Touchpoint Vol. 15 No. 1 | Service Design at the Dawn of AI is out!

What you are about to read is the latest thinking — and hands-on application — around service design and AI.

The theme of each issue of Touchpoint is determined through the collaborative effort of past editors and authors, thought leaders and active volunteers within the global SDN community, ensuring topics of interest in the world of service design are covered within these pages. When themes for this issue were being voted upon, AI was the clear winner.

Therefore, what you are about to read is the latest thinking — and hands-on application — around service design and AI. And I think it's pretty fascinating stuff. AI is poised to impact a vast number of the service interactions we have as consumers and citizens every day, in ways both visible and invisible. From the mundane (such as better product recommendations or more efficient resolution of customer service issues) to the very significant (decision-making around things such as healthcare and access to public services), more and more responsibility is being granted to a technology that is fundamentally complex and even opaque.

As service designers, our role in this transformation is becoming crucially important. Not only are we consumers of these new services, but we are also becoming responsible for designing them. Yet many of us feel uncertain about what role we should fulfil; do we need to master the technology in the way a developer or architect might, or can we stay focused on the desired experience and hope and trust it’s delivered as we envision? How do we update our approaches, tools, and visualisations? How are core aspects of what we do — such as user research — affected? And how do we ensure that the lurking dangers of AI, like bias, disenfranchisement and flawed outputs, don’t deliver services that actually cause harm? It might seem overwhelming.

One of my biggest takeaways from reading all the contributions to this issue is that if we are to best contribute to creating the AI-powered services of tomorrow — those that are desirable, feasible and viable (and let’s also throw in ethical, sustainable and personalised) — we cannot do it alone. There is a headlong, competition-driven rush to develop more and more powerful AI models, and few heed calls to slow things down to ensure safety and responsibility. On our own, our community doesn’t have the recognition or clout to steer things exactly the way we’d like; things are moving too fast. But nor should we think we are the only ones positioned to determine how to harness the incredible promise of AI and avoid its inherent dangers. By diligently doing what we have always done, which is to keep a focus on users front and centre, we can continue to build allies among the technologists, product teams and (crucially) the highest echelons of our organisations. When they share our mindset and understand our goals, and our values permeate those organisations, we will have achieved something very significant when it comes to AI-powered services. While we need to educate ourselves and adapt what we do, I feel we don’t all need to become AI experts. And for me at least, that’s a relief.

- Jesse Grimes for the editorial board

 

To read the full issue as a digital and printed copy, please visit our page here

Jesse Grimes
Jesse Grimes - - Editor-in-Chief of Touchpoint

Jesse Grimes is Editor-in-Chief of Touchpoint and has fifteen years of experience as a service designer and consultant. He is an independent practitioner, trainer and coach, based in Amsterdam and working internationally. Jesse is also Senior Vice President of the Service Design Network and Head of Training for the SDN Academy.

Satu Miettinen
Satu Miettinen - Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland

Satu Miettinen is the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland in Finland. She is also a Professor of service design.

Yifan Gan
Yifan Gan - Founder of Rolling AI

Yifan Gan is the Founder of Rolling AI, with 10 years’ experience in service design and business innovation. He and his company successfully transformed more than 30 services and businesses with Gen-AI productivity in FMCG, Financial service, mobility and healthcare industries.

Stefan Moritz
Stefan Moritz - Senior Design Director at McKinsey in Stockholm.

Stefan Moritz is a Senior Design Director at McKinsey in Stockholm. With 20+ years international experience from leadership roles at companies, award-winning agencies and as advisor across industries. Advisor and coach helping clients to empower employees to deliver stellar customer experience and unlock growth. stefan_moritz@mckinsey.com

Mauro Rego
Mauro Rego - Lead Designer at Google

Mauro Rego is a Lead Designer at Google. He is based in Berlin and is currently using AI models to help people learn. His previous experience includes design consulting and in-house UX/service design roles at SAP and Deutsche Telekom, and with clients such as Airbus, Allianz, Raiffeisen Bank, Boehringer Ingelheim and WIRED.

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