It doesn't take designing an entire ecosystem to make an impact in the world of service design—singling out individual issues can be more manageable and realistic than attempting tackling an entire industry or product category at once. And each of the honorees in the Service category of this year's Core77 Design Awards prove it. From efforts to help women better understand their financial systems to a punchcard for ordering pizza, the projects illustrate the breadth and depth of service design.
Take some time to peruse the 11 entries the jury chose as honorees from the 2014 program. Read on to see what the team—led by Tennyson Pinheiro of Livework Studio—said about the projects that stood out most to them:
Professional Winner: The damda, by M&M
Facing our mortality as humans is practically inconceivable, not to mention something that not many people voluntarily likes to discuss. The damda, designed by M&M, is a toolkit for those facing their own or a family member's death, enabling the user to better cope with his or her loss and live out the rest of their days in a meaningful manner. The kit itself consists of tools that will help the user record their past and present activities—a printer, paper and a compact note scanner. The jury called the work "to cry for." They continue: "The designer brilliantly spotted a delicate time span in people's lives that is priceless and designed a service to make sure it can be experienced as it should be. Great empathetic eye."
Information on reproductive health and family planning is a resource that is often lacking even in the first world, to say nothing of the developing world. In countries where the discussing the topic publicly isn't socially acceptable, it can be hard to unite women in a way that's both safe to them, informative and unifying as a community. Kandu was designed by CIID student Bahareh Shahriari specifically for women in Iran. The jury's thoughts: "A simple and easy to implement service, relying lightly on technology, with the potential to deliver maximum social impact."
Professional Runner Up: PillPack—Pharmacy Simplified, by PillPack
Through intuitive and appealing packaging and a delivery service, PillPack is making it easier than ever to take your daily dose without worrying about taking the wrong medication or amount. Each individually packaged dose lists when to take the medication and the specific pills housed inside. While there are other subscription services for drugs already out there, the jury thought there was one aspect that put this work above the rest: "The breakthrough in my opinion is on the 'right-dose' package. This is a clever and well executed one that addresses a huge known problem. Difficult model, with an incredible difficult ecosystem."
Professional Runner Up: Care Maps: Transforming Diabetes Care with Peer-to-Peer Support, by CIID Consulting
Tracking diabetes is a constant job. CIID Consulting designed app that facilitates a peer-to-peer community of those living with Type II Diabetes for Novo Nordisk. The app tracks personal progress and disease monitoring, while location-based features cultivate local community services and activities for users. Even though the jury had some reservations about the actual involvement the app would see, they applaud the work: "A peer-to-peer service that can be extended to the community and physicians. It is unclear about the sustainability of this P2P user+physical relation as those professionals tend to have a busy frantic schedule. Overall, I believe the solution has its place."
Student Runner Up: The Library Compass—A Strategy for Public Libraries in Times of Digitalization, by Andreas Schuster
The transition to fully digital libraries has been a slow one, much to the chagrin of millenials looking to find a reference or light reading, and find it fast. TU Munich Industrial Design student Andreas Schuster has introduced a system that will make the digitizing transition easier on both ends. The Library Compass consists of a navigation app and iBeacon-enabled bookshelves for easy finding. "Loved the simple prototyping sessions and to see how the design team advanced the concept with users via those prototypes," says the jury. "Also the student showed a good service design maturity level by choosing not to focus too much on showcasing tools but, instead, kept both eyes on the user the whole time."
Professional Notable: Advancing Global Financial Inclusion, by Continuum
Continuum completely redesigned the way Pakistani women interpret financial institutes and banking. Advancing Global Financial Inclusion offered a complete redesign of mobile, ATM and Agent receipts that are easy for women to read and understand. The work, designed for The World Bank and the Consultative Group at Assist the Poor, notably improved the way women interact with their respective financial institutions. "The designers had a good eye to uncover an issue and finding some opportunities to create impact," says the jury. "The solution was simple, and it remained at an abstract level in our opinions. However, it showed potential by revealing good insights that can be leveraged upon to craft relevant bank experiences to rural Pakistanis."
Professional Notable: Your Pizza, Your Way, by Scott Shim
The act of ordering pizza hasn't changed a whole lot—unless you count the switch from calling to 'app-ing' it in, thanks to services like Seamless. Scott Shim's system—Your Pizza, Your Way—for Enzo's Pizzeria turns ordering dinner into an interactive process that seems just perfect for impatient kids waiting in line with their parents. By popping out various tabs on the ordering card, the customer can personalize their pizza while in line, taking out the risk of being "that guy" who just can't seem to make up his mind at the register. The jury was impressed by the simple solution and its impact on customer experience: "Points for simplicity and for proposing a low tech relevant and impactful solution. It proves that service design is not just about designing whole ecosystems. Some small interventions can change the way a service is experienced and create value for users.
Professional Notable: Smart Blocks, by Smart Blocks
Despite the close quarters, it's easy for a tenants in an apartment building to confine themselves to their own walls and schedule without getting to know their supers or landlords, aside from the occasional repair. What's equally as easy: Forgoing energy-saving tactics and sucking it up come utility bill time. Smart Blocks is a system that brings an apartment community together to accomplish various energy efficient goals, saving everyone a bit of money. "It struck us as an informational service. Very helpful one though. Points for being implemented and for creating equity in a vast non-connected network," says the jury.
Scientist or not, it should come as no surprise that lab instruments and equipment are expensive. Catalyst is a service specifically for university, government and startup scientists look to share equipment with colleagues.The Catalyst service includes a website, mobile app, welcome package and payment management, among other support features. the jury weighs in: "It solves a real problem. And even though it is a niche one, it is a solution that can help clean bureaucracy and empower our new generation of scientists."
Student Notable: NOMADIQ, by Diane Seaver and Bingjie Qiu
Savannah College of Art & Design students Diane Seaver and Bingjie Qiu took the definition of 'nomad' and turned it into the inspiration for "NOMADIQ"—a travel service that connects 'dwellers', would-be travelers confined by prior responsibilities or obligations, with nomads who have the desire to travel, but not necessarily the means. The system matches up dwellers and nomads based on travel preferences and lifestyle needs. The project is a unique combination of AirBnb and LinkedIn, allowing the dweller to leave their home in the hands of a nomad with peace of mind. "Even though there are some questions about this service equity, this service tries definitely has its place in society," says the jury.
Student Notable: The Merchant & Muse, by Team Avocado
Delivery apps have made it easy to have a hot meal at your door quickly—but itcomes at the expense of the joy of cooking. With the "right here, right now" lifestyle becoming more prevalent, The Merchant & Muse looks to keep homecooked meals on your radar. IIT Institute of Design's Team Avocado created a neighborhood "food truck" that curates a revolving set of ingredients for various recipes, saving you time on hunting down specific ingredients and strategizing a recipe plan. "The perspective of having a fixed menu is simple, ingenius and stimulating when it comes to helping people cook," says the jury.