Service Experience Conference 2017 Closing Keynote

I had the pleasure of giving the closing keynote at the Adaptive Path Service Experience Conference 2017. There was a fantastic line-up of speakers and now all of the videos and decks are online on their summary of the conference.

I really recommend taking a look at all the talks, but I’ve embedded mine below (which might not work in the RSS feed):

Andy Polaine // Designing Living Services // The Service Experience Conference 2017 from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

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.

How Can Graphic Design Help Save The Planet?


(Click to enlarge)

I’m very pleased to have been asked by AGDA to speak at the first Design A Better World conference in Sydney with the tricky topic, “How Can Graphic Design Help Save The Planet?”

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what my position on that question is yet. I think it’s basically, “no”. But it depends on whether you emphasise the “help” part or “save the planet” part.

Graphic design alone can’t save the planet, but graphic (and other forms of design) can contribute to the process. Design can influence small behavioural shifts that amount to a big change when multiplied and that can be a powerful mechanism.

Most of the problems we have now are accumulations of many small behavioural changes – everything from packaging to energy usage. The standby light and mode on a TV is a design feature. It’s small and must have seemed like a great design decision at the time. Now we know it leeches small amounts of power in millions of homes and is a terrible waste of energy. So whilst it seems like designers only have the power to make minor changes, we’re in a position to influence behaviours (a highly debated topic at present) that magnify into big change.

Design can, however, make a big difference to individual people’s lives and that has a knock-on effect that is perhaps under-estimated. I plan to talk about some of those ideas and examples.

I hope that will be something different – it’s pretty scary being lined up against the excellent range of other speakers, many of whom are real graphic designers. As an interaction and service designer I think I might have different views, so it will be interesting to see how that conversation turns out.

In any case, it’s not really about saving the planet but our own species. This rock we’re spinning around on will be orbiting the sun long after we’re gone.

How Can Graphic Design Help Save The Planet? is going to be held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney on the 3rd August and all the details are on the Design A Better World site.

Interaction Forum ’09


I’m going to be giving a talk over at Interaction Forum ’09 at the Design School in Hildesheim next week (Tuesday 26th). If anyone is in that neck of the woods, come and say hello – maybe send me a tweet and we can catch up.

I’m going to be talking about play as guiding principles to interactivity, but I’m much more looking forward to listening to the other two speakers, Jona Piehl from Land Design Studio and Mark Hauenstein from AllOfUs.

Flash on the Beach 2009


I am thrilled to have been asked to present again at Flash on The Beach again this year. The info about my talk isn’t up yet (and fortunately that highly unattractive picture of me in the sidebar has been covered up with the text). I’ll be speaking about a deeper understanding of play based on my research over the past few years.

Play and playfulness has been a feature of quite a few designer’s talks in the past few years and has gained a lot of currency.This is all good, but much of it doesn’t really explore play in much detail and depth. An understanding of what constitutes play and how we know we are playing or are in a play space can be put to use in interaction and experience design across a much broader spectrum that the usual approaches.

Hope to see you there. For all the latest info, follow FOTB on Twitter.

Flash On the Beach Coda


I just returned from a fantastic time speaking at Flash on the Beach ’07. I’ve been to quite a few conferences over the years and this was by far the best I’ve ever been part of. John Davey really looked after everyone well and got together a brilliant line-up of speakers. My thanks to him and all the speakers for a great time.

I’m going to be writing a round-up piece for Creative Review, but briefly some of the highlights for me were Robert Hodgin’s incredible work using Processing, Brendan Dawes on how to break things and also Hillman Curtis and Neville Brody who both spoke much more about creative approaches than the tools.

For my part I gave a talk called Playful Revolutions, which took a look back over a whole load of work – a lot of it from the Antirom days (which was fun) – and looking at the importance of play in the creative and interactive process. It seemed to be a running theme in a lot of the talks actually. Flash has become a powerful and complex tool, but the danger with it is that it puts off people wanting to noodle about with it. I think it’s essential to break down those barriers so that more experimental work gets made because interactivity is still very young and there’s a lot left to discover.

The revolution in the title was also about how I’m seeing a lot of experiments and ideas that we played around with 14 years or ago or so coming round again. I think since flash has been able to manipulate bitmaps so much better coders and designers have broken free of the vector finally. In some respects its re-inventing the wheel, but it was clear that there is a whole younger generation of Flash people that don’t even remember tellTarget let alone Director and bitmaps – so it’s good to see this exploration. Either way, it just goes to show how much the tools influence the output.

I recorded almost all of the talks with my nice new Zoom H4 so the quality is pretty good. I also did a fireside chat with Brendan Dawes for a podcast.

I’ll put all those up as podcasts/downloads over the coming few days/weeks. UPDATE: I’ve been a bit slack on this because I’ve been so busy, but egotistically I’ve uploaded my presentation if you would like to hear it. You can download the MP3 of Playful Revolutions here or listen to it in the player below.

[tags]FOTB07, presentation, speaking, conference, flash, processing[/tags]