Martijn van der Heijden


5 experience and service design models.

What better way for a strategist to summarise 2 days of talks and workshops? In this blog I'll explain 5 experience and service design models based on my visit at the London Design Festival '16.

1. Retail experience from a helictopter.

Model used by Eight Inc to develop retail experience concepts. For more insight in their approach check their blog.

Experience designers Eight inc. (most famous for their Apple store concept) shared in an inspiring workshop about the future of banking retail how they deliver powerful, holistic concepts based on big ideas. The model shows how they rethink more than the space and the staff: they look for unique digital and physical products and how to engage customers (e.g. ‘genius bar’ instead of ‘service desk’ in the Apple Store). It’s retail design, but with a helicopter view.

The way we arrived at the big ideas is worth mentioning too: we imagined what a utopian and a dystopian banking future would mean. The most powerful utopian concepts and the inverse of the most scary dystopian concepts were then taken for big ideas. In the workshop this took us 30 minutes — in real projects Eight Inc. reserves 4 weeks for this, including talking to clients, researching users, looking at the brand, and checking the competition and trends.

2. The power of design thinking in government

Overview of UK Policy Lab services.

The UK Government’s Policy Lab uses design, digital and data to create better policy. During the enjoyable Service Design Fringe they showed how to bring a user-centred approach to real policy projects. The model shows which ‘products’ they offer to government departments, from short discoveries to full projects that demonstrate innovations to government services. The interesting thing here is that the goal is not to design and develop those services, but to open the eyes of policy makers to user needs and innovations.

A good place to start if you’re interested in how the Policy Lab works is in their methodbank. For two methods that were shared during the Festival, read on!

3. Provoking discussion about the future with speculative design

Speculative design encompasses the visualisation of future fiction: possible but not necessary probable scenarios, that are deliberately quite extreme, to invite the discussion on the effects and desirability of plans for the future.

Use of speculative design for a project on the Future of Ageing. A rendering of a 24/7 robot repair shop on a local high street owned by ‘Green & Green & Sons’, which also buys and sells old robots as well as providing online tutorials, invites people to respond to and feel about the ideas about the future embedded within the design. Source: Policy Lab blog.

The UK Policy Lab and Strange Telemetry pointed out how traditional government plans are long bodies of fairly abstract text, inviting very little discussion. With speculative design, future products, situations or advertising gives people a tangible way to think about and react on an unknown future. These reactions are then used in drawing up recommendations for future policy.

I drew this process model of how to use speculative design based on the discussion in the workshop. Note how the visualisations themselves are only one step in the whole process. For more information and further reading on speculative design, see the excellent Policy Lab blog.

4. Starting with data science with four simple questions

A model for defining how to use data science in a (policy) project.

Data Science (defined by specialists Mastodon C as sexed up statistics plus coding plus business understanding) is becoming an essential element in service design. The model above shows how the Policy Lab decides how to use data to discover problems with specific services and opportunities for innovation.

During the workshop, drawing a journey map proved to be very helpful in filling the model, for defining both which questions we had as well as what data could be used to answer these questions.

5. How the Internet provides new meanings for old needs

A magic formula for creating new digital+physical experiences? If so, copyright by Fabrique

While preparing with colleague Wouter Middendorf for a panel organised by the Design Museum on ‘The Internet of Experiences’, I asked myself: what’s new about these experiences? What’s new about mobile, AR and VR, Internet Of Things? 
Not the needs new services like AirBnB, Tinder, Nest or VR tours cater to: travel accommodation, friendship — or more — , safety and discovery. What is different is how ever more information, people and objects are combined with algorithms and personal data with new ways of interaction and new technology. The resulting experiences gives new meaningful ways to fulfill these old needs.

Thank you, London Design Festival

If you looked past the new furniture and splashy installations, this year’s London Design Festival offered a lot of inspiration for digital, service and experience designers. If you plan a bit ahead, you can learn from and talk to many nice talented people. It’s like hand-picking your own conference!

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