Andy Polaine

Andy Polaine

Service Design & Innovation Training, Coaching, Keynotes

Hi, I’m Andy Polaine, a design consultant, educator, writer, keynote speaker, and podcaster.

For nearly three decades, I have worked in ‘digital’ across a wide range of design and innovation projects, including physical and digital interactons, service design, customer, employee and enterprise experiences, teaching, training and coaching in most industries you can think of across commercial and public sectors. You can read my full bio here.

Work with me

I work directly with clients who need help understanding, designing and innovating their customer service and employee experiences, from insight to implementation. I can help you with your transformation strategy and building or training cross-functional design and innovation teams through teaching and coaching.

If you’re interested in collaborating, please get in touch.

Workshops and Teaching

I have many years of experience planning, facilitating and teaching workshops. These include teaching groups new design methods and approaches, helping all stakeholders on a project generate and analyse insights, or kicking off change and innovation programs. Workshops can be for a small team of a few people, or for larger groups. I’ve facilitated groups of 80+ and can handle around 40 people on my own and give enough attention to all, but 15-20 is the magic size.

Mentoring and Creative Coaching

Much of my work is mentoring client teams 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 are floating and too vague and need some help with focus and structure. This kind of mentoring is generally tightly focussed on a particular project or issue.

Keynotes and Thought Leadership

I am a regular keynote speaker and presenter at conferences and at client events. It can be useful for leadership to hear an outside perspective when trying to a get a project off the ground with a new approach and to give them a taste of design doing, not just design thinking. Many things look easier said than done.

As one of the core writers of the Fjord Trends team, I provide strategic thought leadership and futurist forecasting for clients.

Writing, Podcasting & Academia

Throughout my career I have found teaching to be the best way to learn and writing a powerful path to creative thinking. I co-wrote the book Service Design: from insight to implementation, published by Rosenfeld Media—now one of the standard texts for Service Design—and have written over 160 articles and papers over the years.

I host Power of Ten, a podcast about design working at different zoom levels, from thoughtful detail to large ecosystems. I write a newsletter called Doctor’s Note that contains a mix of longer form essays and short musing on design, innovation, culture, technology and society. Some of it appears on my blog, but you can sign up here to get it first.

Officially, I’m Dr. Polaine. I wrote my PhD thesis about interactivity and play. Prior to my work at Fjord, I led the Service Design specialisation on the MA Design at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland. For more information on my academic life, writing and publications, take a look at the About Me section.


I have worked for many clients and international brands over the years. 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, Three UK, Mobiliar and International Peacebuilding Advisory Team, the Australian Tax Office, the Department of Human Services, Telstra, Optus, Qantas, ANZ, QBE and several others that I can’t publicly mention.

Photo credit: Leigh Whittaker

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