Regarding the COVlD-19 pandemic currently affecting most countries in the world, we have witnessed changes in human’s behavior in different contexts and backgrounds. Service Design, which plays an important role in businesses based on human-centric approach and involves physical touch points with the sense of human touch, has definitely been affected in terms of tools, work process, etc. Here are some questions we would like to ask you to share your thoughts with us:

By conducting service design projects during this current COVlD-19 situation, is there any adaptation to Service Design tools or process? For example, using online surveys (Google Form, UXtesting, Survey Monkey, etc.), having focus groups or user interviews via VDO conference platforms. How do you manage to continue them under this circumstance?
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the practice of service design is significant. As the global network dedicated to the advancement of service design, we are not directly involved in consultancy or project work, but of course, we are in close dialogue with our community and are monitoring the impact. A recent survey we conducted with our network looked to better understand the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on service design business and its operations. The economic implications are immense. Projects have been either cancelled or postponed; invoices are not being paid and, in particular, for the smaller agencies, the challenge is vast. Nevertheless, service designers are solution finders by nature; therefore, they are working hard to reinvent their work and transfer it to online platforms. Zoom is playing a massive role in all types of meetings and collaborations. Miro boards replace pin-boards, walls and post-its! Slack, WhatsApp, Trello – tools that already had played an essential role in project management have become even more critical. Online survey tools are also being used frequently. For many service designers, the shift to digital teaching, training, consulting and project work is rather smooth. The crisis, however, forces them to go further, try harder and both invent and reinvent new ways of collaboration in the virtual space. 

 

As the pandemic has affected nearly every human interfacing, user experience, or human-centric led industries, what do you think about integrating digitization into businesses that used to be based on physical touch points? (What are new possibilities and threats?) How can the businesses be shifted while considering good Service Design at the same time?
The development of working in the digital space will not be reversed once the crisis is over. It will enrich the portfolio of service design and it will add value. At the same time, working in the physical space with real people, with all our senses, thinking with our bodies and hands and crafting futures together will not get lost either. Therefore, we will look to move to the next level on the spiral of service design evolution and become even stronger.

As many countries have been implementing lock-down or quarantine strategies to lessen the contagion, we think that the human-centric disciplines might be fully affected physically. So is there any readjustment to them or how do you reconstruct Service Design in this situation? Will there be any new direction or innovation of Service Design resulting from this crisis?
We have been thinking and talking a lot about the “Future of Service Design,” which was triggered by the celebration of my 25th anniversary of teaching service design at the Köln International School of Design. Through a Tricider survey conducted with the global community and a summit attended by service design experts from all over the world, we have identified several important themes connected to the future. Among them are ethics, sustainability and education. This project/program took place before the COVID-19 crisis arrived in Europe - since then the crisis has stressed the importance of these topics. Service design is a profoundly human-centered discipline and it will be part of our future responsibility to put a strong focus on the restructuring of our humanities while under economic pressures and uncertainty. Nevertheless, solidarity on a global and local level will be the only means to create a favorable future for all of us.

On a side note, “The Future of Service Design” report will be published by the end of July so stay tuned o the Service Design Network (www.serice-design-network.org) to receive updates.

 

Interview Date : 18 May 2020

Interview | Edit : Aimwalee Boonmark