Service Design: A Key to Social Innovation

Service Design is an iterative, complex, and ongoing process, and it has been proven to be a great innovation methodology. At The Social Impact Lab, our work is deeply rooted in the practice of Service Design. The human experience is at the core of all that we do, for every design has impacts far beyond its beginnings. Our work is a responsibly disruptive, evolutionary, and transformative process and we are excited to share our methods, insights, projects, and results with you.

In this story, we will dive deeper into what Service Design is, why it is important for social innovation and how we apply it at SIL.

What is Service Design?

Service design is creating the ideal service model that fulfills user and stakeholder needs. This can either mean redesigning an existing service or setting up a completely new service from scratch. A crucial part of Service Design is to determine what the real problem is that you are solving, because often this isn’t aligned with what businesses initially think. The service design approach helps to see the bigger picture surrounding a service; this means an end-to-end solution, including the different channels users can get familiar and access the service and the key resources you need.

Service design embraces many methods from human-centered design. In fact, you can’t design the optimal service if you don’t have a complete understanding of the users’ needs. It’s important to understand that technology is not the main driver for a service. There are many tools that can be applied to create an optimal service design model, like qualitative and quantitative user research (i.e., focus groups, surveys etc.), the service blueprint, customer journey mapping, and co-creation workshops.

Service Design + Social Innovation

The purpose of service design is not only to create an integrated, delightful, and unforgettable experience for users, but also to create a feasible, efficient, and effective solution for society.  The process of social innovation enhances society’s capacity to act by creating new roles and relationships, developing assets and capabilities. Service Design can help you understand that bigger picture around a complex social issue and give you the tools to step-by-step lead you to an innovative solution!