Service Design, this umbrella term that bundles together a mindset and a set of techniques, practices and methodologies, isn’t all that new: the basics can be traced back some 20 years. Yet, it’s a very young field nonetheless, as it’s just now becoming part of the mainstream of the industry.
Ubiquitous use of the internet and its related technologies – this networked layer on top of practically everything we do – brings with it new challenges and opportunities for those in the business of building and designing services. In other words, it effects almost every company out there.
Long gone are the days where a product could be designed as if it stood alone, like a lighthouse, largely independent of its environment; existing just by itself, allowing for a user to interact with it.
By now we understand that it’s all about the context in which a product is used, and it’s this context that makes basically every product a service. And not just a digital service – increasingly even physical items are included (like cars, or mp3 players) and non-tangible, abstract notions (like urban mobility, or banking). And that changes everything, as it requires much deeper design choices and allows for much deeper engagement.
That said, when pulling together a speaker line-up for a conference attended by professionals, it’s key to get a good balance between a number of different factors. You want to get some basics covered, to make sure everyone’s on the same page and uses compatible terminology.
You want to get some big names, and some experts who have impressive work to show off, to inspire others. And you want to bring in some people from the fringes, from the cutting edge; people who live and work five minutes in the future, who can give a glimpse into what’s next, into the big changes we face as an industry and as a society.
I’m glad I can say that I believe we’ve managed to pull together a line-up of speakers that fit the bill in all these categories.
Without giving away too much, there is one topic in that last, big-changes-to-expect category, that I’ve personally been quite fascinated with for a while now, and that just keeps getting more interesting and relevant. Our speaker David Bausola will be talking about designing services for both human and non-human actors – in other words: for people and bots – so they can interact and co-exist. Recently, the amount of internet traffic produced by machines and bots surpassed the amount of human-generated traffic. And we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg! The rules of engagement between users and bots are written now, and Bausola and his platform Weavrs are front and centre in all of this.