Digitalist Network // May 08 2019

Silicon Valley Is the Wild West of Service Design

By: Sasheen Andregg, Director of Design Operations & Bethany Brown, Senior Service Designer, Digitalist San Francisco

The Service Design discipline has existed in Europe for decades. However, it’s a much younger discipline in the US. Here is some of what we know Service Design brings to the Bay Area.

Silicon Valley is focused on tech, not experiences

The tech boom has been the making of Silicon Valley. The Bay Area is known as the innovation capital of the world, and its strengths lay within its entrepreneurship and engineering. However, when it comes to Customer and Employee Experiences we know Service Design has a lot to add.  

Customers are the ROI. While 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree and 86% of buyers would be willing to pay more for better service.

When utilized at its best, Serviced Design helps the tech world:

  1. Understand users
  2. Optimize and improve the process
  3. Design end-to-end, consistent and tailored brand experiences

Optimize your Design Team

Service Design should be brought in at the beginning of every project. For operational success Service, Research, Strategy, Interaction, Visual, UI and UX Design should all work together, and the project should begin with a Research & Service Design phase.

Service Design In Action

We love our startups, but very few of them turn out to be unicorns that last through the years. Interestingly, the ones that do tend to be experience-driven and led by designers. Some of these companies include Pinterest, Kickstarter, Airbnb, and YouTube.

Let’s take Airbnb, for example. Their customer journey is beautifully designed from the moment people start thinking about taking a trip to the moment they get back home. It should come as no surprise that the founders of Airbnb come from Experience Design and Service Design is a big part of the company’s curriculum.

It’s clear to us that what sets the successful start-ups apart from others is their Design maturity and understanding that services, systems, interfaces, and technology have to be carefully crafted.

Why we’re excited for Service Design in the Bay Area

At Digitalist we are committed to maturing Service Design as a discipline. Our team in Silicon Valley has formed their Service Design methodology from several years of experience at IDEO and at one of the first Service Design consultancies, Engine Service Design Group. We believe it’s time for the Bay Area to embrace Service Design and reap the benefits.

In June, Digitalist will be kicking off their first Service Design Think Tank. This will be bringing together Service Design practitioners from across the Bay Area and will aim to support their development. If you are a Service Designer in the Bay Area and you’re interested in joining, please get in touch.

Image license Tobias Toft, Creative Commons.

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