Interaction 14 Student Design Challenge

Now in its fifth year, the IxDA Student Design Challenge will run during the Interaction14 conference in Amsterdam, February 4-8, 2014. I’m happy to be on the selection jury again, though sadly I can’t make the conference itself due to a clash with our MA final presentation. (I’m particularly sad because it’s in Amsterdam, which is comparatively close to me and I was going to teach a service design workshop, but such is life).

The Chairs of the jury are Dianna Miller, Innovation Catalyst, Fidelity Investments and previous student competitor, Izac Ross, Interaction Designer, Cooper. The rest of the jury are:

  • Miles Begin, Director of Design, Enterprise Growth, American Express
  • Peter Boersma, Interaction Design Director at Blast Radius
  • MJ Broadbent, Principal, MJ Broadbent Design
  • Susan Dybbs, Managing Director of Interaction Design, Cooper
  • Ana Domb Krauskopf, Director, School of Interaction Design
  • Penny Hagen, Design Strategist, Smallfire/ UX Director DAN Auckland
  • John Payne, Principal, Moment
  • Andy Polaine, Interaction & Service Designer, Lecturer, Writer, Researcher
  • David Sherwin, Interaction Design Director, frog
  • Samantha Soma, GE Design & Experience Studio
  • Sudhindra V., Creative Director – Experience Design, SapientNi

Student design challenge records for life 666x412

This year the Student Design Challenge is in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who have chosen the Student Design Challenge to complement the foundation’s Records for Life contest that launched this month.

The Information for Life challenge will be to design ways to improve how, where, and when the child health record is distributed, accessed and used in order to make it a more effective tool for health information and education throughout early childhood.

I’ll be interested to see what the students come up with. It’s a challenge not only to develop the idea, but also to ensure the idea isn’t just based on naïve designer platitudes about poverty and health. There’s a reason why this is a wicked problem and not just a design problem.

Please spread the word and and, if you are student, think about entering. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback from the panel and to put your work in front of a lot of people. Prizes for the Student Challenge have always been good and this year include:

  • Travel to Amsterdam
  • Accommodation in Amsterdam
  • Complimentary student registration at the conference
  • Registration for a dynamic master class, held before the conference, to address these design challenges
  • Additional prizes will awarded on site

For more details, go and check the Student Challenge website and the PDF of the brief. You can follow the competition on Twitter under @ixdaSDC.

Service Design, The Force and Yoda


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

UX and Service Design in Lisbon

From UX to Service Design at UX-LX


I’m heading off to Lisbon tomorrow to run a workshop at UX-LX in Lisbon called From UX to Service Design. It’s only 3.5 hours, so I’ll mainly be working with the participants on service design blueprinting.

I’m really looking forward to the conference, which has great lineup and everyone sense is a fantastic event put together by the tireless Bruno Figueiredo and his team.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on if you have a ticket or not, the conference and the workshop are both totally booked out, so there is a slim chance that you will be able to get in now. There is a waiting list though. If you are a participant or just at the conference, do come and say hello and, as Rosenfeld Media are sponsoring the conference, we have a 25% discount code for our book, which I can whisper in your ear! Or just keep an eye out on Twitter, because it’ll be there soon enough.

Service Design Drinks, Lisbon

Logo SDD Lisboa SlideFilm848be3

I’ll also be giving a talk on the same evening, May 16th, at Service Design Drinks, Lisbon along with Jon Kolko, which I’m looking forward to. We’ll both do a short presentation and then we are simply going to have a chat with each other and the audience.

I believe this one still has some spaces. It’s all very informal and you can bring your own bottle(s). It starts at 19:45 and is hosted by the generous folks at FANQ. You’ll need to register on the Eventbrite link.

We have also discount code for attendees to this too, so collar me and I’ll let you know. Or, you know, Twitter…

Presenting a nested set of meta-principles for service design

A rather last minute post to mention that I’m on my way to the EAD Crafting the Future Conference at the HDK, School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, Sweden today. The conference starts tomorrow, 17th April, and runs until Friday 19th April.

I’ll be presenting an academic paper, A nested set of meta-principles for service design (PDF), which ties together some of my ideas about interactivity from my PhD with service design. This will form part of the discussion in the Craft of design in design of service track.

The way this is structured is that all the other participants read each other’s papers before the conference and then discuss them there, making the best use of the face-to-face time. This is so much better than just going to hear people read out their papers and having little time for discussion afterwards.

You can download all the papers here. There are some really insightful ones, so it’s worth a look and they’re not all academically dry and theoretical either. Practitioners will find some useful insights too.

If anyone I know from the service design scene or from Gothenburg is around, send me a tweet and we can try and meet up. Or just come and say hello. I look like just that logo of my head up there an pretty much as pale thanks to this long winter we’ve had.

Webdagene 2012 Notes and Slides

webdagene badge

From UX to Service Design workshop

Thanks to everyone who took part in our From UX to Service Design workshop at Webdagene 2012 today. As promised here are the notes and slides.

The workshop outline including the brief.

Andy’s notes: Service Design Insights, Blueprints, Experiences & Prototypes

Lavrans’s notes: An Introduction to Service Design Blueprinting

You can find some information about the New Deichman on their blog and the video that Knut Skansen showed on Vimeo here.

Designing for People vs Screens

Here is the PDF version of the slides from my talk, Designing for People vs Screens and I believe Webdagene are also putting up versions on their Slideshare channel.

Update: Webdagene have now uploaded the video and Slideshare slides of my talk. The video is embedded below:

Service Design Workshop at Webdagene, Oslo

If you’re involved in Web work and UX and interested in Service Design, live|work’s Lavrans Løvlie and I will be running a workshop on service design at the UX conference, Webdagene on Wednesday 26th September. I’ll also be delivering a keynote on Friday 28th.

The conference site details are in Norwegian (there is some overall info in English here), but I’ll obviously be speaking and doing the workshop in English, until someone invents a Matrix-style language upload direct to the brain.

Speaking at Webdagene, Oslo, 26-28 September 2012


I am very pleased to announce that I will be giving a keynote talk on Service Design at Webdagene, billed as “Norway’s premier conference for web communicators with an expected 300 attendants in 2012.”

The conference is hosted and organized by Netlife Research, a leading Norwegian user experience consultancy and has had some pretty rocking speakers in the past, including Dan Roam, Jared Spool, Aarron Walter, Gerry McGovern, Stephen Anderson, Brian Sollis, and BJ Fogg. This year I’ll be in the company of Oliver Reichenstein, Des Traynor, Angela Morelli among others.

Designing for People vs. Screens

The theme of the conference is “Vs.” which of course sets up a slightly combative vibe, very much intended to get discussions going. My talk is “Service Design: Designing for People vs. Screens” or, in Norwegian, “Service design: Å designe for mennesker vs. for skjermer,” which sounds much cooler.

As someone with a background in interaction design who has moved into service design and who now teaches a lot of product design students, I find the conversations along the lines of “Isn’t service design just UX or IxD, etc.?” tend to be focused on screen-based experiences and this is a real point of difference in service design.

My talk will cover a some of the material and thinking in our Rosenfeld Media book, which may just be out around that time (if we hit our deadlines!). Here is the description I wrote in English (the Webdagene website is mainly in Norwegian):

Web and UX design has championed the user-experience over the past decade or so, but the domain in which they have been working is largely screen-based. Users and customers do not use these websites, applications and devices in a vacuum, but in the context of messy, complicated lives and service ecosystems. A well-built car-sharing website and smartphone app is only part of the challenge, for example. If the car is a pain to unlock in the rain or there are no designated parking spaces in the city, the service will suffer or fail.

We instantly recognise the design craft and appeal of an iPhone or a Porsche, but why are our experiences with telcos, insurance companies, airlines, etc. so poor? The answer is usually that they have just happened and have not been deliberately designed. Service design is the design for experiences that reach people through many different touch-points, and that happen over time, not just screens. It provides a powerful set of methods that help map out the entire service ecosystem and people’s journeys through it in order to design a coherent experience. Web and UX designers have an opportunity to expand on their existing skills to push upwards into designing with people instead of just for them.

But wait! There’s more. A Workshop with Lavrans and I.

I’m also really looking forward to running a workshop at the conference on the 26th called From UX to Service Design with one my co-authors and friend, live|work’s Lavrans Løvlie. Here’s the English description of what we’re planning:

The differences between service design and UX [or web design?] are best understood by trying to do it. This workshop introduces participants to the main principles and methods of service design through a practical, hands-on approach. Using a surprise theme as a starting point, participants will go out and do some quick and dirty insights research, bring their results back to the studio and map them out in a service blueprint. Having spotted the potential failures and opportunities, they will have to sketch up service propositions and touchpoints before presenting it all as a coherent experience by the end of the day. It will be fast-paced and jam-packed, but by the end participants will have designed a service or died trying.

I’m looking forward to it and hope to meet some of you there. I’ll report back on the rest, assuming I understood any of the Norwegian.