IxDA Limerick

Talk by Simon O’Rafferty – Service Design: Tactics and Pitfalls – 23 March 2015

Date & time: 23 March 2015, 7pm
Venue: Abbey Suite, Absolute Hotel, Harry’s Mall, Limerick

SUPPORTING LOGO 150dpi COLOURTalk abstract: Service design generally refers to the design of structures to support seemingly mundane daily practices such as buying a coffee, banking, getting a bus, voting, paying taxes, visiting a patient in hospital or being a patient in a hospital. While services typically have no physical form they are often embodied in the physical and digital products that we interact with and the social contexts within which we use these products.

Most services are not uniform and they tend to be multi-channel and distributed over time and place. Some of the services that we use have not been designed in the intentional sense but have emerged out of a combination of legacy systems, embedded social obligations and changing social practices. Many services go unnoticed until something goes wrong. The implications of something going wrong differs greatly and can range from a slightly longer queue at the coffee shop to millions of Euros being wasted through inefficient allocation of patients in a hospital.

As a designer, service design tends to increase the focus on the complex daily lives of people as the expectation is that you design the service through the lived experience of other people. This requires new ways of knowing and making sense of the experiences of people. Service design tends to be ethnographic and can be participatory by involving the co-design of services with people.

This talk will discuss the emergence of service design practice. It will focus on some of the design research methods that are used during service design – such as design ethnography, user journey mapping, personas and service blueprinting. It will present examples of these methods in the context of design for public services. In doing so it will highlight some of the practical aspects of service design alongside the political and contested spaces of service designing.

The talk will be useful for students considering new design research methods and tools but it will also be of interest to people that are just curious about what designers do.

Speaker: Dr. Simon O’Rafferty – B.Des (Industrial Design), MSc (Sustainable Development), PhD (Sustainable Design Policy)
Simon is a design researcher and social design practitioner. In 2014 he returned home to Ireland after almost ten years living and working in the UK where he was senior researcher at the Ecodesign Centre and co-director of social design agency Ark Lab.

Simon has acted as an advisor to governments, industry, third sector organisations and universities on design for sustainability and social innovation.

He has recently started a post-doctoral research fellowship on designing policies for sustainable behaviour change (www.openpractices.net) and is co-developing a new social innovation project called Voidstarter (www.voidstarter.com). This project is aiming to use empty housing as temporary training and learning spaces for unemployed young people and was one of three winners of the 2014 EU Social Innovation Competition.

Simon has published widely on design, design policy and sustainability. He is an expert evaluator for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme and has been an invited speaker on emerging design practice by organisations such as the BBC, British Council and UK Technology Strategy board.

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