If you are new to Service Design ...

If you are new to service design, and looking forward to having lots of fun at the jam later, it’s helpful to know a bit about what you might experience.

I recently completed a very short yet intensive and fully engaged service design course taught by Design London at RCA. It’s been a dramatic learning curve resulting a whole new perspective to doing anything with our work and life. It’s a thought provoking process. Like many things, it gets messy very often but design thinking helps you enjoy it – that’s the point of a jam as well I suppose.

For first time jammers, it’s not an issue if you don’t yet know what to use and how. In fact some ignorance of process can help you focus more on the problem itself during brainstorming. What might upset you though, if you usually like things to be neat, is that the process can get very messy. The designers as I’ve seen were very used to it and dealt quite well with it – they just carried on whether or not they enjoy it. So should you.

When I first heard about the important “Double Diamond – Diverge – Converge” process, I thought it was a tool I better somehow use, but it’s really an insightful description of what’s going to happen.

Be prepared to get messy as you start to diverge, and don’t worry too much about controlling it.Think fearless like a child that doesn’t know the rules, think anything possible, wild, ridiculous…agree that you won’t judge each other’s ideas as you brainstorm.

Create a free zone that’s safe for everyone to share thoughts – it gets really fun…I’ve seen ideas start to form trends and get bucketed together in groups, some ideas are totally outside the box and inspiring, and then some great new ideas you’d never think of, come from the combination of ideas by people with different background, creative solutions really result from building upon each other’s ideas, it’s the biggest benefit of brainstorming.

It seems all possible at this stage, until soon into the converge stage, it’s like someone suddenly tell you it’s time to grow up, face the real world and its constrains. It’s probably the most challenging part of the exercise, some constrains are real barriers but some don’t really matter. Work around it and it’s not about finding the solutions first, but more about asking the right questions to start with.

It was so easy for us to get obsessed with something new we just discovered that sounds brilliant and want to move on with it. But keep in mind that you are designing a service, NOT a product! Focused on user’s experience and the “journey”, see if it makes sense as you map out the journey. Touch on every point of interaction – or as designers call “touch point” – it helped us so much not to miss the tiny but crucial pinch points, that could easily ruin the whole journey.

Final thoughts on brainstorming, while you are out doing research, don’t forget to take photos or videos as much as you can when you run around, they say and inspire so much when you come back and share with others, also they can be instrumental for your presentation at the end of the jam.

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