Design Transitions Published!

I was invited to contribute to a book exploring how design studios and disciplines are evolving, along with the contexts and challenges in which design, in a broad sense, is being applied. I was excited to receive my copy of Design Transitions today! The effort was led by Lauren Tan, a colleague from my UK Design Council and Engine Service Design days. Congratulations on all the hard work, Lauren et al!

A couple of excerpts are included below:

What are the current drivers of change in Ziba’s design practices?

Internally, there is a great desire to do great work that crosses and blurs boundaries between the traditional departments. We realise no product lives in a vacuum, no communications are without context and no two digital experiences are the same. There is an increasing drive to foster more and better collaboration techniques across Ziba. Honing our skills in this area allows us to better facilitate and embed this approach to innovation with our clients.

With each project we further our thinking on the role of design, but we have also witnessed much change in our clients and what they ask us for. They are dealing with a complexity that they struggle to manage, and see design as holding some important answers that cannot be found through operational re-shuffling, efficiencies and a quantitative-based approach. In fact, many are aware that doing so may look good on the books in the short term, but dilutes and obstructs the service offer, effective delivery and resultant quality of experience for people.

Despite Europe’s head start in the Service Design industry, since my arrival in the US I have found clients in the public and private sector to be just as or even more receptive to designers tackling large-scale and complex problems. These problems relate both to external shifts in trends, behaviors, expectations and competition, and internal processes and principles that may evolve the culture and practices of an organisation to deliver better services more effectively.

What excites you about design at the moment?

In a short time, we have seen the scope and role of the designer expand, particularly in the field of Service Design. Design Thinking has emerged to return some common sense and consumer championing to business-dominated decision-making that has eroded experiences and made some service sectors truly painful to interact with.

At the moment, I am also fascinated by the ability of servitization – to focus on making a service based on the outcome of a product rather than ownership of the facilitating product – to affect environmental, economic and social impact. Portland (where Ziba’s headquarters are based) is a city eager to embrace these new consumption behaviors and servitization can be seen everywhere from car-sharing to informal tool libraries.

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