Archive for service design
From finance to healthcare to media, New York’s economy is primarily driven by services. Yet our understanding of what design offers is rooted in products and places rather than how those things operate or how people use them — design has traditionally concerned itself with goods, not services. Only in the past decade or so have designers been actively reconceptualizing what it means to interact with and help shape service. According to Professor Birgit Mager, who runs the Cologne-based Service Design Network, “Service design addresses the functionality and form of services from the perspective of clients. It aims to ensure that service interfaces are useful, usable, and desirable from the client’s point of view and effective, efficient, and distinctive from the supplier’s point of view.”
In particular, services require designers to empathize with users, to understand interactions as a series of “touchpoints” and to develop a holistic understanding of the ways in which our relationships to services govern everyday life. The multiple ways this emerging field of practice relates to the rest of the design field are still in formation. So I sat down with several leading designers and researchers from universities in the US and Europe to start a conversation about what service design is, where it came from and where it is going. This interview expands on an event, “Service Design Performances” (PDF), which was held at Parsons The New School for Design in late May. The event, organized by the DESIS Lab, is the first in a series of activities around the topic of service design that are taking place in New York in the coming months.
What does theater have to do with service design? This question was addressed in a presentation, “Dramaturgy of Services,” by Roman Aebersold, a designer from Lucerne School of Art and Design in Switzerland, who has been a visitor at the Parsons this spring. The presentation was part of a workshop, “Service Design Performances,” which was organized by the DESIS Lab in late May in order to convene New York’s design community and cultivate a discussion around designing for services. As design tools and methods have become increasingly useful for problem-solving in a wide range of areas, designers are playing an important role in creating not only logos and websites but also interactions, organizations and systems.
At Parsons, the intersecting role of design for services, sustainability and social innovation mark the core of courses, external partnerships and labs, which consider the role of services at the individual, household and city level, explained Lara Penin, co-founder of the DESIS Lab. We interact with many kinds of services everyday including government and commercial services though a series of “touchpoints” in face-to-face settings as well as by phone and through websites. We are also sometimes providers of services for one another however, we sometimes fail to recognize our own roles as service providers.