Heini Kauppinen // January 08 2018

A Glimpse into a Service Designer’s Life

What do you actually do for work? This is a question I hear a lot and there’s not always a straightforward answer to it either. However, I thought I’d share some views of what’s it like to be a Service Designer at Digitalist so that anyone interested can have a sneak peek into our daily work. Perhaps you have even been thinking on becoming a Service Designer yourself. But first, let’s be clear on one thing; this is not a blog post explaining in detail what Service Design is (there are already plenty of those), but rather it offers some examples what is included in the job.


As we say in Digitalist: Together we co-create tomorrow’s solutions. Sounds fancy, but what is it in practice? For us Service Designers co-creation really is in the core of our work and it’s also essential in any kind of work we do. We engage and include our customers and end-customers in gathering the insights as well as recognising their needs, frustrations and pain points. Most importantly, we then collaborate to create the solutions together. In practice this means, for instance, interviewing and observing customers, planning as well as facilitating workshops and design sprints, or prototyping solutions and testing them with end users. Co-creation is also part of our culture and we just re-created our company values together. Additionally, Service Designers do things such as discover and analyze trends and benchmarks, analyze customer insights, build customer journeys and service blueprints, re-design processes, construct different customer personas or service concepts, visualize and bring ideas to life. It doesn’t hurt to understand business development or complex systems either in order to take a holistic view on problem solving and design. With these kinds of methods and tools we help our customers to build better, more sustainable and more profitable services which in turn ease, or hopefully delight, the lives of customers and end users. We also develop new design tools to better support our work and share them with others.


Design Sprint team admiring the solution sketches
Design Sprint team admiring the solution sketches.


Diverse is the word I would use for describing the projects and customers we work with. Our customers are from different industries – from travel, transportation, energy, media, public sector, financing to game industries – you name it. The rallying point for them is willingness to innovate and transform their business as well as customer experience. Type of work we do together varies a ton too. The target of development work is quite often something complex and ambiguous such as improving customer experience, visioning the future or building an entirely new service concept. There are vast amount of things you have to consider while designing bigger entities. As Designers it is our duty to bring clarity and understandability to these challenges with the help of the design process, as well as the methods and tools, some of them mentioned above. For every project we have to consider what would be the right kind of methods or tools to use to bring out the best possible outcome and sometimes you have to improvise as things proceed. I can’t actually describe a typical day since there is none. Every day is different and you get to interact with a lot of different people, which can really broaden your view of the world. I enjoy this kind of diversity very much and consider it as one of the perks in my job. I also love the cultural and multidisciplinary diversity of our team and count it as a great strength (you can see some of our lovely CXD team on the heading photo above). The conditions are perfect for learning as well as for challenging and developing yourself.


I would say that in this job you have to be curious and flexible, have resilience for ambiguity, take on the lessons learned and develop yourself continuously and since the work involves being around as well as empathizing with different people a lot, you can’t exactly be a people hater. There are probably more qualities that I should mention and much more to a life as a Service Designer, but hopefully you managed to get at least some kind of impression by now. Anyhow, change is constant and it always offers new possibilities. While the world keeps evolving so does the field of service design. Probably it will be called something else sooner than we think and we as designers need to evolve too. Nevertheless, it’s great to be involved in such a field as there’s always something new to learn and design as nothing’s ever ready. I’m looking forward to what 2018 has to offer!


The CXD team photo by Eliana Sarpila