Hey Elizabeth, can you tell me what the fuck this Service Design thing is?

I could see the need for Service Design, before I knew what it was. At that time I had a PhD in Sociology and significant research experience but I was struggling to see the real value in straight-jacket research. Then, I noticed the disconnect between the service user and provider. I knew instantly that the union between analytical thinking, problem solving and creativity would bring an added value to the service design field.

Throughout my Service Design training, and subsequently in work, I grew more aware of the absence of emotional intelligence. I knew it was the most crucial element in work that relied heavily upon understanding invisible user motivations and latent needs. I was weary of a service design attitude that de-prioritised reflective practise and deep enquiry in the race to deliver.

It is this, that best describes what I do. I bring emotional intelligence to the page, overlaying every kind of visual map with it to make visible the elements that do shape our experience. I make visible the latent thinking, feelings and emotions of the customer because this is where sustainability lies. I allow time for thinking. And processing. I iterate and follow instinct. This is where the innovation happens.

Sprinting to the end and producing amazing visuals or documents, as I have learned, is never the answer. Rather it's the tools that captures the human experience and charts the emotional intelligence behind our actions. The feelings and beliefs underneath the surface. For me, this work is about visualising the reality of the lived experience, forget how optimal the theory.

An answer by Elizabeth Meehan

Wherever the next project is..
Service Designer, Sociologist 

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