A short and late monthnote. I have been on holiday and also cannot believe it is already September.
This month I have been learning a lot from interviewing service designers. One thing always leaves an impression: People confidently telling their story of growth and learning. It’s much more powerful than “here’s a list of all the things I’m great at”. Of course, still be confident and talk about your strengths. But also highlight reflection, learning, and pragmatism. It feels more believable, and more impressive.
It also means I am having a lot of conversation about design with very different people. This never gets boring. People approach design so differently, and there are so many interesting perspectives and angles. Yet I still often hear people say they don’t have anything to add. That all has been said before, or that their way of practicing is too obvious or too basic to talk about. But I learn something new from every conversation with design practitioners. And sharing is not about showing off the perfect practice. You share to learn. So here is my best advice if you’re scared of talking about your design practice online, at conferences, in blogs, or in interviews. Do it scared. You have things to say! And you are the only one doing it your way!
You know what we’re all bad at though? Explaining what service design is concisely and easily. It’s a running joke or even stereotype by now. Spending time with family on my holiday of course meant another round of mostly failed attempts at this. Not helped by language barriers. And service design being less established as a profession or term in other countries. Ironically, my relatives do understand when there is a lack of service design! They complain at length about complicated government services, inaccessible forms, and digital exclusion. But none make the connection that these services are not a natural law, they are designed by humans. Which means they can be redesigned, reimagined, and reorganised. People have a really hard time imagining this as a possibility. Never mind as a proven expertise and creative practice. Service design is explained and felt in its absence, but a mystery in its presence. I wonder why this is. And I’d love to hear any genius strategies for explaining what service designers do to Italian or German family members!