Archive for the 'design' Category

Design and Emotion 2008

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Me at Design and Emotion

I spoke at the Design and Emotion 2008 conference two weeks ago in Hong Kong (thanks to Matt Forrest for the photo!). I spoke about my thesis paper – the relationship between classical music and service design – and had very positive feedback on both the presentation itself and my topic. So, a very successful first conference presentation! For those of you who are interested, my presentation can be downloaded here, and my full thesis paper can be found here (the conference paper was shortened and didn’t include everything I wanted from my full paper).

The conference itself was pretty good, even though I witnessed the same couple of flaws I’ve seen at other conferences. My biggest gripe: if you are presenting at a design conference, please make sure your presentation actually looks decent. No one hates a poorly designed presentation more than designers.

Hong Kong itself was great, even though I really only got a day and a half to fully enjoy it. The last time I was in Hong Kong was in 2000, and my cousins over there have since multiplied! I met a lot of cousins’ kids that weren’t even born when I last went. The food and shopping of course were fantastic. More photos from Hong Kong and the conference can be seen on my Flickr site.

I am now back in San Francisco, in my second month of my job at Nokia Design. So far it’s been pretty good. Different methods and environments of work than I’m used to, but it’s a fun challenge to overcome and I’m learning a lot in the process.

Wordle-d (and the thoughts that ensued)

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

So, it seems wordle.net has been gaining popularity as I’ve been making my way through my design blogs this past month. I’ll join in on this game!

My blog, wordle-d:

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Although the ‘relaxing’ threw me off at first.

My thesis paper, wordle-d:

Okay so fine, I talk about service… a lot. Everywhere. But this is a pretty accurate description of my thesis paper, if you cut it up into words.

On other thesis paper news, I will be speaking at the 6th Design and Emotion Conference this October in Hong Kong. I will be presenting a shortened version of my thesis paper, highlighting the main strengths that classical music has to offer in helping strengthen the field of service design. While the idea of spending 14 hours alone on a plane doesn’t particularly make me jump for joy, I’m really excited at the opportunity to present some more of my theoretical work at a public venue. All of the talks I’ve given so far have really been more practical in nature, and this should be a good mix-up for me. Thank you to the School of Design and Nokia for making this happen.

Anyway, all this visualization of my thoughts and writings has got me thinking. While I hope that I can put my service design knowledge to good use at Nokia, I am really excited to be dabbling in areas that are outside my ‘service design’ zone. I am definitely interested in mobile device concepts and the idea of mobility itself, in sustainability and ethical dilemmas, and in the globalization of products and services. I wish I could write more about these but I don’t know enough about it yet to contribute anything really meaningful. So hopefully as I step out and expand more of my design knowledge, I’ll be able to write more about the connection of service design to these various issues.

What a great field we designers are in today. We seem to like to use all facets of human knoweldge and capabilities: from century old psychology, to new theoretical ideas, to the more practical applications, to the use of kindergarten tools (pipe cleaners, markers, and playdough!), to using space-age innovative mindsets… all this knowledge and open-mindedness inform designs and ideas that have the possibility of affecting millions of experiences people have around the world each day. Oh, and as an added bonus, whatever we make or think of is usually pretty easy on the eyes (and brain) too. Pretty neat.

One Line of Service Design, part 2

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Just a short update… I asked my mentor from this summer, Susan Spraragen (who is currently in Paris presenting our work on service blueprinting) what her service design one-liner would be. Here’s what she contributed:

Service design is about creating and taking decisive and deliberate actions that will promote, support, and sustain positive service experiences in order to strengthen provider-customer relationships.

I like the decisive and deliberate part. And especially the part about sustaining positive service experiences. Too often designers are asked to provide quick, band-aid solutions that may help in the short run; not provide solutions that will work in the long run.

The issue of sustainability is an interesting one. We’ve been discussing it a lot in my Designing for Management and Organizational Change class, in terms of how one would go about teaching/changing/designing an organization so that they can grow and succeed on their own without clinging on to a consultant.

This lead me to think about the issue of sustainability in service design. Especially in regards to my thesis project: how can I design a solution that will allow Children’s Hospital to continue thinking about sustaining the values (family-centered care, control, support) that I’m trying to enforce? Is a well-designed service or system enough to have a service provider convinced to keep practicing good service design? Or is there something more to getting someone clinched to always bettering their service offerings?

One Line of Service Design

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Jeff tagged me on this interesting activity… to keep it brief, Marc Fonteijn from 31Volts is starting an experiment to gather thoughts on how people would explain service design using only one line. The point is not necessarily to define service design , but provide examples that could shed light on what service design does. Marc’s one line was this:

When you have 2 coffee shops right next to each other, that each sell the same exact same coffee at the exact same price; Service Design is what makes you walk into the one and not the other.

And Jeff’s was this:

Service designers work with companies and governments to orchestrate their encounters with people.

There are so, so many service design one liners I could think of. But to continue, here’s one of mine:

Service design is not only what makes customers want to take part in a service, but it’s what makes them want to share the great moments they’ve had from a service with their friends and family (and the world, for us bloggers).

I guess there are two major parts to my one liner. First, the “want” part. Great services are those that you are a part of, not simply out of necessity, but out of desire. You know, the services you wouldn’t mind paying a little more for, just because it’s worth it. Second, the “sharing” bit. I suppose this part was partially inspired by my thesis project work at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. One of my major goals for the project is to design the service in such a way that, in light of their child being sick, the parents will still want to share the great time they had at the hospital. Great services are those that customers will advocate in the end. This advocating bit is also the last phase in Shelley Evenson’s model of the cycle of experience; she calls it “reverberating”, and I think that’s a pretty good word for it. I’ve tried some services just because so many people have talked about all the good things about them… that reverberation of positive words is something service providers aim for.

My one liner of course doesn’t really fully explain what service design is, but I find myself using it a lot when describing what I do to people who don’t have a design background.

I’m curious to see the results of this experiment. The people I want to tag don’t blog, but I’ll contact them and see if I can post their service design one liners here soon ;)

Don’t forget about the roots

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Roger Sessions on the roots of musical feeling (from The Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, Listener):

In the last chapter I discussed what I may perhaps call the roots of our musical feeling—roots lying in the very depths of our nature as animate beings. Here I should like to stress the vast sweep of the topmost branches of the tree that has grown from these roots.

My metaphor, I believe, is not a bad one. For it emphasizes a fact we ought never to forget: that a genuine culture is an organic growth, and not a self-conscious achievement. Possibly we Americans especially need to remember this. We are aware, quite aside from any self-congratulatory spirit, of having accomplished a very great deal in a very short time, and we tend sometimes to minimize all that is implied in the growth from roots to topmost branches; to seek short cuts that would make this arduous process unnecessary.

Very applicable to design, if you ask me.