Calling all service designers:

Calling all service designers: "Eat your own greens"​

Wim Rampen
  • Wim Rampen
  • Director

Last week I joined the Service Design Global Conference 2018 (#SDGC18) in Dublin. I’ve considered myself a service designer for around a decade now, but since I now work for Livework, one of the first consultancies in the field, it’s official ;). There were over 800 of us at this 11th edition. A huge compliment for the Service Design Network in general and its founder and president Birgit Mager.

Key takeaway

There were many take-aways which the Livework team will share more on later. But I could not resist sharing one of mine right now. Having seen some excellent talks by e.g. Patrick QuattlebaumJean Paradis ZacharySusan Butler and Alok b. Nandi, that key takeaway is that, if we want to grow our impact, we need to get out of our service design bubble more, learn from others and integrate the best of multiple worlds. We owe it to our collaborative and co-creative nature to be the first taking steps towards other disciplines.

Get out of the bubble! Learn before you teach.

Patrick Quattlebaum

Eat your greens

This feeling got stronger on waking up on Saturday morning after #SDGC18 when a book I’d ordered arrived: “Eat your greens – fact based thinking to improve your brand’s health”. It’s a collection of freshly written papers and opinion pieces from some of the most respected marketing academics and professionals alive today, brought together and edited by Wiemer Snijders. I know some of them personally and have been following others (like Mark RitsonByron SharpRory SutherlandDoc Searls) over the past decade.

The objective of the book is to provide a bag of nutritious mixed greens to counter the hype in marketing and to provide a perspective on how marketing can better itself. Some of the authors’ views, beliefs and emphasis are not aligned with mine. In other cases I couldn’t agree more. But I consider both perspectives to be valuable, as they make me rethink my own beliefs and assumptions.

New pathways

Both the conference speakers and the book’s authors inspire me to take action and find new pathways between the different disciplines and practices around. These new pathways should help us spread what’s important to us service designers. And – more importantly – the pathways allow fresh perspectives from others. Because we are never alone and no discipline can grow in isolation. We are not in the world to sell service design, we are in the world to make it better.

Eat your

At the conference “Calling all creators to flip the script” was the call from my colleague Liveworker Anna-Louisa Peeters and adidas senior director Peter Brook. In their presentation, they showed how two disciplines (Agile and CX/Service Design) can inspire a greater purpose of customer centricity, together.

Their talk also demonstrated that bridging two disciplines is not an easy task. On the contrary, it’s a balancing act that requires multiple iterations before it can be scaled. But the conclusion is clear: it’s worth the effort and the pain.

An Agile-CX transformation at adidas


So, I hear the call loud and clear. I hope you do too. Please join in getting out of our bubbles more. Learn from others, seek new pathways and build bridges to create a positive impact on the way people live and work we all – including Stefan Moritz 😉 – so desire!

And please, share the stories. Maybe on next year’s Service Design Global Conference stage?

Hope to see you there.

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