The Idea Lab

The Idea Lab is an information resource for service designers, where we share knowledge, including models and tools. By helping to grow and nurture service design through ideas, we hope to bolster the field of service design and careers of service designers.

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Service Design News and Ideas

To Know User Centricity is to Understand Service Design

To Know User Centricity is to Understand Service Design

In 2017, Chicago-based aviation security officers forcibly dragged David Dao Duy Anh from his seat, injuring his face on an armrest and then proceeding to drag him up the aisle, an incident that caused the Vietnamese-American to lose consciousness. That episode seemed...

Setting Up Organizations to Succeed – Service Concepts

Setting Up Organizations to Succeed – Service Concepts

Wendy Stephens’ young daughter left her teddy bear at one of the parks or at their hotel inside Disney World Resort in Florida. This can spoil a memory of a Disney experience for a young one, including this seven-year-old. When they realized the precious stuffed...

On Gathering User Feedback: Feedback Plans

On Gathering User Feedback: Feedback Plans

Sometimes service designers poke at new ideas by asking user groups about their lifestyles, beliefs and trends. These can turn out well, but there are other sources for ideas. Yet when it comes to finding out how users are getting along with a service experience,...

Why We Need Quality Services

Why We Need Quality Services

Despite the gee-wiz techno gadgets and social media, Robert J. Gordon, a renown economic historian, argues that the era of information technology and internet communications has not been sufficiently productive to replace the innovation from industrialization during...

Why Services Fail: Not Customer Service!

Why Services Fail: Not Customer Service!

Improving customer service will rescue a failing service, some argue. Not true. Even though this notion fuels an entire industry around customer service, it is not based on solid ground. Friendliness, responsiveness . . . are all problems for HR, not designers....

Got an Idea for a Service? Here’s How to Evaluate its Merit

Got an Idea for a Service? Here’s How to Evaluate its Merit

It is so much easier to dismiss a new idea than explore its merit. Many organizations are risk-adverse and executives simply find it easier to say “no” to avoid disruption. That thinking, however, results in missed opportunities. Quickly evaluating new ideas helps...

Exceed User Expectations at your Peril

Exceed User Expectations at your Peril

Its plainly impractical to exceed user expectations, it sets up providers for failure when their services can no longer meet user expectations.

Prototyping Services Case Study: Storm Rescue Operations

Prototyping Services Case Study: Storm Rescue Operations

As Dorian moves its way up the U.S. coast, I’m reminded of our prototyping exercises for FEMA, our crisis communications team hunkered down for two weeks, devising plans for how FEMA would respond and operate its communications for future disasters

Smart Cities: Opportunities for Service Designers

Smart Cities: Opportunities for Service Designers

(Part of an ongoing series of potential service design opportunities.  International Service Design Institute) I am continually on a search for emerging opportunities for service designers. So far I’ve discovered service designers will be called upon to solve some of...

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