Reinventing experiences during the Service Design Workshop with Vincenzo di Maria

Service design consists of planning and organising user experiences in a creative, viable and user-centred way, and is employed by all companies to create added value for their customers. This field of design is based on numerous thought methodologies and tools for creativity from other disciplines such as psychology, anthropology and the visual arts.

With the workshop Service Design, the students of the Masters of Design and Innovation studied design methodologies, design thinking applied to services and socially responsive design.

Vincenzo di Maria, leader of the workshop, is a services designer and social innovator whose approach to design is holistic and people-centred. He is also the co-founder of commonground, the place “where design meets positive social change”.

This one-week workshop was developed as a collaboration project with Propelland, a famous strategy design studio, who offered a real brief for one of its clients: to imagine the future of the banking experience for university students.

Vicenzo di maria - Masters of Design and Innovation - IED

We spoke with Vincenzo about the workshop and what he expected from the students, as well as about the results of the workshop and the role of Propelland in it.

What was the Service Design workshop about?

The service Design Thinking workshop delivered for the students of the Masters of Design and Innovation at IED Madrid was an interdisciplinary collaboration project that introduced the theory of service design process, design thinking methodology and translated them into practice with a real client brief. Starting from the study of the design methodology, connecting the different phases of the creative process from research to ideas generation and service development, the students worked in teams to imagine the future of the "banking experience for university students transitioning from education towards becoming young professionals”.

What were the students tasked to do?

The first part of the workshop aimed at exploring and developing a design mindset and approach in response to a service design problem, providing a set of tools and methods on how to design services including principles of human centered design, orchestrating the intangible interactions of a user experience with the tangible components of the service, thinking also about the social and economical value for the providing organization. The five days of workshop were designed in a way to lead the students throughout a journey of self discovery and learning from practice, starting with empathy and user research to progress into brainstorming and prototyping activities, ending with more strategic planning and communication of the service proposal and its business value.

How were the results?

The design teams provided different interpretations to the same briefs, visualizing their solutions with a mix of service design techniques including multimedia, paper prototypes and role-play performing sessions. Some of the ideas were more product and technology led while others were trying to change the user behaviour by integrating a new set of interactions or gamification dynamics. Bringing a service to life means presenting the user experience in the most visual and empathic way, from storyboards to emotional journey and costumer journey maps, but also to roll out the operational backstage tools and service guidelines for the providing organization. The students presented the tangible components and intangible interactions that they have designed in a short pitch presentation that forced them to focus on the value of their design proposal both for the final user and for the stakeholders involved. The complexity of this scenario sparked some interesting debate across the students on the role of design as a process and designers as facilitators of multi-stakeholders projects.

What was the relationship with Propelland?

The real case scenario was provided by Propelland, a product and service innovation agency based in San Francisco and Madrid, currently working with a private bank group to develop an app that would support students throughout their university life introducing them to a more intuitive use of financial services. Luis Zunzunegui, the general manager for the Madrid branch of Propelland presented the initial brief and provided feedback on the final students work. On top of the very positive feedback about the final presentations and the new creative perspectives showcased, the client was deeply impressed with the awareness and level of understanding of the projects developed by the students in only 5 days of work.


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