We asked practitioners and employers for the knowledge and skills required of a service designer.  For employers, we asked how they evaluate candidates. For service designers, we asked what knowledge and skills they used in their work. 

Basic Understanding –

  • That the premise of service design is to create reliable, satisfactory experiences for users, based on what is to be achieved for the desired outcome.
  • Recognition that services are made up of components, distinct parts that must be organized to create satisfactory user experiences.
  • Familiarity with the concept of user-centricity, the approach for practicing service design. And, to base the use of models and tools on users’ needs.
  • Know which models and tools to use at the stages of design.

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Character –

Leadership qualities: Capable of leading diverse teams to accomplish a service design goal. This includes the ability to communicate objectives, moderate discussions, solicit divergent viewpoints, and accommodate group needs. Additionally, must be able to communicate ideas clearly, and serve as a role model to less senior service designers. Empathy is key.

Strategic Vision-oriented: An ability to see problems in all their dimensions, necessary to realize a holistic perspective on an organization’s challenge.  This includes foresight into how designs and changes impact users and stakeholders.

Critical thinker: Able to solve business problems and envision possibilities. Must be comfortable challenging assumptions.

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Skills, Knowledge, and Additional Abilities —

  • Clear communicator, able to visualize possible solutions to complex issues and challenges.
  • Curiosity for technology, open to trialing in innovative ways in support of user experiences.
  • Intuit physical parameters, important for developing service frameworks, identifying resources, and planning how to develop an experience flow based on user actions and reactions.
  • Understanding of business models.
  • An understanding of research, including research instruments to uncover insights, ways to gather responses, some familiarity with data analysis and the ability to visualize results.

Preferred —

  • An interest in a wide range of topics, and a thirst to discover more (curiosity). (Service designers who are educated in arts and science typically have a solid foundation from which to build upon.)
  • Knowledge and ability to develop processes.
  • Comfortable with the basics of customer experience.

Experience –

  • Subject matter expertise, which evolves from working across disciplines and domains (sectors), or deep knowledge of one or more domains.
  • Experience(s) delivering large or complex projects.
  • Experience working within regulations and policies.

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