Archive by Author | Ann Padley

Growing a community

One of the things I’ve always loved about Service Design is that it’s not just a profession, it’s a community. Across the globe one can find a network of self-starters promoting Service Design and Design Thinking in all of its human-centered glory. These are the people planning Global Service Jams, conferences, Service Design Network chapters and creative cooperatives. And, these plans are usually just the beginning, mere tools forged by modern-day pioneers to ignite the fire of a new way thinking and a new way of doing.

2016 ushered in a new year of opportunity for service design. Now, in this sixth month as we gear up for summer holidays is a great time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and look forward to rest of the year to come.

In February, four SID Laurea students representing Spain, Germany, Hungary and America made waves on the Island of Ibiza, Spain by hosting its first ever Global Service Jam. Before the event, 85% of attendees had never worked directly with design thinking and nearly half of those had not even heard of it. After the event, a small but tight-knit community began to form on the island and has begun to meet regularly; a Jam sponsor and attendee is applying Design Thinking to develop a new service for her business; and a consulting team is adapting it’s working style, inspired by the collaborative and Design Thinking based Jam environment.

Since 2014 a small group of design thinkers in Tampere, Finland began meeting over lunch. There wasn’t an official group for Service Designers in the city, we thought there should be! That spark ignited and grew during a series of Service Design Meetups in January, March and May into an SDN Finland – Tampere City Team. The team will pick back up after the holiday season in Finland, sure to welcome new topics, case studies and connections.

Where have you seen our humble community grow in the first half of 2016? And, maybe more importantly, where will you help it grow?

Ann Padley
Service Innovation and Design MBA Student

Design Weekend

This month Futurice Tampere hosted a Design Weekend together with Tampere University of Technology Unit of Human-Centered Technology and Ubinet doctoral network. During the weekend I had the chance to learn from and work with UX design students.

What is UX?

Nothing is more telling than a real-life UX example, such as this excerpt of a UX job description at Twitter shared by Fast Company in 2012:

“Define interaction models, user task flows, and UI specifications. Communicate scenarios, end-to-end experiences, interaction models, and screen designs to stakeholders. Work with our creative director and visual designers to incorporate the visual identity of Twitter into features. Develop and maintain design wireframes, mockups, and specifications as needed.”

In short, a UX designer’s job is to deliver an exceptional experience for the end user while considering the technical implementation and keeping in mind the business application.

What is Lean UX?

Yes, we’re talking about “that” lean. The same lean used to gain efficiency in manufacturing plants across the world and in the latest start-up just around the corner.

Plain old UX can be heavy on deliverables such as lengthy requirements documents and in-depth wireframes. This documentation, some argue, shifts the designers focus away from the most important part of the work: the actual user experience (Gothelf, 2011).

Enter Lean UX. Its about being quick, nimble and avoiding waste. In place of lengthy requirements documents, it favors low-fidelity “deliverables” that help bring an idea to light more clearly, visually and, most importantly, faster.

What does UX have in common with Service Design? Continue reading

Playing with Legos®

On a recent FaceTime session with my five-year-old niece I was proud to report that I played with Legos at school this week. Yeah, my school is pretty cool.

Since then, I have been left wondering what it means that a five-year-old identifies with my day while I am still left struggling to convince some of my client’s executive teams I am doing more than playing with their money. Eager to gain insight into this question, I searched for a way to explain how designers balance the benefits of play and the design attitude within the context of more traditional business attitudes.


In a way, ‘playing with Legos’ is an analogy for the way others see Design Thinking. What some don’t see is when designers ‘play with Legos’ we are not replacing seriousness with play, but rather using play as a compliment and a method of visual communication (Michlewski 2015, 107).


During Katja Tschimmel’s workshop in the M62 methodology of Design Thinking, my team had many ideas both in our minds and on the Post-Its® covering the walls. Yet, it wasn’t until we began to visualize and play that we were able to work through more complex issues of our idea such as:

  • How was the concept different in each of our minds?
  • How would implementation work in a real environment?
  • What tools would be needed to implement the idea?
  • How would the stakeholders interact with one another?

In this fashion, playing with Legos was much more than play; it became an essential communication, innovation and experimentation tool. This is not only my experience, but also one shared by fans of the Lego® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology.


Just as playing with Legos served as inspiration, exploring the words and experiences of others reminded me of the importance of theory and research to accompany my learning.

Katja Tschimmel’s paper “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation” provided insight into the role of visualizing methods, such as playing with Legos, in building new perspectives that could otherwise not be realized through standard mental processes (Tschimmel, 2012).

Kamil Michlewski’s book Design Attitude gave me no new methodologies to test, however, it provided three major insights that are equally important to my development as a designer:

  1. This inherent need to prove my worth as a designer isn’t mine alone, it has a name: The professional project. In fact, the design field as a whole is in a stage where it “… strives to legitimize itself in the eyes of other professions, government bodies and the general public in order to achieve a certain social status.” (Michlewski 2015, 7.)
  2. The push for proven over innovative solutions is common. Michlewski explains it is “a direct consequence of consultants being billed on a daily rate and their subsequent need to optimize time spent on any assignment” (Michlewski 2015, 71). Considering my consulting background it is something I will remain keenly aware of and has inspired me to learn more about value-based pricing.
  3. As designers, we are not seeking a singular solution as if it is a rare gem waiting to be unearthed. Rather, we combine our own unique talents, the talents of our team, the insights of those we are designing for and the toolkit of our profession to create something entirely new.

In the end, I am left feeling inspired, reinforced in my career choice and determined to keep playing with Legos despite their misunderstood creative glory.

Ann Padley
Service Innovation and Design MBA Student

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

Michlewski, Kamil 2015. Design Attitude. Farnham, Surrey: Gower.