While only in its second year, I was really impressed with the Productized conference in Lisbon. I was there to run a four-hour Service Design Crash Course workshop and give the closing keynote, titled So You Want to be a Service Designer. I have run 14 conferences, so I know what it takes to pull off a good one. From the organization to the production to the quality of workshops and speakers, everything was top notch. I highly recommend it.

Teaching Service Design

During the 40-person workshop, I provided a quick overview of service design, and then led participants through three hands-on activities: journey mapping, service storming (an acting as prototyping method), and service blueprinting.

Activity 1 – Journey Mapping

Journey maps are becoming quite ubiquitous, even outside of the design world. Though many of my participants had not created one yet. I gave an overview of what a journey map does and some good times to use it in the design process. Then participants created one in small groups.


Activity 2 – Service Storming

A few years ago, Jared Cole and I created this activity based on an acting as prototyping method. We created some particular constraints, and I have been using it since as a method and workshop tool. Participants have 30 minutes to develop a 90-second skit to perform. This becomes the base for the next activity. Most people have never done this before, so it’s always good fun.

Activity 3 – Service Blueprinting

Service blueprints describe how a series of interactions are supported by different touchpoints, people, and processes. After providing an overview of the basic service blueprint elements, participants created a blueprint version of their service storming skit.

Talking Service Design

The talks were all great. Notably, there was an emphasis on understanding the vision you’re trying to achieve and why it matters, with a big emphasis on storytelling. Design is as much about defining the vision as it is making it real.

I gave the closing keynote (after Bruce Nussbaum, author of Creative Intelligence). I really loved that a service guy like myself was invited to speak at a product conference. I took the opportunity to structure content around the title of So You Want to be a Service Designer, which was inspired by Robert Reimann’s So You Want to be an Interaction Designer. I read that piece in graduate school a decade ago. It was originally written in 2001, I believe. It’s still relevant today. You should read it.

I’ll write more about the content of the talk in another post. Until then, you can view the slides.