Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com
Designer: Paul Thurston, Design Wales
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK
Category: Service Design
Award: Professional Winner
The Service Design Programme provides comprehensive support for the manufacturing industry through activities that include promotional seminars, intensive workshops with teams from individual companies and on-line resources. In parallel, design businesses are being introduced to new tools and techniques to build both their capacity for and confidence in the delivery of service design. The programme is funded by the Welsh Government through the department of Economy and Transport and reflects the most recent policy documents from the European and UK governments that have both identified service innovation as a priority for the future competitiveness of the sector. Notes from our Service Design Jury based in New York City:
This is a well-structured program for raising awareness of service design and advocating for it to both industry and the design field. The blend of (and interaction between) the program's online and offline elements seems well thought-out. The program appears to be more government-driven than demand/user-driven; thus, the jury would have liked to see the designers place heavier emphasis on employing the design processes they are promoting. The jury applauds the impact the program has achieved since launch, and looks forward to following its progress.
How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
I was actually on my summer holidays at the time so I was sitting on a beach in Ibiza. I kept refreshing my twitter account to check for news on the day. Then when it came through that we had won I went for a ride on a banana boat to celebrate.
What's the latest news or development with your project?
Welsh Government support for the Service Design Programme will continue until May 2013, by this point we will have worked with over 90 companies and aim to have created 35 new jobs in Wales through our work. Alongside the funded support programme for designers and manufacturing businesses we have developed a commercial offering for other regions seeking to establish a similar programme or provide support establishing service design expertise. So far this has led us to large projects in Eastern Europe and in particular Poland where we have worked with Design Silesia to establish a model for service design in public services. We aim to grow this area of our programme and share the knowledge we gain from this programme. I'm also working on a new innovation school called The Greenhouse. It's aimed at people working in design centres, public authorities and third sector organisations that want to quickly build their knowledge and expertise in design-led service innovation. You can find out more about this here.
What is one quick anecdote about your project?
I remember when the project started back in 2010 and we were visiting design agencies, our aim was to encourage them to start exploring service design as a means to grow and win new clients. My job was to encourage and support them to do this however some companies often commented that 'our clients won't buy this' or 'there's no market for this work here'. Then a small branding agency came along to a workshop we were running about service design and followed up with an email to say how they had been inspired to get into the practice, joining the programme shortly after. Soon after they started running service design workshops with their clients and expanding their knowledge and portfolio in service design. So, when a large UK bank with a significant budget wanted to develop its business in Wales they contacted 20 local agencies to explore proposals for how this could work. The agency that came along to the workshop before got in touch with the programme and we advised them on their proposal and how they could offer the client an alternative service design project. They won the project and when the bank gave feedback about the proposals the client explained they commissioned the agencies proposal because they had offered the bank a service design project. When word got around many of the agencies this was the reason they lost out on this contract we started to get a lot of enquires about our programme!
What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
The first A-Ha moment for me was when we started to work with a small group of SME manufacturing companies. The directors all attended a seminar about service design and were keen to start work on their specific projects, to help them do this we gave them some tools at the end to take home and start to use with their teams. After a few weeks of not hearing too much back I decided to visit one of those companies and was shown around the factory. On all the walls were the tools I had given them to work on and they had applied everything we had run through in the workshop. This really taught me the importance of designing the service we provided in a way that supports people to used design but doesn't only rely on experts delivering the work. That company didn't have a budget to spend on service design consultants but had some time and insight into what their customers to innovate their service offer; the tools we gave them unlocked this. This SME based innovation is a long way from the R&D labs and innovation centre's of big business and ensured we designed the programme accordingly. In response to this, we focused on creating workshops, practical tools and material that companies can come and use, so they adopt, apply and implement service design in their own way - with support from us of course.