Service Design as a career – Perspective from an early age practitioner

Service Design is commonly understood as a process where the focus is to create optimal and holistic experiences for all the people involved in the Service, including customers and service providers. Service Design is about breaking the Service into smaller sections and tackling each section of the service around the user needs.

TEXT | Srushti Shah

However, as an emerging field still carving out its place in the innovation sector, Service Design has also gained different meanings from the people practising the field. They have created their understanding of the field based on the practices they do. In my experience of practising Service Design, I have realised Service Design as more of a behaviour/mindset with which we find the problems rather than a specific method in itself. My perspective of looking at the problems, conducting the research, talking with customers, is what helps me to define my idea of Service Design.

I started my career initially as an Industrial Designer. Being an Industrial Designer gave me an everyday opportunity of designing tangible products. Having tangible outcomes always made me feel assured of getting my job done. However, few years into the field I reflected and realised there is a gap between doing the work and knowing the purpose of the work. As an Industrial Designer, I was very well able to answer ’what’ am I designing through my work and now I had an urge to think about ’Why’ behind my actions.

The motive to find the’ Why’ behind my Design career is what made me pursue Service Design. From my knowledge about Service Design, I believed that Service Design can be an excellent bridge that would connect these factors of  ’what are we designing’ and ’why are we Designing’ and help us answer the bigger questions. Being a Service Designer would allow me to give a sense of purpose to my work and contribute towards meaningful work. 

As a Service Designer, I have been able to be part of all kinds of projects that are related to cultural organizations, educational institutions, creative sector development, business development, forming training courses and so on. Service Design in my practice has always been about finding the right problem to solve rather than jumping to find the solution fast. Through my education and on-field practices, I have realised Service Design as a holistic approach to problem-solving. It takes into consideration all the elements of a Service, and the voices of all the people from customers to service providers, resulting in taking inclusive decisions.

As a Service Designer, being part of these projects, allows me to connect closely with people and know about their actual emotions, the actions they take, the factors they base their decisions on, and the impact of those actions. The direct application of practising Service Design is conducting human-centred research in the cultural and educational field, using a design approach to introduce the field of Design itself. The indirect way where I subconsciously use the Design approach is to inculcating Designerly ways of working in an international organization, portraying the potentials of Design offerings.

How do I envision Service Design in the field of Education?

For me, my education in Design has equipped me with competencies to introduce Design ’in’ Education by ’Designing’ Education.

From left to right: My education in Design, arrow to rigth, Design In Education, arrow to right, Designing Education.

Being a Service Designer in the field of education gives me an opportunity to integrate Design in Education in not only in the traditional forms by transfer of knowledge from teachers to students, but also in the non-traditional ways of educating about Design to people from various fields and helping them to bring in Design in Innovation, even in the professional field. I get an opportunity to investigate into the current educational practices, and find an opportunity in the current Education system and implement Designerly ways in making the education system more effective.

With my interest in bringing innovation in educational sector and my professional career in Service Design, I am able to bring these fields together to tackling the meaningful challenges.

If you are keen on knowing more about Service Design and want to have a starting point

Is there a field that you are interested in and want to bring in Service Design to the field? Here are the 3 top tips to get started:

  • Develop wide understanding of the basics and fundamental elements of the Service Design field and network with people in the field to have further insights. This can be done using Service Design books and articles available online
  • Based on the information and insights gathered, start to implement slowly the fundamentals of Service Design in your current environment without waiting for the perfect moment to start.
  • Look into the ways where your existing skills can be combined with Service Design aspects. This will help you to better understand your role as a Service Designer and have clarity.

The links below will help you understand more about Service Design field and how to integrate it in your existing career path.

  •, referred on 2.9.2021

  • referred on 2.9.2021

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