Highlights from ServDes Copenhagen

ServDes 2016, Copenhagen


Christian Bason’s honest reflection to open the conference, that it is easier to preach than practice set the tone for the three days, as did his call to action for all conference presenters to think hard about the applicability of their work. 

Designers as cartographers?

A session at the Danish Design Centre (if you haven’t heard about them it is worth looking up – a government funded body dedicated to experimenting with how design can help business) explored the use of visualisation and mapping in everything from simple service design to clinical pathways. An interesting conception of the designer as a “wayfinder” – mapping the course when the end destination is not known.

A different take on human centred design

The thought provoking session of by Jos van Leeuwen on the use of human themes in governance design. Organising research and enquiry around themes such as happiness and fear were used to create principles to reframe public accountability. With the next stage of the project to come, will be interesting to see the practical application of their work. 

An evolution of participatory democracy 

The powerful story of the Living Lab the Neighbourhood in Malmo was a reminder of the normative reason to look to stretch design techniques (or revitalise design thinking) for the purpose of social innovation. Pers Anders Hillgren’s humble retelling of his team’s persistent small scale interventions to find a way through the complex problems facing Malmo, put all the discussion of tools and techniques into the harsh perspective of the real. 

Design practices in policy making

Jocelyn Bailey challenged the design community: Do we really understand what we are meddling with as we enthusiastically inject design methods deeply into our democratic institutions? Given the proliferation of “labs” in central government bureaucracies it is certainly a question worth asking. 

Apparently it pays to fail 

Asbjorn Folstad and Knut Kvale entertained us with their exploration into The Service Recovery Paradox. Why is there often an increase in customer satisfaction after a service failure? Their proposition, that the recovery event becomes a memorable moment that shapes the customers perspective of the brand more powerfully than the planned service raises many possibilities, from the mischievous to serious. 

The curtain falls 

The service design discipline is an emerging field of academic study. Conversely, the proliferation of service design roles, functions and consultancies in all sectors shows an appetite for whatever it is we consider ‘service design’. There is a question, at least in my mind, as to whether service design needs to become a deep academic field of its own or if it is all the more powerful as a set of unifying tools and methods that unite multi disciplinary fields around areas of social importance.

Visit the ServDes website for more details. 

Twiiter @ServDes