Gregory Ronczewski leads the design of the TeamFit platform


A Russian nesting doll, or “matryoshka” is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. When I think about a skill I often wonder: is this a stand-alone skill or one of many supporting skills that form yet another skill? Service Design is a perfect example of such a skill—if we can actually agree that it is a skill—that is build out of many contributing layers.

Service design draws on many concepts—from user experience, to systems design, marketing and psychology—in order to optimize new services. While many design disciplines look at a project from many angles, Service Design adds time as a dimension.

Service Design is the youngest discipline in the Design Family. The concept was introduced in 1991 at the Köln International School of Design. According to Wikipedia, Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers. For this purpose, Service Design uses methods and tools derived from different disciplines and naturally brings together many different skills.

This is Service Design Thinking book by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider, lists five key principles of Service Design:

User-Centered: People are at the centre of the service design.
Co-Creative: Service design should involve other people, especially those who are part of a system or a service.
Sequencing: Services should be visualized by sequences, or key moments in a customer’s journey.
Evidencing: Customers need to be aware of elements of a service. Evidencing creates loyalty and helps customers understand the entire service experience.
Holistic: A holistic design takes into account the entire experience of a service. Context matters.

This short list offers a glimpse into Associated and Complementary skills supported by TeamFit which makes this skill worth exploring. Let’s look at this list again and see if we can uncover few skills embedded in those principles:

It’s about the people: empathy, social networking, social planning, ethnography
It’s a team effort: collaboration, active listening, providing feedback, teamwork
It’s time based: visualization, animation, interaction design, product design
It’s about clarity: simplification, organization, data processing, research
It’s holistic: problem solving, project planning, strategic planning

People who have a confirmed Service Design as a skill often have backgrounds in many disciplines that are not directly related. You will find Architects, Researchers, Urban Planners, Psychologists, and of course Designers working together. TeamFit is a perfect tool for locating, evaluating and assembling this type of collaboration. In the next release, we are planning to further enhance the use of our Skill Inference engine and plot even more relations between Complementary and Associated Skills.

Any project will benefit from a Service Design Approach which frames the problem in a much wider lens resulting in deeper and better understanding of customer needs, wants or desires. We should remember that Service Design is not about “designing everything” from start to finish. It is about the Design of Services. What makes it really interesting is the formation of interdisciplinary teams and our TeamBuilder will make it easier to look for right people for a Service Design project.

Service Design Network is a great place to learn more about this new discipline. Get inspired by a comprehensive collection of articles, cases and interviews from international service design experts. If you are not able to attend one of the National or Global Events presented by SDN, check out their official youtube channel.