts in. Imagine that today a few years ago you had Amazon making big headlines because there were the shop where people could enter and shop by themselves, and everybody thought, oh, this is so amazing, this is so innovative. But you had already the, in the sixties, people working on that.

Interestingly, they did it for, I think four years, and they, they stopped. I don't feel the reasons for that, for that stuff, but it seemed to not work at that moment. Maybe the technology wasn't right or the, the ways and the culture wasn't worked, but we see that all again. Stuff that we take for granted or rem invaded today can always by a date back to earlier times, which can also inspire us.

And this is the moment. Where I have to say that I love someone someone else, and my wife which is, maybe you notice that person. This is Lynn Shostack and this is someone who I find extremely interesting because she is someone who is not that much on the stage, but she's someone who made a lot for service design because in 1982 Lin Shostack inverted the term service.

Or she was the one that brought it really to be something that was known and interesting here is. This notion of services then came from the, the world of marketing. And that again is something interesting. You know, when we say, oh, services, we think often of insurance and or tourists. And then here we have it from a completely honored perspective which is marketing.

And she wasn't executive in the banking industry, by the way. She just put out a book, a memoir about her lives. Which is she, you don't find a lot about about her. But now she put out the memoir and you can find a lovely video on YouTube, I think, from her husband who comments the memoir. And I think that's it's, it gives you a very interesting piece a very interesting pieces of knowledge because you see how.

She not only brought service design to like, but also made not a lot of odd data, which are very inspiring and how she felt as a woman in this kind of high stages back in the eighties. So deeply inspired, inspiring person and I think we owe her a lot. I often call her the mom of service design and the second mom by being the founder of the service design network because we always need two.

And that's brings us to the Survey Design Network, which is this big community of people wanting to bring service design further. And this was created in two, 2004? No. Oh, that's, Now we, we, we are very, very much in the, in today's dates. It was created back then by the K International School of Design, the University, the, I have no idea how to pronounce it.

Link University and the Political Villano and Academy. Some indeed are. University that brought it together as a service design network, which is quite well known today, which is present in the out of countries and which is in, at the country level really make by volunteers. And I think this is also something that is deeply inspiring.

I see a lot of bravos and the, and lot of logs coming out, which is always nice. And then 2014, that's the first trace I was able to find often of someone handing the titled service design, service designer in their job in their world description. So this is kind. The first one that I found, but I'm sure there, there might be before, and I'm quite excited to have comments from people telling me, oh, but I have been a service designer already, 2002 in Switzerland.

But we always need to put a date out there so that people can then say it's, it's wrong. So take this one with a grain of salt, but at least it's, you're gonna help with a conversation. Another image comes out here in office. Sticky notes. What's, what's that office we see here? Very urban. This is in Civic where Fjord in 2016 opens a studio in Switzerland.

So furor is one. Was because they changed it name now and now they're called Accenture Song. I think Whil back then one of the leading service design studios worldwide. And why is this important? Not because it's just a consultant. But because it's one of the big consultancies coming to Switzerland and offered certain design as their main offering, and that's, that's quite that's quite important.

There were smaller consultancies that existed before one man shows or five to 10 people consultancies. But this is really the first big one and the first one of this size that was only focused or mainly focused on service. And again, the change name today, they are called Accenture Song and it's kind of emerge of main different if is studios 2018.

It's, I I have not read the, the, the definite year for back word. Let's. What's always so funny is the Swiss chapter took him a bit of time to get out. From what I could find, 2018 is one of the dates that is efficient, but I, I saw also on the dates, I'm still figuring this out, but Aral that isn't 18.

Swiss chapter of the services That network came out and we're very grateful for all the people that made all the efforts to create this because it's a huge effort to bring people together to motivate people to to do this. And also it's all volunteer work, which is something which I always say again people do that on their spare of time.

And I think it's quite important that we acknowledge also all the work that was done previously. Image. We see mountains, but still very urban. And this is around luer. We have in 2020, the first 30 design master program at the or how the street I back there called Hak. So now you have the, the keyword you know, that sounds very, very, very, very German.

But PE. Honestly, it was taught there before and it was really part of the, of the master design program. But since 2020, it's kind of a standalone program, if you can say it like that. And maybe it's more prominently shown on the dilo, on the diploma. I think quite interesting because it shows that once you have a master's degree I think that's, that, that, that, that gives you also a bit of an idea.

And I'm using the voice of our lovely man if he's here because he is part of the people who are bringing service design, inter education. And maybe you have a few other dates to share, for example. What you guys do in ins. I think that's, that, that will be quite interesting. Maybe you have a few historic events to share with us.

Yeah, we, we've tried to, to develop several events related to service design. Just to make a, a little bit of advertisement for school in, in, in Sierra, in the mal is that or approach for the prototyping phase is really based on, on theater reenactment. So all the events we are doing in Sierra, in the, in the mal center and I really invite you to coma also people from UK.

Is that we do that in the theater, and the idea is, is that we can make visible, invisible through the theater reenactment. And I think Daniel, there, there will be an event in September and about this report and talking about Swiss. We'd like to, to create an international event next year about young and promising service designer around the world.

Exactly. And you answer Johanna's question. Yes. It's a public school, so it's. Much cheaper than, than what's usually the case. But the level is very, very, very, very good. And if you want to get a bit of a trailer of the approach, again, it will be an event around September which we can join and where manual will.

Person meeting the event and sharing a bit of a few examples of how they knew that plus Cher is the most sunny place of Switzerland Official. I lived there for 10 years. Yeah. In, in, in, in Europe. Ju just just a tease around, we said that niece. In the south of France, in the most, in the Sun Place in Europe.

And we say that Sierra, where I am in the second place. So I don't know if it's been if it's marketing or if it's really based on science, but I like the idea. I don't know. But I know that I, I came from the north of Subsid where it's basically shitty weather every day. And then living in Switzerland in in Sierre for 10 years.

I, I was amazed how I never saw shitty water, shitty weather. So that's not silence again. But another good reason to go there, . Okay, let's continue. And now we are going. It near to present and with questions. Where do the Swiss service designer work? Here we have data from 2019 and 2019, the Swiss service design.

Network team made a survey with 50 plus Swiss survey design practitioners, and this year we got to make that data public and share a bit of a, of a little report. I never taken a few elements off of the report, but as you see the slide, Whenever there is a linkage you can then find the linkage and go further.

And I'll share the presentation with you obviously at the end so that you get all the resources, but that's good in that report. And one thing that is quite interesting is the, To see that most service design practitioners work in consultancy or in education. Again, it's a small survey, take it with a big grain of salt.

There is not many people who have answered. So don't take the percentages as like, oh, that's exactly the percentage. But it gives you a bit of a, of a feeling. And the feeling that is quite interesting here is to see that the public sector is, is very, very small. It's the great part that you see.

In the graph and it's, it's quite slow, but interesting to see that the education part is very bold. You can then go in the details in the report, and I think that gives us already a few ideas to talk out. And then the child part then about health of the practitioners work in our organizations. No like the, the, the part which is in, in dark green that you see, and the upper left that's an organization that have around 2000 people in there.

So you see like a quarter of people who have answered that question. Working in such big organizations. So we see here the very big organization that we didn't see the need for the service designer, which is better by classical thing with service center around the world. And one thing that Wela need to fight in Switzerland, maybe bringing service design education also at a lower level so that there might be a service designer also in a bakery working.

I think that will be a. To, to not have it. So only for the big organizations, but also you know, why not have a barista who works 50% as a barista and 50% as a service designer and tries to improve things in a ca I think that will be something that would be quite interesting in the future.

Then we see that most practitioners have less than 10 years of experience. , which is quite interesting. Knowing that service then is that bolt you know, it's something that is. From the 18th officially, if we can say it like that. So still we have a bit of people who are, have a bit of experience, but still when you see here the graph, it shows that we still have a good chunk of juniors, a good chunks of middle level, and a good chunk.

Of experienced one, which means that when you go in a big organization where there are service managers, you are not the only one who has knowledge. I think that's something which, which is interesting to see here, but also to see that it's not just the younger generation who comes in the workplace and which is interested about that.

But full-time service designers are and minority. This was the question, how much time do you spend on service design? And here we, Steve, nearly the one on the right, which is a hundred percent. There were only very few people who said, this is my main activity in my job. Know, we need a present, present.

And we ask ourselves, what's the state of service design today? So this is something that we'd love to explore further with some more in-depth study. But we still have a few anecdotes that we can share here based on a few observations we made. First observation that we made is that, Now since we, we launched the Service Design Network this year we are tracking every new job that comes out and posting it on the discussion board.

And over the two months that we've done that, we've seen that basically two new service design jobs come out every week. When you compare that, I think to the uk, if I remember. That was a statistic from the shape design jobs website, service design, I, I think it was two jobs a day, so we're still not there.

But if you compare to when I came out of my service design education where there was basically nothing with that te title, it's a big, big change. And I think this is quite interesting to see that these are really job offers, but have the term service design either in the. Said as this is a skill that you need or that we are really happy that you have.

So I think this, that is quite interesting for, for us. Then we have, consultancies are always interesting to, to track because they, they speak a lot about themselves or so they're easier to track. We have around 90 consultancies who use service design in Switzerland. At least that's what we were able to find.

And from what we could find, just doing some Googling and some, some limiting search. If you look at people who really have the ch shrink design in their job title we have already 30 people having that, which doesn't mean that. It's on so much, so, so few people who do service design because a lot of people just do service design under all the titles or use it as a skill in other jobs.

I think that's something that is quite important because the maturity of the name services are in Switzerland. Isn't that? Yet. And the skills that the service designer has can definitely be used in many different job titles. But that's just tracking kind of the maturity level of the term also for job titles.

And then you might, Hey, is it good money to come to Switzerland? The work, and Yes and no. We'll go, we'll get into that. First thing to say, obviously is that you know, Swiss Switzerland is expensive. So even the, if the salaries look amazing, we still have a lot of costs coming. But this is based on the circuit design salary report of 2021 which was made.

With around thousands service status worldwide and seven Swiss service designers actually. So again, take data with a big ring of salt because it's stopped representative, but still it gives us a good anecdote to talk about. And this was done by the website services and What we see here is the average salary compared to the United States on the left and the United Kingdom on the right.

And this shows us that People that answered, had about 108 k per year with an average of four years of experience in the job. So for four years of experience, it's not that bad. For a Swiss salary, let's say it like that. And then we see that in Switzerland the salary gap between genders.

Is more even in services and jobs. And that's what we see here with women having a hundred k per year and men having 111 K per year. Again, statistically take it with a grain of salt. Not many people answer, but still the ne anecdotal evidence is quite interesting to see here. So let's go in the future now.

So if you want to go further we created a database of 110 tiny historical events that you will be able to get access to. It looks like that it's basically a lovely designed notion, database, or for those who don't know notion, it's just a. Looks a bit and nicer where you can find the stuff.

You can find like a bit a big timeline, but then also what we did, we put every historical event in playlists, which then helps you then to see, okay, I'm interested in tourism in Switzerland at service design. Then it gives you the related people, the related events, the related organizations, and so that you can then explore a bit more in depth.

It's still a very, very, Very prototyping. But for those who it helps it's awesome. And it's something that you can already access today. If you want to volunteer in on improving that that will be awesome. And if you want to use it that make something else with it, just do it because that will also help the community.

That's basically, it's for the long presentation, but we had some lovely breaks with Manuel and One question that I will leave is still in the recording and then I will stop the recording, is what's missing in this history? I think that's the goal again, of this presentation is not to say this is the history of services in Switzerland, but try to say it's a start of trying to create one and we just put it out there so that people react by saying this is wrong.

You missed this. This is not so relevant because usually it's easier to to improve something that start from scratch. And so what we did was just to create something that people can now improve, effect and work on. Okay. I will stop now the recording and we will.

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