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I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer! As the seasons change, September always fills me with that fresh start feeling. It’s that nostalgic sense of heading back to school equipped with a brand-new pencil case, stationery, and warmer clothes. It’s the traditional time to begin learning, with colleges and universities welcoming learners to their campuses.

It’s also the time of year when we start to root out new TV series, boxsets, and films for the winter nights ahead.

That fresh start feeling has inspired new perspectives in our course offerings, which can help tackle organisational problems and provide the skills to do things differently.  With the unique set of challenges everyone is facing right now, we need to lose assumptions about the nature of work and how it is organised.

The beauty of Service Design, it that it’s for absolutely everyone.  It takes the creative tools in a designer’s kit and makes them accessible to all. If you have a problem, and a user in need of a solution, the process will open you up to innovative possibilities you hadn’t previously considered.

In fact, service design has generated huge change in industries that aren’t typically associated with creativity. The Service Design Academy has worked with leaders and teams in national & local government, finance, education, insurance, health care and charities, empowering them to adopt a human centred perspective and make innovation a way of life.

Right now, we have a great opportunity to shape ourselves and our workplace for the future so that come the Spring, we’re ready to bloom and grow and welcome back the sunshine.

However, if you are tempted to think that your business is fine, relying on the same old strategies to deliver future success, remember the history of Blockbuster and Netflix

Blockbuster store

Within the past decade, there isn’t a better example of a business that has pivoted based on customer preferences, wants, and needs, than Netflix. And there’s no better example of a business that didn’t, than Netflix’s competitor Blockbuster.

If you’re a child of the ’80s or ’90s, a trip to the Blockbuster video store was a staple ritual in planning your weekend entertainment.

The massive video rental chain was a one-stop shop where you could hire a video while picking up your popcorn and sweets to enjoy a cinematic experience in the comfort of your own living room.

At the height of its popularity in 2004, there were more than 9,000 Blockbuster stores around the globe with over 500 in the UK alone.

At that time Netflix was a service that delivered movies to customers direct by mail.  Netflix’s model was innovative, but when cable companies started offering movies on demand, no one wanted to wait the delivery time when you could stream whenever you wanted.

How both companies responded to this market change defines the difference between traditional and agile business models.  It’s also why business leaders must constantly engage with customers to stay relevant and drive innovation.

Blockbuster held on to its business model, by using service design, Netflix became an on-demand streaming site, facing up to the competition by meeting customer needs and expectations.

It didn’t stop there.  Recognising the value of service design and design thinking to continuously improve its business model, Netflix encouraged teams to delight customers through new opportunities to drive better engagement and new revenue.

Netflix then quickly moved to create unique content, recognising that customers were hungry for better and more provocative content – series and movies that would never be shown on mainstream television – shows like Orange is the New Black, Dahmer, and Ozark.

Netflix changed again in 2016 completely rebuilding its interface to offer trailers that launched as the customer started scrolling, capturing customer attention from the second they landed, and doing away with still images or a series of posters.

They also leveraged AI and predictive analytics with “Because you watched …..” creating a unique experience for every viewer based on their viewing habits. This set customer expectations for every other entertainment company!

Every one of these innovations came from empathising with their customers, using service design to discover again and again, what every customer wants to experience when using the service.

In 2013, Blockbuster went into administration and by December that same year, and unable to find a buyer for the business, the remaining stores were closed.  Netflix has 200 million customers worldwide.  

That’s the power of service design.

Business transformation and creating a culture of innovation aren’t easy tasks. Fortunately, we have industry-leading resources that can help you. Our experts are constantly creating courses and tools to reimagine the business world as a more innovative, supportive place for everyone.

If you’re looking for a new approach to business challenges, intent on engaging with your communities, interested in learning how to innovate and problem-solve, or future proofing by becoming agile and flexible, our courses offer a hands-on, learn by doing insight into the process of service design. You’ll learn how it drives success, relaying stories from innovative organisations who have used service design and design thinking to gain a competitive advantage in their industries.

Our method is simple and scalable.  Which is why we are the world’s first Service Design Network Accredited Organisation.  If you’re ready to innovate and change the way you work, you can start today, and we can help you move quicker than you ever thought possible.

Get in touch to arrange a chat. We’d love to help.

Contact info@sda.ac.uk

The cost to business of having to address poor customer service shows how important the quality of the experience is – it’s not just the product or price, the actual service experience really matters.

Nothing stands still, as the last few months have abundantly demonstrated. With the resignation of the Prime Minister, an increasingly turbulent business environment and the cost-of-living crisis, there is a prevailing sense of flux and uncertainty.

If we reflect on recent news events, there has been a series of very public and serious service failures. Whether it’s chaos at Heathrow, disruption on our public transport networks, reports of late or cancelled deliveries, patients waiting years to be discharged from hospitals, fire services unable to answers all their calls or hosepipe bans and drought – it is evident that service provisions are being pushed close to breaking point in several sectors across the UK economy.

This links closely to the results of the July 2022 UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) – a national benchmark of customer satisfaction covering 13 sectors and based on 45,000 customer responses. 17.3% of customers experienced a problem with an organisation, the highest level ever recorded in the UKCSI.

The cost to business of having to address poor customer service is an astounding £9.2bn per month. This shows how important the quality of the experience is – not just the product or price. The actual service experience really matters, as household and business budgets become more squeezed.

These issues have been building for some time. A well-worn phrase, but 100% true is: “the definition of madness is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”. Yet some organisations are stuck in the status quo – continually aiming to treat the basic problems in the same way and hoping for a different outcome.

Despite these chaotic times those who stay true to their customer service principles will weather the storm and position themselves as leaders in their fields.

Information about ikea stores

The reality is, with over £9bn in staff time wasted every month handling customer complaints – the business case for investing in service has already been made. Instead of cutting back, now is the time to be truly considering our long-term people and service strategies.

We can address these issues by investing in the right type of technology and people, but it is not one at the expense of the other. By undertaking the right training and development to ensure staff feel genuinely connected to the purpose of the organisation and able to act to improve the customer experience, organisations can not only enjoy better employee engagement and improved customer satisfaction, but also considerable productivity savings.

The summer months have given the team as SDA a chance to stop, reflect, and focus. It’s been our time for a re-set and re-think; genuinely adopting new and creative solutions and seeing service failures as an opportunity to learn strategically. From the challenges faced by our learners and customers, we’ve been discussing the importance of getting things right first time and of course the law of unintended consequences which can impact us all.

In planning our 22/23 training and education offering, we’ve been listening to our learners and customers through 121 meetings, calls, and feedback surveys. From this we are developing a streamlined, scheduled, and customised offering fit for the challenges and opportunities they’ll meet.

Our customers recognise that having a skilled workforce in these tough times to design services with the user at the heart will lead to satisfied customers and more efficiencies. This is reflected in growing demand with our Professional Development Award (PDA) selling out for August and new courses now being advertised for October 22 and January 23.

Find out more in our PDA Course Page

Does your organisation need a strategic pathway for growth and innovation, with service design as the foundation? Or do you need support yourself, as an aspiring or developing service designer, to drive the change needed?

Get in touch to arrange a chat. We’d love to help.

Contact info@sda.ac.uk

Changeworks is partnering with three housing associations to design an innovative new energy advice service for new tenants – with tenants themselves at its heart.

The project is being delivered in partnership with Changeworks, the Service Design Academy, Eildon Housing Association, Prospect Community Housing and West Granton Housing Cooperative. With the support of this new service, those moving into a new home will feel confident and secure in managing their energy and keeping their bills under control.

The innovate service design approach provides tenants with the opportunity to share their experiences and participate in the development of the new service. They will be joined by Housing Association staff members involved in managing tenant services, energy advisors and behaviour change specialists from Changeworks, and facilitators from the Service Design Academy.    

The project is funded by the William Grant Foundation and Changeworks and aims to create a scalable service that ensures tenants are energy confident as they enter a new tenancy. Once the service design phase is complete, it will be piloted across Housing Association partners at Eildon, Prospect and West Granton. 

Aidan Tracey, Low Carbon Communities Manager at Changeworks, said: “We know from our research that the majority of new tenants lack knowledge and skills to confidently manage their energy costs and ways to make their energy bills more affordable. This project will address this and design a service that creates energy confident tenants with the hope that it will prevent them falling into fuel poverty. 

We wanted to ensure tenants were central in this process and involved at the key service design stages. We’re thrilled to be working with our partners at the Service Design Academy, Eildon Housing Association, Prospect Community Housing and West Granton Housing Cooperative to make that a reality.”

Katie Murrie, Lead Consultant at the Service Design Academy, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Changeworks on this valuable project. Using a service design process for this project will empower tenants to fully participate alongside key Housing Association staff and Energy Advisors to ensure a robust and scalable service is designed.”

If you would like to find out more about the project, please contact Aidan Tracey via email at atracey@changeworks.org.uk.

For our interactive presentation at this year’s SCVO The Gathering we focussed on Assumptions and Biases and how these impact on our daily decisions when we are thinking about the services we deliver for our communities. 

The Gathering 2022 took place at Glasgow’s SEC on 15 and 16 June 2022, organised by SCVO, it’s the largest voluntary sector event in the UK. Over two days, amazing people from the voluntary sector and beyond came together to enjoy a packed programme of over 80 workshops, seminars, and training sessions.

2,000 delegates attended including voluntary sector staff, volunteers, board members and trustees from charities, social enterprises and community groups, politicians, academics and journalists, students, and members of the public. 

SDA joined forces with our partners at the Scottish Digital Academy, yes, that’s 2 x SDA’s, we know right! We find it confusing too 😊

Over 100 delegates heard from Dean Rhodes, Senior Agile Coach about the Digital Academy and its Enhanced Course Offer where they select partners to deliver courses where they lack expertise or the capacity to deliver programmes. The Service Design Academy is one of their key partners delivering Service Design education and training programmes.

Assumptions and Biases impact on our daily decisions.  It’s something we cover in all our courses.

We used a technique called Breaking Down Assumptions and there was a great buzz in the room when we revealed our first assumption based persona was Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister! What’s the point of assumption-based personas?  They let you see exactly what our brains do when presented with information and the biases we make and take from that information.

This slide reads - Where do our biases or assumptions come from? The bullet points read 1. People are naturally biased. 2. Even when we intend to be completely fair, our brains have a hard time remaining impartial. 3. Biases form because of the human brain’s tendency to categorise new people and new information. 4. To learn quickly, the brain connects new people or ideas to past experiences.

Source: https://cpdonline.co.uk/knowledge-base/business/controlling-overcoming-unconscious-bias/

We explained that our biases are influenced by our:

and that these can get in the way of designing inclusive services.  As Kat Holmes, Author of Mismatch : How Inclusion Shapes Design says, “the things we make reflect our biases”.

So how might we innovate to deliver better services for our communities?

If we take a co-design approach to designing services, we encompass various methods and communications which lead to meaningful participation in design. 


A group of 3 people standing in a room looking at two sets of 6 photographs on a wall. The photos are taken from social media accounts and the people are creating a persona about that person based on the photos they post

A group of 2 people sitting in a room looking a set of 6 photographs on a wall. The photos are taken from social media accounts and the people are creating a persona about that person based on the photos they post
A group of peope sitting and standing in a room looking at photographs. They are working in groups of 2 or 3. The photos are taken from social media accounts and the people are creating a persona about that person based on the photos they post

Photos courtesy of Dean Rhodes on Twitter

User’s voice is at the heart of co-design, where engaging service users in developing and deciding on solutions that will affect them is essential to its success.

Through the power of User Research and Co-Design we can:

1  Reduce risk

2  Drive out inefficiency

3  Engage all stakeholders (removing biases and
    assumptions)

4  Deliver Better Services

Thanks to everyone who signed up for, and attended our session, we look forward to continuing conversations with Scotland’s charities.

If you missed the session and would like a free copy of our slide deck please contact Maralyn Boyle

Welcome to a special news edition of SDA Insights. It’s your round-up of exciting things happening at SDA and some noteworthy items that have captured our attention in the wider Service Design world.

We know that your time is precious, so we’ll press on.

EduJam is back ……
In June Service Design Academy is a proud sponsor of EduJam, taking place live and in person at the wonderful V&A Dundee on the 10th, 11th and 12th of June.

If you’ve never jammed before………
A Jam is a creative space to explore ways to try out design-based approaches to problem solving, building networks. EduJam is inspired by GlobalJams and aims to provide an open and collaborative space for everybody passionate about the future of education. The Global Jams website tells you much more about the power of Jamming.

We’ll be joined by mentors including the founder of Global Jams, Adam St John Lawrence, co-author of “This is Service Design Doing” and visual facilitator Andy Du Vale of WorkVisible.

How can you get involved?

1. Take a look at our EduJam website  to find more about the event.

2. Follow us @EduJamUK on Twitter and Instagram for live updates.

3. Book now. There are ticket options to suit every pocket and sponsorship of this event has ensured that your ticket price covers the cost of refreshments over the weekend. You can book your EduJam tickets now or please get in touch for more information at                      edujam@sda.ac.uk

edujam graphic

Service Design Academy Short Courses – in demand

Companies and individuals have been in touch enquiring about the next dates for our short courses in the summer. We’d like to find out from our community what works best for you.

You can read more about what to expect with Welcome to Service Design 1-day course and Service Design for Innovation and Impact 5-day course.

If you are ready to start your service design journey with our live and online courses please fill out the doodle poll below and we’ll be straight back in touch.

Anyone who expresses an interest will get a 15% discount when booking.

girl with laptop
woman pointing to text

Inclusive And Accessible Design – Our new 2-day course is booking now 1st and 8th June – 10am – 4pm

This 2-day online introduction to Inclusive Design course has been developed and designed with industry experts and those experiencing barriers every day.

It’s perfect for any individual or group of colleagues to learn how a design approach can be used to improve the services, products, and experiences they deliver. Not only this but learners will leave with a plan to start to work more inclusively

You can read Inclusive and Accessible 2-day course information

You can book  Eventbrite: Inclusive and Accessible Design 2-day course

Not quite what you need? Find out more and register interest in all Service Design Academy short courses

Co-creating an innovative and sustainable framework to support community led projects

We’re delighted to share our recent work with The Wood Foundation and Russell Anderson Development School (RADS) through the Service Design Network Case Study Library. You can find out how we facilitated the creation of a new framework for community led projects which connect, engage and support young people in new ways through sport.

Read Service Design Network RADS Case Study to find out more.

Scottish Public Sector:  invitations for SDA to tender for service design training and education can now be made through Public Contract Scotland through the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for Digital Technology Services Dynamic Purchasing System – Lot 1. This DPS is available for Scottish Government, Councils, Colleges and Universities, health, third sector and other public sector organisations.

Good Luck Rory
After a year of Kickstart work experience, Rory Mertes, our Digital and Marketing Assistant has moved on for new and exciting opportunities.  The team wish Rory all the very best as he leaves his legacy of video resources we’ll continue to share. Ranging from the “Valued Voices” series to backgrounds on our courses, Rory has left a video record of SDA in action for us to build on.

Have a dip into the Service Design Video Library  

Don’t forget to join over 1,000 subscribers of our Service Design Academy Youtube channel who watched nearly 6,000 hours of our content last month. 

Professional Development Award Reflective Survey

Although we gather feedback regularly throughout learning labs and in 121s with our students to shape development and delivery of the course, we are keen to understand more about the longer-term impact from the course from students completing the course in the past 18 months. 

We were delighted to receive a 100% 5 star rating from respondents on recommending Service Design Academy to colleagues.

The comments below reflect motivations, expectations and impact of the course.

“Having no formal service design qualifications, the PDA was a great opportunity to get a qualification and foundation of knowledge relevant to my role while still delivering what I needed to be in my job”

“I hoped to gain a better understanding of the tools and methodologies and to become a confident and competent Service Designer”

“One huge change is the mindset of understanding customer needs first before focusing on a specific solution, the other big takeaway for me is being able to go on the journey of identifying these needs, exploring them deeper and ideating around potential outcomes before trialling and prototyping solutions”

When it came to asking for 3 words to describe the experience – this board says it all!

For more information about this survey or the Professional Development Award starting in August 2022 or January 2023, please get in touch info@sda.ac.uk

Have a look at Professional Development Award in Service Design Information (including Rory’s video!)

Service Design Network Accreditation

We are delighted to announce that Service Design Academy has been awarded organisational accreditation by the Service Design Network for the next three years.

In 2020 we were the first SDN accredited organisation in the world, and this is now a strong validation and recognition by the Service Design Network of the developing authority and quality of Service Design Academy in the provision of the following services at a consistently high standard to offer service design training and consultancy.

As a result of a successful accreditation, Service Design Academy will be recognised and promoted as a high-quality partner of the SDN and the SDN Academy, joining an exclusive and esteemed international network of outstanding SDN accredited organisations.

We want to thank Birgit Mager and Carolina Corona for their support and look forward to working together to build a global community of changemakers.

Read Service Design Academy Accreditation blog to find out more.

Learning Fest 22

The Service Design Network’s first ever student led Learning Fest (SDNLF22) is on the 21st and 22nd May.

The SDNLF22 is an international virtual conference connecting the next generation of service designers. Open to all disciplines, our goal is to facilitate learning and push the boundaries of service design to foster growth, together in synergy.

To find out more and register SDNLF22 details and booking form.

Learn Fest Graphic

Please do share and invite your colleagues to join our mailing list with Service Design Academy’s contact form

Please get in touch with any Service Design news you’d like us to share in our next issue info@sda.ac.uk

It is easy to understand the direct impact of Customer Experience on business success.  If a customer isn’t happy, it’s likely you’ll never see or hear from them again.  But the relationship between happy employees and their impact on growth and business performance is less obvious.  

Employee experience has never been so important for both employees and organisations.

We’re witnessing a generational change in the way we work and, in the employee/employer dynamic which we’ve only previously experienced following huge disruption, or industrial and technological revolutions. Now more than ever, preserving and protecting employee experience is a responsibility shared across the board and throughout leadership.

graphic with people

Designing a powerful employee experience isn’t simply a tick box exercise for the HR team, it can have a significant impact on many aspects of an organisation. Research from MIT Centre for Information Systems Research shows that companies with the best employee experiences see dramatic business benefits when they get employee experience right.

 

graphic with people working

Companies who invest in Employee Experience, do four things, they:

1.Put people first

Start with an understanding of the people delivering a service, their needs, strengths, and aspirations

 2.Improve engagement

Recognise organisations as collections of human beings who are motivated by varying perspectives and emotions, they emphasise engagement, dialogue, and learning.

3.Collaborate and co-create

Work together and get inspired by what others are doing

4.Connect and Change

By involving staff in the definition of the problem and the development of solutions they garner a broad commitment to change.

It all starts with Design

Ultimately taking a service design approach to your employee experience will lead to noticeable benefits because developing great employee experiences isn’t a one size fits all approach people are different, companies are different and even in one business, roles and functions are different.

It is about treating people like people and understanding what detracts from people having a really positive experience at work whoever they are and whatever they are doing.

Interested in Designing your People Experience?

Check out https://www.sda.ac.uk/service-design-for-employee-experience/ or

Get in touch https://www.sda.ac.uk/contact/

Co-creating an innovative and sustainable framework to support community led projects through Service Design

INDUSTRY* Education, Third Sector, Health, Wellbeing and Sports.

The Challenge:  The Wood Foundation wanted to support the creation of a new framework for community led projects which connect, engage and support young people in new ways through sport.

The Approach:  A service design learning programme covering user research methods, ideation, prototyping, and implementation support built skills and capabilities to identify the needs of young people and radically re-think provision to co-design innovative new projects.

The Outcome: One charity re-designed their service provision, business planning & operations. Service Design provided space, process & an opportunity to reflect, reset and refocus  on providing high quality support for young people in some of the worst areas of deprivation in Scotland.

The Impact:  Pilot programmes included initiatives that enabled young people to connect with sport by providing appropriate clothing, mental health support, food education, young leaders, and work experience programmes, broadening the scope of support and the ages of young people involved.

Re-imagining funding and support opportunities

The Wood Foundation (TWF) has offered strong financial support for many years to the health, fitness, and wellbeing of young people in Aberdeen. Just one example is the Russell Anderson Development School (RADS). RADS provides quality fitness and health coaching to young people aged 4 -11 in one of Aberdeen’s most deprived areas. As well as increasing opportunities for exercise and encouraging healthy lifestyles, the coaching programme supports communication, social and life skills.

TWF recognised the opportunity for its support to evolve towards the development of more innovative and sustainable projects to meet the challenge of improving the health and wellbeing of young people in the community.

TWF wanted to develop and support a new framework of community- led projects that concentrates on what communities need, rather than dictating where funds will go or asking organisations to bid against each other for funding. They envisaged enabling collaboration and connection across the city for the benefit of young people.

By building the skills sets and capabilities of health and wellbeing partner organisations to fully meet the needs of young people in their communities, it is hoped that the partner organisations will collaborate, as well as involving their communities and team, on the co-design of new and innovative project proposals. Critically, they should build resilience through discovering new sources of sustainable income.

The Service Design Learning Experience

The Service Design Academy (SDA) worked with TWF to identify a shared problem statement, to connect partner organisations while learning the service design process. Five full days of interactive, engaging and impactful sessions were delivered online, for delegates, alongside representatives from TWF.

The sessions were designed to fully engage delegates with group work to encourage shared thinking and collaborative working. Service design principles influenced the workshop design positively with an equitable approach – all voices must be heard. The activities promoted group and independent discovery.

“How might we work together to remove barriers for young people and co-create new, exciting, and innovative ways to positively challenge sport, health and wellbeing in Aberdeen?”

Embracing the learning for success

The process was much more than just training, it enabled delegates to practice service design tools on organisational problems, ideate solutions, develop, and test their ideas in an atmosphere that was conducive to collaboration rather than competition. RADS have

graphic with yellow post its

To support partner organisations SDA hosted individual data analysis and reflection meet-ups 4 weeks after the workshops. These allowed organisations to reflect on their time with SDA and start to formulate plans and proposals for funding to present and share. 

This was an integral part of the process, that enabled SDA to identify where additional support was needed but also to gain invaluable feedback on delivery approaches, learning materials and facilitation

Service Design Outputs and Outcomes at RADS

RADS had taken the opportunity to stop, reflect and re-design their future services. They built service design into regular meetings, providing an equitable and creative space for the rest of the team to join the service design journey.

User research and the ideas generated were the catalyst required to drive change with purpose and momentum.  RADS prepared a service journey map, co-created new “Pilot Light” initiatives and collectively ranked their priorities, planning each topic with a service design approach, even creating personalised service design tools inspired by their experience through the training.

A Business Model Canvas created a new proposal based on the acronym STEPS = Social, Thinking, Emotional, Physical Activity and School.  This was a collaborative effort giving everyone input, including schools, teachers, young people, and families to design the best initiatives possible. 

bullet point text

Radically improving and expanding service provision

Four months later, the impact of embedding service design across the organisation is clear.

RADS have completely changed the way that they work involving Trustees, volunteers, and coaches at a strategic level and giving their young volunteers a platform to grow in ability and confidence.

RADS work is targeted to focus on local areas with high deprivation levels, and their mission was never to gain new business but to radically improve and expand on their services. Service Design has allowed them to do this, but also identified those who require their support, but for whatever reason, were previously unable to take part.

graphic with quotes

Many of these children have very little “discipline” and family guidance to attend after school clubs, RADS are delighted that they will have a purpose and a means of “getting young people off the streets” and into meaningful and impactful programmes.

children playing sport
wall with quotes

SDA consultants supported different learning styles, were mindful of differing levels of comfort and experience that the delegates had collaborating remotely. The skills, expertise and lived experience from the delegates contributed to the workshop outcomes. The collaborative processes created an environment where everyone had a role to play in innovation and improvement, a new culture that allowed people to imagine alternatives and allowed them to come to fruition.

KEY TAKEAWAYS…

…FOR PRACTITIONERS

…FOR PROVIDERS


– Data analysis and reflection meet-ups 4 months post-training, provided a short timeline which encouraged the partner organisations to take next steps quickly and allowed SDA continue support going forward.

– Facilitating collaborative working across organisations, previously seen as ‘competitors’, helped to solidify their common goal and created a network of allies to provide support across their shared area of work.


– Iteration is a huge part of the way RADS work now.

– Improved relationships with schools.

– Gained a huge confidence boost, especially regarding creativity.

– Adapting and collaborating much better as a team.

– Have engaged in new partnerships

 

AUTHOR

Katie Murrie, SDA Lead Consultant
k.murrie@dundeeandangus.ac.uk  

Claire Hartley, SDA Consultant 
c.hartley@dundeeandangus.ac.uk  

Last month we welcomed Rory Mertes to our Team.  Rory joined us as one of many young people across Scotland looking for work experience through the Kickstart Scheme.  He’s taken up a new role of Media & Marketing Assistant and he has been a real superstar so far.  Read Rory’s story in his own words here.

Kim Anderson, SDA Consultant has been helping Rory to settle into his new role. As well as service design, Kim is passionate about accessible and inclusive design, she is continually developing her knowledge and skills in both these growing areas. She believes that all services should be inclusive and accessible and is proud that this thinking is at the heart of the design approach at the SDA.

 As our expert on accessible and inclusive design, Kim put together some top tips for Rory to help him in his work and we thought we’d share them with you.

Top tips for accessibility

Woman with laptop

Colour

Contrast 

A good colour contrast on text, images or graphics, makes it easier for people who have visual impairments, colour blindness as well as those viewing on small badly lit mobile screens to see the content better and easier.  You can check the contrast of any two colours using this online tool, there are different values for size of font and graphics. This tool will give you a pass or fail for all of these.

Combinations to avoid 

Green & Red; Green & Brown; Blue & Purple; Green & Blue; Light Green & Yellow; Blue & Grey; Green & Grey; Green & Black. These can be hard for people who are colour blind to see.  Helpful article on colour designing for colour blindness

Images

ALT text 

Alternative text or ALT text should be assigned to all images on social and the website. This text gives users that use assistive technology a short description of the image where they cannot view it. Best practice for creating ALT tags

Text

Font

Open sans is the SDA brand font, this font is considered to be accessible and easy to read.

Alignment 

Larger pieces of text should be left-aligned, this makes it easier for people who are dyslexic to read and follow.

Underlines

Text should only be underlined when it is a link (hyperlink), otherwise it can be confusing for users who expect it to act as an active link.

Capitals

Capitals should be used sparingly and only for small pieces of text. The use of capitals can make it harder to read, for example for those with dyslexia it can make it hard to distinguish between the words. When you use Sentence Case or small case people read by the shape of the letters/combinations in words, blocks of text in capitals removes these shapes making it hard to read.

Social post specific

A handy article here:

Best practice is to include small amounts of text in images if any at all

If text is included in the image, it should be included in the body text of the post as well. Here are a few examples

example of social posts

ALT text on social:

You can add ALT text on social images.

Linkedin                    Twitter                       Instagram

Hash tags

When using hashtags use CamelCase which has capitals on each word – For example: #ServiceDesign (not #servicedesign)

This makes them easier to read and works better with assistive software.

We hope you found these useful. If you’d like to hear more about the challenge and opportunities that arise from implementing Inclusive Design, Kim will be part of an expert panel with Vanquis Bank (details and link in the Events section below).

We’re recruiting

The demand for education and training in service design just keeps on growing. Recruitment is well underway for the PDA in Service Design starting in August and we have an expanding list of clients looking for us to deliver tailor-made programmes to empower their teams. If you’re interested in working at SDA, please apply. Applications close : Friday 28th May.

Great short reads

When we fail to understand the relationships that exist between our organisation and the people we interact with it - we compromise our ability to deliver great services

3 essential relationships that help us deliver great services

https://www.smaply.com/blog/essential-relationships

How might we create a non-judgmental space where teens can press pause and seek help?

https://www.designkit.org/case-studies/8

Events worth planning for

Service Design Day 2021

https://www.service-design-network.org/sdday

Designing for Inclusivity with Vanquis Bank

https://www.meetup.com/ux-playground-the-user-experience-meetup/events/278003654/

June 9, 2021
7:00 PM to 8:15 PM GMT+1

Join Kim Anderson, SDA Consultant to experience the challenge and opportunities that arise from implementing Inclusive Design and be part of the creative solutions that the Vanquis Bank team explores during this journey. 

Digital Leaders Week

https://week.digileaders.com/

14-18 June 2021

Take part, because those with the answers and those who are driving forward digital transformation in the UK are speaking, running workshops, sharing the very best practice and offering solutions that are practical and real.

As always, we’d love to hear if:

You have an article to share with our community of changemakers

You have an event happening and want to spread the word

You’d like to talk about any of our courses or business course funding opportunities

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

This issue is dedicated to the journey you are taking as a changemaker. Once you start adopting service design tools and methodologies, you’ll probably find yourself reflecting on your old ways of thinking and working. That’s a good place to be, indeed it’s our aim!
 
We have witnessed transformations in people and teams who have embraced service design. They:

are aware and equally wary of functional silos

create multidisciplinary teams and give all experts an equal voice

are more holistic and able to understand the bigger picture

embrace uncertainty

co-design with their staff, customers and stakeholders

maximise realism and minimise self-deception

have an open and curious mind

have fun while working

"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it'll always get you the right ones.”

John Lennon

You should treat service design like a trusted friend who has been in your situation many, many times before.

Like a true friend, service design is ready to ask difficult questions and push you out of your comfort zone. The service design tools provide a starting point, a guide, and a robust set of processes to take you on a journey.

We can use service design to: 

put users at the very heart of a business

bring customer centricity and an experimentation culture to internal process development

create a shared language and an agile and customer focussed way of working

augment the nature of our role and relationship with customers, seeking alternative mechanisms to meet customer needs and thereby better manage demand

identify services or areas that will benefit from a service design approach and where specific projects can be supported and improvements delivered

That true friend will help you:

with an easy toolbox to adapt and apply to different types of services, work and life situations

as a proven tool to create new, innovative services in a fast, efficient, and holistic way

as a guide on how to create new ways of working in the digital era

to ensure that you have looked at your service from all relevant angles

to introduce a shared language and a common methodology to a multidisciplinary team

as a visible, fast and easy way of communicating your work to other people, and encouraging them to give relevant feedback

Like all true friends, they’ll support you, rather than do the work for you to have: 

a creative and results-oriented mindset. The tools will never create awesome results by themselves. At the end of the day, you, and your team drive performance 

a humble attitude. You must be willing to throw away precious or sacred ideas 

the ability to listen to your customers and colleagues

the confidence to deal with irrelevant and obtuse feedback

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

Socrates

At the Service Design Academy, we believe that the ability to question, be curious and interrogate is as important as knowing the methods and mapping the journeys.
 
Our accredited education programmes are developed for learners to grow as confident design thinkers and leaders.

We keep learning. We explore and learn from others. We research and test our ideas thoroughly and take time to reflect and change.
 
Visit www.sda.ac.uk to find out more.

Great short reads

5 benefits of making service blueprints when you build or improve a service
https://services.blog.gov.uk/2021/03/17/5-benefits-of-making-blueprints-when-you-build-or-improve-a-service/

What is Service Design and Why Does it Matter to Your Nonprofit? 2 Tools to help your business
https://www.exygy.com/blog/service-design-2-easy-tools-to-improve-your-organization

Scaling service design in organizations
https://www.smaply.com/blog/white-paper-scaling-service-design-in-organizations?mc_cid=1eff6fe1e7&mc_eid=67f9e63e3d

Service Design beyond design thinking, journey maps and personas
https://uxdesign.cc/what-i-wish-i-knew-as-a-service-designer-1f178933756c

Beyond the blueprint: methods for service design implementation
https://bootcamp.uxdesign.cc/beyond-the-blueprint-my-experience-with-service-design-implementation-18d9c5081bdd

Events worth planning ahead for

Service Design in Education Thinks & Drinks – 19 April
Helena Good and Ruth Cochrane will inspire with Daydream Believers new Creative Thinking qualification and resources.  Tickets free, but limited.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/thinks-and-drinks-daydream-believers-tickets-142892095103

Converge & Emerge – 14 May
The Great Open Space Gathering for System Changers
https://www.systemschange.fi/openspace/
 
Magnify – the inclusive design & research conference – October 6-7
https://www.magnifyconference.com/
 
Service Design Global Conference 2021 – October 21-22
Take a deep dive into the trending topics, insights and developments shaping the future of our practice. While details are still in the works, we guarantee you this online experience is not to be missed. Sign up for the SDN newsletter here

As always, we’d love to hear if:

You have an article to share with our community of changemakers

You have an event happening and want to spread the word

You’d like to talk about any of our courses or business course funding opportunities

Dundee and Angus College is determined to support local businesses and just one of the ways it can do that is by helping them make use of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund. This funding allows access to a suite of training specially designed to help businesses recover and flourish, from Service Design and Mental Health First Aid through to Management, Digital and Health & Safety.

Last year Jessica Chan, Business Development Manager at Shelter Scotland applied to the FWDF through D&A College. Jessica explains, “Shelter has an ambitious new strategy and we need to ensure we have the right skills and capacity to deliver our ambitions. We were keen to use Service Design to find new and better ways of working. Taking this approach has helped us better understand the needs of our client groups and we are looking forward to using the FWDF again this year.” 

coloured post its with text

Caron Sandeman, Service Design Manager at the Service Design Academy reflects on the process, “The availability of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund means businesses can access support to create better customer experiences and aid post-Covid recovery. This will be a year of rebuilding, and organisations must re-imagine, re-think and re-design everything that has gone before.”

Civil engineering contractor Kilmac has also benefitted from the FWDF. HR Officer, Sean Davidson explains, “This funding has given us the opportunity to advance our employees’ skills at all levels across the company. We selected training courses with a specific group of employees in mind. For example, HAVS, Dust and Noise Training helped our construction site staff increase their awareness around this very important aspect of their work. I opted for the Microsoft Excel course which has shown me an array of different functions I can use in my role, improving overall efficiency.”

coins with plants

Meanwhile, Bairds Malt offered various sessions to all its employees. Project Coordinator Isla Prentice says, “I found each training course very valuable as it allowed me to develop useful skills, most of which I was able to apply immediately at work. In particular, I found the Project Management course very informative and beneficial. It really helped with my performance and confidence in my new role.”

Caryn Gibson, Economics Partnership Manager at D&A College says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to think to the future. Whilst Covid has brought challenges it has also brought opportunities and an acceleration of the evolution of digital and technology. We would urge businesses to use this fund to upskill or reskill their workforce ensuring they have the internal skillset required to allow their businesses to benefit from these advancements.”

For more details visit: https://dundeeandangus.ac.uk/businesses/flexible-workforce-development-fund/