July 2013

Service Design, The Force and Yoda

by Andy Polaine on July 30, 2013

in Conference, General


While I am down under in Melbourne later in August for UX Australia I’m going to be giving a different talk and hosting a discussion at RMIT’s DESIS Lab in the RMIT Design Hub for Service Design Melbourne.

My talks is titled May The Force Be With You – Service Design for invisible connections and has a great URL. The UX Australia talk and workshop are very much a practical guide to designing for multi-channel experiences, but May The Force Be With You – Service Design for invisible connections is much more of a philosophical look (with some examples) of how we (designers, organisations, humans) tend to spend a long time looking at things and not much time looking at the connections between the things. My argument is that the invisible connections actually form a much larger part of our experiences than the things themselves.

Yoda sums it up well in his description of The Force in The Empire Strikes Back:

“Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”

The point is, of course, that Luke is so focused on his ambitions and getting his ship out of the swamp that he’s unable to feel the Force between the ship and the land, so he can’t get the ship out of the swamp. Organisations create organisational charts and process diagrams often representing time, context, and connections with innocuous arrows and lines. The focus is on the boxes – who is responsible for what – but the connections are essential to the experiences people have with those organisations, within and without. The problem is that, like Luke with The Force, the arrows and connecting lines are so ubiquitous in diagrams that they seem invisible and are often overlooked.

If you are down that way, do come along. Here are the details:

Date: 29 August 2013 – 6:00pm

Location: Multipurpose room – level 1, RMIT Design Hub
Victoria St, corner of Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3001

See map: Google Maps

Mural.ly – super duper collaborative walls

by Andy Polaine on July 17, 2013

in Links

Anyone who has worked with me in the last few years will know my propensity to use a lot of Post-It notes. It’s a design cliché, I know, but true. I just find it really hard to think when I look at something in a big Word doc or, worse, Excel. My eyes glaze over and my brain switches off when I view Excel docs.

The crossover from physical to digital has always been a bit of a chore though. How to go from a wall of Post-It notes to something that can be digitally shared? The general approach is to photograph the wall and/or transcribe it all into some kind of template. I know there are sticky-note apps out there, but I haven’t really gotten into them. I still feel the need for a wall too. I know others use a projector for this, so that could be an option in the future. My dream process would be:

  1. Put a load of Post-It notes on the wall.
  2. Take a photo.
  3. Have some software automagically recognise the notes and layout and text and put it into a digitally manipulatable form.

If anyone does know of anything that already does this, please let me know! (Post-It not scribbles seem too crinkly for Evernote’s OCR, just in case you’re wondering).

On the digital side, this post from Lauren Currie about mural.ly hooked my interest. It’s basically a shareable whiteboard/moodboard/anythingboard. Okay, so there are few tools that already do similar things, but this is particularly easy to use and it hooks into other services well.

I thought I would have a go at seeing how easily I could crank out a simple service design blueprint with some images. In about 5-10 minutes I got this (which should be embedded, if not, try this link). It’s not going to win any design awards, but it was really quick. The nicest thing was being able to Google for images within the app and just pull them into the board. For quick storyboard mock-ups of concepts, this would be ideal. You can also turn them into presentation, Prezi style, without the annoying Flash crap.

Soon I’ll never have to leave my office at all and I can let the cobwebs grow on my shoulders.

Tile and Internet of Things Services

July 12, 2013

I have a re-occurring conversation with my MA Design students, especially those specialising in products. It goes something like this: Student: “I’m working on a new product/gadget/object.” Me: “Great, but you know you’re actually building a service?” Student: “No, no, I’m not interested in designing services. I want to design products.” Me: “But you say […]

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Backing the Kickstarter campaign for What Doesn’t Kill You

July 9, 2013

My lovely friend Rachel Meyrick has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make a feature documentary called, What Doesn’t Kill You. It’s about helping women who have survived domestic violence in the USA tell their stories. She originally made a short film for Bravewoman.org, during which she discovered some disturbing facts. For example, […]

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