My name is Andy Polaine. Since 1994 I have been an (mostly) independent interaction and service design consultant, writer, lecturer and researcher. I am currently a Design Director in the Service Design Academy of global design and innovation consultancy, Fjord.
Since 1994 I have worked on projects ranging from interactive media promoting Levi’s jeans to helping people with terminal cancer express how they feel, from re-thinking green transport solutions to re-designing the higher education experience.
WHAT I DO
I work directly with clients who need help innovating their user and service experiences. The majority of my work centres around interactive and service design concept development, innovation and strategy. I am quick to take-in complex situations and find the connections, patterns and relationships underlying a project. Combining my background in interaction design and research, I help to make the customer and user experiences pleasurable, engaging, playful and valuable.
I tend to work in one of four modes:
The first mode is simply working as an interaction and service design consultant. This is something that I usually do project-term basis. Although I can cope well with being parachuted into a project, it’s usually better for all involved if I can be there from the outset.
Mentoring and Creative Coaching
The second mode is working as a mentor for a team (or individuals) working on projects, giving external input and helping to push the creative thinking on a project into a different direction. Some projects need a divergent process to expand and explore unusual ideas and get the team out of a rut, other teams or projects are floating and too vague and need some help focusing down. This kind of mentoring is generally tightly focussed on a particular project or issue.
The third mode is running workshops. These often take the form of teaching a group new design methods and approaches, helping all stakeholders on a project generate and analyse insights, or kicking off change and innovation projects. If you have something particular in mind, please get in touch and I can custom design a workshop. Workshops can be for a small team of four or five people, but also for a larger group. I can handle up to around 20-25 people on my own and give enough attention to all. For larger groups, I would bring in colleagues from my professional network.
Finally, I regularly give presentations, talks and keynotes. This can be useful for management to hear when trying to a get a project off the ground with a new approach, but I have also found it best for people to experience methods by trying them out themselves. Many things look easier said than done.
WRITING & ACADEMIA
Throughout my career I have found teaching to be the best way to learn and writing a powerful path to creative thinking. I’m co-writing a book on service design to be published this year by Rosenfeld Media.
Officially I’m Dr. Polaine, since I received my PhD in 2010 for my thesis about interactivity and play. I currently lecture and research and lead the MA Design specialisation in Service Design at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. For more information on my academic life, writing and publications, take a look at the About Me section.
Over the years I have worked for many clients and brands, either directly or with other agencies. Here are a few: BBC Worldwide, the ABC (Australia), The Science Museum, NatWest, Razorfish, the University of New South Wales, The Omnium Research Group, magneticNorth, Massive Interactive, Animal Logic, Poke, Alex Proyas, AstraZeneca, Norton Healthcare, Live|Work, RiverSimple, Levi Strauss & Co. (for which we won a D&AD Silver Pencil), VW Germany, Telenor, Optus, Three UK, Mobiliar and International Peacebuilding Advisory Team. For more, visit the portfolio.