Businesses and organisations the world over are seizing the chance to re-imagine the way we do everyday things, to make them more accessible, enjoyable and productive for everyone. The tools and techniques they’re using vary widely, but some of the best fall under the umbrella of service design, and its flashier cousin design thinking.
This growing interest in service design is a Good Thing. Services are important. Better ones can and should be consciously designed with the customer and user at their centre, rather than left to emerge by default.
And as interest grows it is important that practitioners, advocates and other interested parties join together in communities of purpose to share their stories, find common ground and challenge each other. It helps if this process includes beer.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying, I’m really excited to announce that we’re bringing Service Design Drinks to Leeds.
Why Leeds? Well, in addition to my employer, we reckon the city hosts a critical mass of big businesses in the telecoms, retail and financial services sectors that are, or will soon be, waking up to the potential of service design. Add to this the strong public sector presence in our city, countless smaller agencies and service providers, academics and other interested parties throughout the wider region.
Some people who remember the North’s proud industrial past look down on the service sectors, as if it were morally superior to labour down a mine or on a production line than in a hospital, shop or call centre. I think they’re wrong. Surely it was in our cities, where people were first pressed together in great numbers, that our ancestors first faced the challenges of delivering good services – both commercial and social – repeatably and at scale.
So if Leeds, Yorkshire and Northern England are to claim a leading role in the future of the service economy we need to be building a strong and confident service design community.
The first Service Design Drinks in Leeds will take place on June 22nd at 6pm, at the Midnight Bell in Water Lane. Credit is due to Nick Marsh for creating the independent service design network and the already-successful London events. Also to Kathryn Grace and Tero Väänänen for working to bring it up the M1.
We’re aiming for an informal and lively get together open to everybody who is interested in Service Design and Design Thinking, in having inspiring conversations and in connecting with like-minded people while having some drinks.
By everybody, we mean everybody. Hope to see you there!