We asked practitioners and employers what knowledge and skills were required to be an effective service designer. For employers, we asked how they evaluate candidates and we asked service designers what knowledge and skills they rely upon. As others contribute, the descriptions may expand. Stay tuned. But in the meantime, see if this sounds right to you.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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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