How to get more buy-in for Service Design (as an in-house designer)

We are ⭕ The Circle – part of The Service Design Show’s group for in-house Service Designers. We work in countries around the world and meet once a month to discuss emerging trends, explore new ways of working and share best practices.

All designers recognise our continual task of advocating for ‘human centred design thinking’ within our working environments. For me the message boils down to this, that our design methodologies are the closest to predicting the future and mitigating risk. Yet so often across other non-design departments, there’s still a misconception that design is “making things pretty” instead of the service we offer to solve problems by putting the user first, applying critical thinking and breaking down silos. 

Together we answered the question within our Circle group, “How can we get more buy-in for service design?”. Here are my top three take-aways. 

Do service design without necessarily mentioning “service design”

When I first started in Service Design I learned the hard way that to evangelise the benefits of service design by telling (not showing) simply created confusion. I found that people saw Service Design as a threat and individual service owners from around the business were protective of their work and said, “Oh, so you’re here to take this work away from us?” Service design doesn’t need to be called service design – it can be done quietly behind the scenes (see point 2).

Start with the quick wins, build storytelling case studies and communicate them

Build a repository of case studies that focus on a four-step structure of, “This was the problem, this was our approach, this is what we did and this was the impact.” Then communicate, communicate, communicate and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself, but the more you repeat your winning stories, the higher chance of reaching a new audience and finding your Service Design allies. 

Evangelising design as an integral internal service by offering multiple ways to discover your Service Design work

Whether that’s continually presenting to new starters what our design team does and how to work with us, to the storytelling of case studies at business wide meetings and to have Tag der offenen Tür (open day) or Service Design Coffee / Drop-in slot where anyone from around the business can come ask questions and learn about the benefits of service design. These are perfect opportunities to put your storytelling skills to the test by sharing case-study video snippets from user interviews, photo storyboards, animations or sketches. Reach other audiences by scaling your design work with an internal blog, educational videos or a business wide event like a Service Design Jam. 

Service Design – it’s about smashing those subjective ideas by turning assumptions into a testable hypothesis. It’s about applying a critical thinking mindset to consider every user view point and building fast prototypes. It’s about storytelling the outcomes and evangelising the design-centred way of thinking that becomes infectious and spreads around the business. 

If you’re an in-house designer, I’d love to hear how you evangelise your design service within the business? 

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Next: What’s the difference between UX and UI?

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