Lufbra Design Jam 2015
The Global Service Design Jam is an annual 48hr workshop around Service Design. Through the Jam, designers worldwide generate service-driven products and concepts in response to an annual theme. The event is organized, run, and maintained by volunteers. It has no staff and no budget, yet it continues to grow year on year. Pretty impressive!
Loughborough University of Design has run the Service Jam for the past 3 years. Every year, students and practitioners are invited to take on the challenge. And every year, two lucky Fjordians are invited to mentor project teams. This year they were joined by two service and interaction designers from Fjord London, Gloria Lin and Nour Diab Yunes.
To introduce the field of Service Design, Dr. Zoe Radnor, professor of Service Operation Management at Loughborough University, and James Rock, Managing Partner at Design Thinkers Network, defined the concepts behind Service Design and the drivers of Design Thinking.
In Radnor’s view, many services are designed from a production-based rationale rather than a service design one. Therefore it’s essential to think of Service Design as designing experiences rather than products. She suggests that service design is about designing “moments of truth”. What we design – that emotional response or “aha” moment – is an intangible thing, and users need to be included in the design process so they can help shape the service.
James Rock suggested that people want Design Thinking to help their businesses grow. Rock referenced Geoffrey Moore’s ‘Diffusion of Innovation Adoption Curve’, which identifies a gap between early adopters and the mainstream early majority. According to Rock, Service Design is on the verge of becoming mainstream as demand grows for service-oriented work.
The service design journey
As mentors, our main role was to guide teams through their service design journey. One of the main rules is to learn by doing – do rather than describe. Mentors offer expert support for teams as they work through the steps of the design process in the short space of 48hrs.
This year’s theme:
(You can view the whole video announcing the theme here)
Team Toys 2 Swap
Nour’s team started off on Friday night with a promising concept area. They wanted to create a game that would be part of food packaging for kids. They wanted the service to combine healthy habits (like snacking on broccoli instead of a candy bar) with something kids can enjoy and learn from, such as educational games and toys. So, instead of your typical McDonalds’ Happy Meal or Kinder Surprise, you get a healthy treat with a surprise in it. After conducting customer interviews, defining stakeholder personas, mapping the customer journey, prototyping and video storytelling, the team ended up with an equally promising concept that encompassed their collective interests.
Toys 2 Swap is toy swapping for children in low-income neighborhoods. Swaps would be managed by parents online and would take place, face-to-face, in local community areas. Every swap provides the child with a number of points equal to the toy’s original cost. After accumulating a certain number of points, the child would be rewarded with a movie voucher to any -12y.o. movie showing at local theatres. The service aims to teach children about sharing, community, and the value of material things.
The story of Glo’s team was about knowing when to start over and having the drive to do it. The group started out brainstorming broad concepts around the overall theme. They decided they wanted their service to facilitate connections between commuters travelling by train. They kicked off Saturday morning, excited and inspired to observe and interview travellers at the Loughborough train station. Armed with data, they traipsed back to the design school to hammer out an idea. And then things stalled…
Despite rounds of prototyping, the team grew increasingly discouraged and uninspired by where they had taken their concept. They felt like it could be so much better, but they didn’t know how to get there.
As a mentor, it’s important to recognise when things aren’t working quite right. Sometimes design means narrowing many ideas down to one, like following the pathway of a rivulet. To jump from one rivulet to another though, you need to follow the stream back to its junction, and then out to the new stream. The team had reached the end of their rivulet, with nowhere to go next. This meant they had to go backwards.
After brainstorming new ideas, they developed a concept that was more in line with their initial vision, one they could take and run with. Their concept, TicketTalk, gamifies train tickets to encourage interaction amongst commuters, as shown in the video below:
Being service designers by day helps us guide our teams through the rougher waters of the design process. Through our experience, we know the appropriate tools to use or when it’s time to start over, and have built up enough confidence to take the plunge.
We believe design can create moments of delight that affect people’s daily routines. Designing services is not about creating deliverables or using methods just for the sake of it. It’s about defining an opportunity space where a new service could solve a problem or improve an experience.
We hope the momentum will continue to grow as participants learn to apply design thinking. Someday soon, Service Design may cross over into the mainstream.
And let’s not forget to have fun on the way!