March 14, 2011

Reflections on the Global Service Design Jam

Designing Experiences

This past weekend, I participated in the NYC episode of Global Service Design Jam, with about 40 other  professionals (ID, UX, IxD, etc) and Parson’s Students/Faculty.  The global theme was “(super)heroes” which was used as inspiration to tackle 1 of 4 design briefs: disruptive education, aging, political protest/representation, and green markets.

Our team ended up designing a service called “Learniverse” which was for the motivated yet underserved learner who lacks a clear curriculum or path forward through a world of seemingly limitless content, connections, and experience.  Our process included developing a persona (based on an actual group member), exploring the strengths and weakness of current educational institutions, bodystorming, lots of storyboarding, and pitching/critiquing.

Here’s a compilation of your process work and here’s the final video. It was a lot of fun to work through this idea over the course of a weekend and I also had the opportunity to give a short talk on service design and space.

The key-aways for me in terms of content were:

  1. The concept of “good service as paid friendship” and thinking through how employees “get into character” (e.g.: uniforms, 1-on-1 coaching / dialoging on potential scenario etc) (from Cameron Tonkinwise)
  2. The importance of real-time data and feedback (via Steve Dean) as a way to measure progress toward goals, manage complexity, and organize activity (Paul Pangaro)
  3. Space as something that can either help (superhero) or hinder (evil genius) the creative process and how you can capitalize on it by thinking of it not as a container but as system of services to be designed in order to create a certain experience (this was my contribution – post here)

The key-aways for me in terms of process were:

  1. Persona development and storyboarding were great tools for developing the service because they forced concreteness and a human-centered  viewpoint and helped us keep designing a service not just a system (which things like blueprints and journey maps would have emphasized)
  2. The benefits of having  non-designers in the group – this made for a better team dynamic, helped avoid professional jargon, made our ideas concrete, and questioned assumptions
  3. The usefulness of bodystorming the idea and having someone play the inner monologue as a character because this enables you to express what someone might be thinking about, hesitations they might have and the questions you need to answer (how can I trust this? How to I pay for this?)

All in all a great event and I’m looking forward to checking out what the groups in other cities came up with .


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