kimberley crofts

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an information and communication designer living in London

Continuing to learn, post MA study

It has been almost two months since the end of my MA in Information Design and I am already itchy to learn new things. I was hoping that by now I would have a job and be learning new stuff at my workplace but it is near on impossible to find senior design positions in places that are public or sustainability focused. So whilst I am a looking I am swotting up on a couple of things like design thinking, service design, and leadership and strategy (the Open University have some mini-courses on their Creative Choices website aimed at creative people improving their skills in management).

Design thinking: the buzz term of the moment. People like Tim Brown from Ideo have defined and popularized the use of this term which describes a strategic process that designers have pretty much always followed (discover, define, design, deliver as the Design Council describes it to which I would add evaluate but that doesn’t start with D unfortunately).

As publications like Fast Company and Business Week report on its use to the business world I hope that more people will begin to re-evaulate their ideas about what design can do. For more reading, discussion and tips on Design Thinking I have joined a few mini-networks within Wenovski, the Design Thinkers network.

Service design: an expert in the field, Phi-Hong Ha, defines Service Design as “a cross-disciplinary practice that looks at the touch points of a service within the context of a customer’s journey” (from an excellent AIGA interview by Steven Heller). Service designers look at all of the steps involved in a service and use these observations to redesign it to better address the user’s needs whilst continuing to achieve the business objectives of the company or organisation.

Practitioners of service design have achieved some wonderful things in the short amount of time it has existed as a profession. For example, Live|Work (a UK company) helped out-of-work people in Sunderland more successfully access services that would help them find employment. You can read about it on their website. The Design Council has used Live|Work’s experience to explain Service Design as part of a project called ‘Public Services by Design‘. This project will go live in 2010 and aims to help the public sector to use design thinking techniques to improve their services.

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