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SDA Insights Volume 5

This is late! We missed our June edition, things were busy, staff were getting ready for holidays. I remember when we used to say ‘winding down’ for the holidays but that just doesn’t seem to be the case anymore! Enough of the excuses, we’re back with some great insights, articles and events that are on the horizon.

No Boundaries, No Limits

Maralyn, our Business Development Executive talks every day with SDA customers, about the benefits of taking our accredited Professional Development Award. She shares the value of the course based on speaking to SDA Consultant, looking at course content and reading students’ stories and hearing their feedback. In April it was time to move from secondary research to experience the course first-hand. What’s the Professional Development Award with the Service Design Academy really like?

Maralyn is halfway through the 4-unit, six-month course. We asked her to share her perspective; someone with no service design experience who has returned to the classroom for the first time in a very long while!

 

Make the learning work for you

This was a different learning experience for me. Rather than the standard expectation I had from training – at best, giving things a go between chalk and talk – we’ve been taken through service design theory to set the context, then quickly on to tackle design challenges together.

Out of the classroom, the four assessments require a focus on work-based issues that will enhance my learning experience and be worthwhile for my organisation. If like me, you don’t design services as part of your everyday role, start thinking about issues that would benefit from your intervention. You’ll need to ask managers and colleagues for their time and support. By helping them understand your goals, you’ll gain buy-in from the beginning for you to learn while making a difference at work.

 

Pace Yourself

“Don’t leave your assessments to the last minute”, said SDA consultants Katie and Kim in our first introductory coffee shop. Did I listen? Of course not. However, I’ve learned to commit chunks of time during of time during the week, evenings, and weekends to avoid a mad dash on deadline.
All the planning and preparation you need is worth it. My visual portfolio will be a living document that will support my work, not a lifeless essay gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe. Your portfolio will become a tool to share your design progress with others, so it needs love, time and attention.

 

Small is beautiful

I had an idea of a work project that I’d like to use as my Tools and Methods assessment and had some great conversations with Katie about how to facilitate a small event with the team and with a customer. However, I did not plan the time well, it took much longer than I expected to get through the exercises. The insights I gathered were very useful to inform our customer journey, but I’ve learned to rein in ambition on getting lots done in one session. That’s all part of the service design mindset, progress is incremental and iterative.

Give, Take and Ask for Help

I was assigned a buddy for each unit. Buddies team up in the coffee shops, it’s a great way of sharing concerns, gaining clarity on the coursework, and getting reassurance if you’re having a wobble. I use the dedicated teams channel for my cohort to talk about problems I’m experiencing or material I don’t understand. It’s always helpful to hear from others about their progress.

The consultants share industry articles regularly to build our knowledge and understanding. Every PDA delegate gets free professional membership to the Service Design Network, which means access to a global community of practitioners, and many benefits including Touchpoint magazine and a wealth of case studies which have proven to be very useful for assessments. Service Design has a naturally sharing culture and this makes you feel a part of it.

 

Emojis

No boundaries, no limits

I’ve been guided by the service design mindset throughout the course. Planning user research – why not ask someone to look over it as your critical friend? Being clear on the purpose of what I’m doing, and how to share effectively with others is developing my communication skills. I’ve realised that the principles for ideation or co-design aren’t a checklist for how I should behave in a workshop. They guide how I want to work, and how I’ll approach engagement and building relationships. In over 20 years in sales and marketing, I’ve always tried to put the customer first. Service Design is helping me do this the right way.

Great short reads

Employee Experience exceeds HR by Noortje Hartman at Koos
It takes a village to design a service by Tero Väänänen, Head of Design at NHS Digital
So what exactly does customer experience mean by Nikki Gilliland, Ecoconsultancy
Deliver equity to the customer with ease by Shivika Sood

 

And lastly check out the Design Council’s  Design, Differently digital report. The project brought together community organisers to understand how they have been using design to reimagine and create local spaces and services, and how we could support them to do more of it. Supported by the Emerging Futures Fund, part of the National Lottery Community Fund, and Local Trust.
 
 
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