The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Dee Seaver 'The Broken Promise of Design Academia: A Call to Action'

John Carter
April 18, 2023
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Dee Seaver 'The Broken Promise of Design Academia: A Call to Action'

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Episode shownotes

Hello and welcome to Bringing Design Closer. Our goal is to have conversations that inspire and to help move the dial forward for organisations to become more human-centred in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

In this episode I chat with Dee Seaver from Philips about the role of the Service Design function within organisations and the interconnectedness towards how academia prepares designers towards either agency or in-house practice. It may seem like a small nuance, but it’s a really interesting conversation to have and reflect.

It’s a good episode and hope you enjoy it.

Also, thank you so much to everyone who has been leaving so many wonderful reviews for the podcast. I recently checked and saw lots of reviews trickling in from across the internet. If you like what we do, leave a review wherever you are listening…it helps me out and helps others find the podcast too!

Let’s get into it...

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Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] You know, you've gotta be able to do that commercial aspect of things. You've, you've gotta be able to commercialize what you're designing. And I do think it's fair that for craft-based disciplines, that is a historical challenge. I think we're at a little bit of a point with service design in particular, that because we are in this transition where in-house is growing significantly faster than agency.

[00:00:29] Hello, welcome to Bring In Design Closer. Our goal is to have conversations that inspire and help move the dial forward for organizations to become more human-centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems. My name is Jerry s Skillion, and I'm a human-centered service designer and innovation coach based in the wonderful city of Dublin Ireland.

[00:00:50] Now, in this convers. Now in this episode, should I say, I speak with D Siever or Diane Siever from Phillips about the role of the service design function within organizations [00:01:00] and the interconnectedness towards how academia prepares designers towards either agency or in-house practice. Look, it may seem like a small nuance to some people listening, but it's a really interesting conversation and it should allow us to pause and reflect and think about how we're training designers for the.

[00:01:19] It's a really good episode and I know you're gonna enjoy it. And also thank you. While I think of it to everyone who has been leaving, so many wonderful reviews for the podcast. I recently checked and saw lots of reviews trickling in from across the internet and Spotify and Google and so forth. Now, if you like what we do, just leave a review wherever you're listening, it helps me out, helps others find the podcast too.

[00:01:40] But anyway, let's jump straight into this episode. Dee, I'm delighted to have you on the podcast. Um, how are you? I'm doing great. Uh, a little tired from some business travel, but you know, that's, that's the job. Yeah. Very, very cool. Um, you [00:02:00] are, uh, in Oma, is that correct? You're That is correct. Somewhere. I remember making the jokes about counting crows the last time, but I won't do it again.

[00:02:09] Um, but maybe let, let's start off. Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you're from. Sure. Uh, so I am a designer for about the last 15 years. So have, um, my undergrad degree in industrial design, was a practicing spatial designer for a number of years. Went back and got my master's in design management and service design.

[00:02:35] Um, and. Have been doing that now for about eight years, and seven of those years has been working with, uh, Phillips Health Technology or Royal Phillips, depending on, um, if you're European based. And with them, I've been primarily supporting business model innovation. So as a. Longstanding product [00:03:00] manufacturing company, how do they tap into ization and subscription economy and start to bring some of their offerings to be services often driven by, you know, that business model aspect.

[00:03:16] Wow. Yeah. Now remember we actually connected off the back of another episode that we did. Um, We're okay to talk about this one, I presume, like with, uh, Ricardo Martins from, um, Skad. So Savannah University, um, the College of Art and Design. And you, you qualified as a service designer way back in the, uh, 1970s, only joking in 2000, 2014, I think it was.

[00:03:44] Was that right in my notes? Yeah. Um, I used to, at the time my, my small claim def fame. Was I was the fourth service design graduate in the United States because Scott was the only full-time program and I was the fourth graduate [00:04:00] from that program. Wow. So you didn't get a medal? No, I didn't. I wasn't. And and the irony is, at one point, um, all four of us were actually living in Chicago, Illinois, cuz there was a pretty decent, um, service design community there.

[00:04:15] So it wasn't, I couldn't even say that. Like I was the only one in, in the city. So definitely didn't get a medal. Maybe got an honorable mention on that. I thought you were all gonna say you were living in the same house, like a fraternity or something like, No, I, I deeply respect my, my classmates and you, when you're a program that small, you also need to go find your separate ways.

[00:04:41] Well, when we were chatting, um, myself and Ricardo had a really good conversation around the, the kind of model from academia into, uh, in. And what that looks like. And we were back and forth, um, on LinkedIn. I think it might have been about, um, [00:05:00] some of the, some of the challenges that you faced from within industry and seeing these people come out of academia into industry.

[00:05:09] What were the, the, the things, the patterns that you were seeing, um, from within industry and the failings of academia? Um, over the last couple of. Yeah, there were, there were two pieces that really showed up to me. Um, and, and the, I think the first one was there's a huge emphasis in academic programs around service innovation, and I think really tends toward the, um, service research side of things.

[00:05:42] And in most cases, particularly in-house, it's not really needing. Innovation, it's needing to execute. And so lots of times there's more than enough ideas. There's more than enough identified opportunities. Yeah. And, [00:06:00]and you know, especially companies that have been doing it for a while, they may not always get it right, but they generally know what they need.

[00:06:07] To do. And so having a lot of, um, service designers come in really struggling with, well, I wanna come up with the really cool ideas and I wanna do the innovative things and I wanna better understand customers. And in most cases it was, well, we actually need to launch a service. How do we do that? And then how do we look at existing services and really evaluate the opportunities to continuously improve on those.

[00:06:39] So yeah. So are you saying that the people coming out of any university. Um, are unable to help with those things or are they just stronger in certain areas and they're weaker in other areas? Is that what you're saying? Well, so I think it's more of a mentality. So, so it's what I often find that I need to help with is a [00:07:00] mentality shift of, uh, especially coming in, um, fresh.

[00:07:05] You know, you need industry experience. That's just the reality of things. And so the industry experience is, Kind of the grind of executing on services. You know, you're needing to write work instructions. Um, you're needing to facilitate meetings across different types of, um, organizational groups. And it's not glamorous, it's not the innovation work, but it's.

[00:07:33] The sort of real work. And so what I tend to find is really helping those early career service designers help the connection of like, this is also service design work. It isn't the high fidelity, the compelling stories that you're often taught, um, or, and often. I would almost say like [00:08:00] encouraged to challenge organizations around.

[00:08:04] Um, so I think it's really more of a, of a mentality that takes work. So I don't think it's the wrong skills. Often I'm able to kind of redirect those skills, but really the mentality that comes with that is, is the. Organizations have no idea what they're doing. And it's up for, and it's up to this magical service designer to somehow, um, you know, course correct this entire organization because they've been doing it all wrong.

[00:08:32] Yeah. That's the mentality that I tend to struggle with. That's been taught and encouraged in a lot of the academic programs. It. It's interesting because is do you think it's generational or is it to do with the fostering of this mentality within academia? Um, I [00:09:00] feel that it is the fostered mentality because um mm-hmm.

[00:09:05] I see this even coming from grad students that have had professional experience. Um, and if I look at, um, even what is the, what is published by the academics, Um, yeah. It really is in this, how organizations are wrong, you know, not how are organizations doing things today and perhaps critiquing those. But there is, there tends to be kind of a fundamental, what gets highlighted even by academic presenters, thought leaders is really.

[00:09:40] State of, um, you know, in-house is broken or, you know, all services are broken and doesn't really get into the complexities that go with that. Um, and so it's really easy to critique and suggest that you can somehow fix things and solve world [00:10:00] hunger when you don't really have to experience what that grind looks.

[00:10:07] Do you think a part of this is, um, the organ organizational molding? If you want, you've worked within Phillips, which are mm-hmm. Massive. Okay. I, you're based in the us they're based in Europe and there's a certain cultural understanding in cur cultural acceptance on how to. Um, do you think there's, part of the bias might be coming from, um, being organizational mature, organizational ready?

[00:10:37] Um, is that where the disconnect possibly be? My lay I'm just trying to play on the fence here and defend. Yeah, for, for sure. Organizational design, native university. For sure. I think, um, I, I think there is some legitimacy to that. I don't think it's Phillips specifically, but No, it's any, any organization quite large.

[00:10:57] Yeah. And I mean, and so this is where you, [00:11:00] you know, yes. Like, While service design is continuing to mature as an industry and you know, professionally, it has really kind of been around, you know, the, it's really been agency driven and so yeah, as you know, we look at what agencies needed to succeed and what kind of skills.

[00:11:19] You know, I think academics really responded well to that. And then in-house is a far less mature. Set, um, section of the profession. And so I think part of what's fair is maybe academics haven't caught up to the challenges that doing in-house service design faces. And um, and I do think, you know, if I look at, so when I started at Phillips in 2016, we had five service.

[00:11:50] Titled, you know, which was, uh, in 2016, having titled in House service designers was pretty big. Yeah. But now we have, um, [00:12:00] over 45 titled service designers. We have about 85 in kind of our prac service design practitioners. And so some of the challenges that we faced in. Five with that five versus now are a little bit different.

[00:12:16] And, and I think that is some of the organizational challenge that's gonna always come with in-house. That's always gonna come with building up a practice. You know, any UX or 15 years ago would've said the same thing. And so it could be that that's something. Is inherent to in-house and, and we need to do a little bit of that bridge to the divide, to what are the shifts in academics that we need to address.

[00:12:45] So for anyone listening, um, the differences and the nuances that we're talking about there is if you go into an agency and you see. Mirror images of your skills amongst your, your teammates, um, [00:13:00] that is less challenging, um, to be accepted, I guess, versus going into an organization where you're like, you do ux.

[00:13:09] Do IX or do you X or do ix. All of these different things are said to you. Um, when you're walking around, the holes coming on. I think they're a designer, but they've got UX or a service in front of them. Do they work on Amazon? Are they designing the service arch architecture? All of these things get you, you have to do an an awful lot.

[00:13:30] Selling and an awful, a lot more describing and, um, explaining and being a little bit more, um, sensitive to the organizational development, I guess. Is that fair to say? It is. And this is, um, you know, so one of the other things that we had, we were talking about in some of our conversations is, is to me, this is where my idea of distributed service design comes in.

[00:13:56] So one of the distinct differences is that [00:14:00] an agency is hired for a scope of work. You know, it's a set contract to deliver on X number of things. Yeah. In, in, in-house there is. Set timeline right? You are really in the, I need to help the organization achieve its goals, and I am one of the cogs of many that does that.

[00:14:24] So service design in-house isn't owned. By a single entity. It's not owned by design, it's not owned by customer support. It's not owned by service marketing. You know, there's no one part of an in-house organization that owns designing and delivering services. So as an in-house service designer, yes there is some selling, but even like with Phillips, where we are now of having a relatively mature service design practice.

[00:14:55] We have to always work with [00:15:00] counterparts. We are always going to be working with IT operations. We are always going to be working with our, um, product and engineering. We are always going to be working with our marketing and sales teams as well as like our field delivery. So part of what happens is, is you just, you can't kind of in blissful isolation work on a service.

[00:15:29] I would say agencies can't either or shouldn't, maybe is the better thing, but when you can walk away at the end of something, you know those, how am I building my collegiate relationships? How am I helping our different parts of the organization to consistently work with each other? That's a different objective than I need to deliver these four outputs and artifacts in the next three months.

[00:15:58] Yeah, and I guess the [00:16:00] argument is that academia kind of creates one dimension to the designers', um, kind of future if you want. They, they kind of just, they just work to design versus working to design for agency or working to do it, to design in-house. Um, Well, and one of the things that's question, isn't it?

[00:16:21] Yeah. And one of the things that I really benefited from when I was doing my grad work is that I also did design management. And so design management being, how are you facilitating creative problem solving within an organization? And so there were a lot of things that I brought from that around.

[00:16:43] Organizational dynamics, how are you really, you know, really upskilling my facilitation skills. Um, thinking about extracting people's natural creative ability, getting really strong at [00:17:00] problem framing. Those were all things that. Weren't necessarily, they were maybe touched on in the service design aspect of things, cuz they're the focus really being what is a service?

[00:17:10] How does a service work? Yeah. Um, unless I would say on the organizational aspects that are fundamental to being an in-house service designer and, you know, that's, that's a tough my trade off. Sorry. Go, go, go ahead. There there is trade offs. No, I was gonna say to you there was, is this a new problem? Or is this a problem that's been age old and been around since design has been elevated into more organizations?

[00:17:39] Um, I, I don't know. It, you know, it's a, it's a good, it's a fair question because if I think about early in my career, When I was doing, um, spatial design, one of the things I really bended fitted from was having the direct link to our fabricators. And so I [00:18:00] built a really strong vocabulary of, well, how do my designs actually get built and.

[00:18:07] Sharing a vocabulary with them to be able to say, you know, here's, here's my picture that I've rendered. And they'd look at something and say, that's not possible. And so then I would say, okay, well this is what I'm trying to accomplish. How could we maybe do that in a way that makes sense? Um, and those were some, I, I had a really good design engineer that.

[00:18:30] Kind of role model, that aspect. And so I do think it, it shows up a little bit in craft based disciplines where you are then going into, um, you know, the, the artist isn't enough. You know, you've gotta be able to do that commercial aspect of things. You've, you've gotta be able to commercialize what you're designing.

[00:18:52] And, and I do think it's fair that for craft-based disciplines, that is. That is a historical [00:19:00] challenge, I think with. I think we're at a little bit of a point with service design in particular, that because we are in this transition where in-house is growing significantly faster than agency. Yeah. That we, or, or maybe it's that I'm feeling this with a lot of our recent hires.

[00:19:21] There's a little bit of that gap because we don't have as much role modeling in the profession or in our, in our a. So it could be, you know, if we have this conversation five years from now, it's not the level of pain that I see and experience. Now, and it's, and, and, and I think part of, part of what I feel confident in around, you know, it's not just Phillips, it's not just me, is I've also mentored and coached a lot of non Phillips service designers that are struggling.

[00:19:52] Or I've had, um, folks that have come from agency and have years of practice, and then I'm helping to [00:20:00] adjust their approach now that they're in-house. Um, and I've even seen, you know, I've gotten into, um, Slightly spicy LinkedIn debates about in-house success. Spicy. Spicy, yeah. Little spicy, uh, debates. And, and so I think it is, you know, it is a, it is something that the profession is particularly wrestling with right now.

[00:20:28] Hmm. Uh, I'm. Thinking of three different questions. The spicy one, it might be a little bit too hot, but the, um, so you're saying the, the fir, first of all, we'll take a step back to the academic lens. Yeah. Okay. So there's, there's definitely people from um, universities listening to this podcast. I know, cause I've spoken to a few of them in the last week.

[00:20:54] Um, where are they going? Um, yeah, I, this [00:21:00] is, this is always my perpetual challenge is if I'm gonna complain about something, what am I gonna, yeah. What am I gonna help to do different? Um, I, so I think some of it is, and this is a perpetual challenge in academia, is who are the practitioners that are educating so many of the practitioner or many of the academics, Academic experience, you know, through the university programs, they've done service design or as individual consultants.

[00:21:32] They've done service design. So what they're teaching students is based off of a particular practice experience. I would really like to see more in-house. Service designers doing coursework. Um, and that is something that I'm taking on a little bit myself. External coursework. What was that? External coursework?

[00:21:55] No, no, no. To, to teach courses in the academic programs and, and to [00:22:00] have the academic programs do a little bit more to say, how can we bring in practicing professionals? I think there's a huge opportunity there and it's something that I've offered up to various different programs and don't necessarily get taken up on that.

[00:22:19] So that's one thing where I can say, you know, I think there's opportunity there. Um, I think the other thing too is I think there is, in thinking about. The topics I support, the topics that are often focused on, I think they could shift from describing how. Companies do it wrong or, or how people outside of the industry do it wrong.

[00:22:51] And what are the ways that you really support the human aspects in those topics? Because ultimately we're [00:23:00] working with humans to deliver services and so I could, you know, just like we talk about in like contextual research or design research, understanding the user, I think there is a missing link to.

[00:23:13] How are you know your clients and agency, a user? How are your colleagues in other parts of the organization's users and taking some of our tools that are sort of traditionally taught, and how do we apply them to other scopes, to other conversations? And so I think you could still keep kind of the, the traditional coursework, but apply it from a d.

[00:23:42] Perspective and Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So more industry involvement with different, um, perspectives, either agency versus in-house. Okay. Is one way of achieving that. Um, and in terms of the students who [00:24:00] have say, um, already already graduated and they're on the lookout for jobs now, there's lots of people out there at the moment and they're like, what happens if I'm one of them?

[00:24:11] Do you, do you saying that I'm, I'm potentially like, I don't have this skill. How do they go and do this? Because this is the, the, the big quandary for a lot of graduates and emerging talent. Yeah. They want the skills, they want the experience. Well, and, and then they face someone like you kind of goes, well, I know if I take you on, you're not gonna have this experience.

[00:24:33] What do you say to them? Uh, so, so to be clear, I actually don't expect. Recent graduates to have that experience as we were talking about, you know, like, like a mindset, right. For me it's, yeah. I feel like I am often needing to coach and mentor, overcoming a mindset, um, and, and, and kind of an approach to things.

[00:24:59] So I don't feel like [00:25:00] they fundamentally lack the skills. And in fact, I'm a huge proponent of, I really expect. Um, this, this is gonna sound wrong. I expect very little of new graduates. I expect that they're gonna have the theoretical basis to then yeah, apply in practice. And I see it really as my job as a senior and as a lead designer to support them in that practical application, you know, applied theory kinda thing.

[00:25:34] Um, what I think. So, so what I would then encourage new designers is to really think about how are they telling their portfolio stories from a perspective of, this is the way that I. Applied certain tools. Here's how I learned from that and based off of that, here's the [00:26:00] adjustments that I made. Because then I can hear, okay, they've got the right parts and pieces and I can shape and mold that.

[00:26:08] Then I think there's a very practical that once you're in a role really finding that expert navigator that can help you to build that. Um, That organizational knowledge that supports how you succeed in your role. Mm-hmm. So I think it's a really, it's really a shift from I'm gonna come in and tell people what to do to, I have a lot that I need to learn and I need to find the right people to learn from.

[00:26:46] Yeah. The attributes of a service designer are something that I've discussed in, uh, episodes that probably haven't been released, maybe by the time they listen to this episode. But [00:27:00] in your belief, if you go and study a master of service design, does that automatically mean this is a a, a pretty poorly phrased question, folks.

[00:27:11] Does that automatically mean that you're gonna be a good service designer? And I, I, I'm, I'm gonna, um, yeah. I, I'm gonna answer that one for you most likely. You know, it's, it's, it's, no. Okay. Right, right, right, right. So what are those attributes? Because I'm really keen to hear the human side of things. Yeah.

[00:27:33] Much like you could go to a hospital and your doctor A and Dr. B. One person might be, have a really beautiful bedside manner and that affects the quality of the service, so I'm really keen to hear. Your thoughts on what are the attributes of a quality service designer and are they being nurtured enough from within [00:28:00] academia?

[00:28:02] So, I'm gonna struggle a little bit with this answer because, and, and I actually recently just had this development conversation with a, a colleague. I what makes a quality service designer is going to be specific to, it's, it's, it's a little person in a little person dependent in the sense of, Are you trying to be a lead service designer?

[00:28:30] Are you trying to be an experienced lead, you know, that has a multidisciplinary team? Or are you really trying to be that individual contributor and you know, and I think in some ways not so different from other disciplines. You know, there are UX designers that are fantastic. Pixel pushers, right? Really superb.

[00:28:53] Coming up with brilliant concepts aren't necessarily the people most effective [00:29:00] at. Stakeholder feedback and, um, looking at how do things fit into the strategic objectives, you know, they given a well framed problem, they can execute against it. Fantastic. Um, or may even be able to do that framing, but maybe can't do both.

[00:29:19] And, and so I think depending on. What your role needs to be or what you want to be. Um, part of what I was just talking with this designer about is being an excellent workshop producer, but she's not necessarily the person who's really going to lead the energy of a workshop. And so we, we were talking about those are two different skill sets.

[00:29:50] And both of us have a place like I, I'm a great mc, you know, I do fantastic. Um, workshop MCing, right? You know, feel the [00:30:00] dynamics, keep the energy up, adjust when needed. But she is an excellent producer who can really like, line everything up, make sure everybody's set up for success, and, and those are just different needs and both of them can.

[00:30:15] But that being said, so that's, that's my caveat to all of that. Yeah. But that being said, um, there's a couple of real people side to things, um, the bedside manner aspect. So one is I often talk about needing to be a multi linguist. So I speak finance, I speak marketing. Speak, um, engineering, I speak it. I'm not, uh, what is that?

[00:30:41] You know, I'm conversationally fluent in it, but I sure can't write it. I'm not proficient in it, you know? Um, but because I can listen to what. Folks are saying and understand that and also talk [00:31:00] with them in their own language. It makes things hugely approachable. And, and this is where I love kind of the bedside analogy of are you using the scientific technical descriptions of whatever health issue you have or are you really talking in Lehman's terms in a way that a patient can understand?

[00:31:19] So I think that that multi linguistic piece is huge. Um, I think. Other thing that is really powerful and I see some of our best service designers able to do is they're fantastic at Rapid. Conversation, synthesis and reflection. So they're really able to, um, actually I, Adam Lawrence, I point to a lot around, uh, it's an improv skill.

[00:31:52] You know, you can hear what's going on and based off of what you're hearing, Be able to react to that [00:32:00] or be able to reflect back to the team. Um, so particularly in workshops, I, I hear this show up a lot or dicey spicy conversations. They're also dicey sometimes being able to say as a multi linguist, Hey, I hear you saying this.

[00:32:17] I hear you saying this. Together we are saying this. Do we all agree on that together? And then it's often like, oh yeah, we really are saying the same thing, but we were all coming at it from our own perspectives. And so that, that kind of, um, improv skill of rapid synthesis and then reflecting back. Makes a huge difference in getting the alignment that you often need and being able to have people working towards the same direction.

[00:32:55] Okay. So there's, there's quite a lot to unpack there. Uh, [00:33:00] but again, just, just going back to. The, the emerging talent. Yeah. Who might have studied service design and they're hearing this, they're kind of going Okay. Do I have these skills and I, I'm gonna give my perspective on things and I'd like to hear if you, your, your thoughts on that.

[00:33:22] Like, for, for me, service design and effective service designers, there's no one type. Okay. So there's, you know, it's, we, we need, as a craft, we can't be producing the same type of skillset and the ta, same type of person. We need all those different variances and different backgrounds and perspectives and strengths.

[00:33:42] To really create a stronger, um, potential outcome for the people who are gonna use these products or services. Um, but one of the things that I find within, um, service designers that seems to be. They're [00:34:00] good people in terms like they're able to communicate and they're able to balance objectives. Uh, and they're also, which, which you mentioned there about being able to synthesize conversations quite quickly, see patterns and, and move between all of these different levels of complexity that we talk, talk about quite a lot.

[00:34:19] Um, do you believe that there is a role service. Because in my perspective, over the years, I call myself a service designer, but like if you bring me in and they're gonna go, well, we've got the service designer. The service designer is here. It opens up a potential of, um, confusion within in-house teams. Um, and tends to be like the way I position the role as a service designer within in-house conversations is I'm just like a facilitator.

[00:34:51] A facilitator of the conversations between all of the stakeholders who are here. You've already been delivering a service for the previous 50 years [00:35:00] in some, some cases. So my role here is just to try and ensure we get a better outcome. What are your thoughts on. Yes, both. Uh, so yes, I do believe there is a service design role.

[00:35:13] I, I would be able to say over the last seven years, I've had a very clear role as a service designer. What I also agree with is that designing services is not a role and, and that is the distinction that I make. Yeah. So there are lots of people that design services, um, there are lots of people that define and deliver services, and that I very much believe is a force distributed and shared activity.

[00:35:54] Now, you know, just like, so like, but, but I also say, I say the same thing about like, I'm a trained. [00:36:00]Creative problem solver. You know, that's what being a designer to me really means. Like if I do generically regardless of the type. Mm-hmm. But I'm, I know amazing problem solvers in engineering, in finance, in marketing.

[00:36:16] So a lot of, so for me it's really what is the application of that creative problem solving. And so my role as a service designer is, Creative expertise in crafting service experiences. And that is absolutely something that, yes, I'm facilitating, but I'm also delivering on, you know, there are distinct deliverables that I have created that would not be created by a non-designer.

[00:36:55] I would say in the same way of like ux, you know, there, there are a lot [00:37:00] of user experience oriented people. You can certainly as a non-designer, create experience flows. You can, you know, you can define navigation and architecture, doing it to a level of fidelity and. Tangible craft is where you start to see that shift.

[00:37:25] Um, and, and you know, in fairness, like there are a lot of UXers that I work with. There's a lot of design strategists, design researchers that take a service design approach in their work and I think bring, um, tremendous service design perspectives, but I really don't see them executing on. Designing services.

[00:37:50] And so, you know, that's a little bit where the two intersect, is that in my role as a service designer designing services, I do [00:38:00] feel that I have a unique. Responsibility for certain deliverables, artifacts, outputs, results. Um, but I completely agree that designing and delivering services is not a role.

[00:38:18] Yeah, it's, it's, it's interesting cause there's this. It depends, is probably the kinda response to it. Like, you know, there we can keep going and keep going and we're, both of us are in a hole in this one. But like, it's, it's really, um, it's interesting to speak to you about this because too often it's just glazed over like yeah, you're gonna do a service design, uh, master's or degree or whatever.

[00:38:43] It's, yeah. And then you find yourself working in a business and you're scratching your head saying, why isn't this making. Well, and there, there are groups that I've worked with where I've been very transparent to say, you don't need me. You all are doing fine. Like you are [00:39:00] designing and delivering exceptional experiences.

[00:39:03] Like I don't have anything to contribute. Um, and, and that I'm totally good with that. Like there are some brilliant service marketing folks that can. Elegantly describe and reflect customer journeys. Tie that front stage to backstage, or thinking about different touchpoints. Mm-hmm. And are able to creatively direct the craft side of things.

[00:39:29] Yeah. You know, they're not necessarily executing, but they're able to do that. And so that's sort of where I'm like, no, you know, go work. Go work with your outsourced agency, or go work with your one person that's doing your ux. You're like, totally like you guys have this. Yeah. Then there are other groups where there is a distinct craft deficit and there is a distinct, um, sort of gap in.

[00:39:55] Tangible articulation of experiences and then that is [00:40:00] a huge contribution that, yeah, that I can make. And, and again, you know, even in some of the exceptional groups, then it can be more, it can end up more as a facilitation role of you have all of the ideas. My job is to extract those and reflect them back to you so then you can do something with them.

[00:40:20] So, you know, for me, I'm really living. Or, or I'm comfortable with a spectrum of when is it designing services and when is it being a service designer? Yeah. And kinda where do I need to exist on that spectrum at any given time? It's interesting. It, it, it really is like, you know, I've, I've had this thought over, I dunno, the last decade or so.

[00:40:46] Certain people are probably better equipped to handle certain working conditions. Yeah. Yes. Ok. And that's what I'm, I'm kind of hearing, I'm, I'm actually, [00:41:00] you know, doing what we talked about, synthesizing a conversation quite quickly and come up like, that's, that's what I'm doing here, but it's. I took a role at a consultancy a few years ago and I'm like, wow, this is probably not the home for me.

[00:41:13] Straight away Uhhuh Uhhuh from government and running my own business and, and working within agencies and stuff, and I could see why certain people thrive in certain environments, whereas others sink for sure. Um, and I think that's really important. And I guess I'm kind of, I'm summing up our conversation, but it's important for academia almost to put them into different lanes and say this, this is what experience looks like within a consultancy.

[00:41:43] This is what experience looks like within house. This is what an experience looks like, running your own business. This is what, and, and having a flavor for all of them because they require different sets of skills. Well, and maybe it's more so, so this, this is interesting cause I'm [00:42:00] thinking about like, especially, so I do a ton of portfolio coaching and mentoring and so like what is, you know, thinking about this, like what is the pattern, often the pattern of my interactions with current students is helping them identify.

[00:42:19] Those factors that they have already experienced, helping them identify from their academic work. Where are they likely to be successful? What are their particular skill sets and strengths? And so, you know, I think about, so this, so this is, if I were to maybe really get tactical for academia what they could change, I would actually like to see.

[00:42:44] There's almost always like one quarter or one semester of make your portfolio. I would like to see those be far less generic of you need to put together three projects with this many pages that describe, you know, I'd like, cuz by the way, I can [00:43:00] spot what programs somebody came from based off of their portfolio.

[00:43:04] I like Without fail, I can say which program they came. Um, I would like to see those professional practice classes or those portfolio classes be much more oriented towards how do you self-identify your starting point and, and knowing that your starting point may change, you know, like. You may start an agency and then realize like, Nope, really not for you.

[00:43:32] But knowing that like there are some amazing things about agency. You get huge variety of projects. You know, it's really kind of this fast turnover cycle. You're gonna be exposed to, um, a lot of different interactions. But what are the trade-offs with that? You know, the trade-offs being, you're not really going to have.

[00:43:55] Long term relationships, you're not going to be [00:44:00] driving organizational change. Um, you may, you know, and so, and so knowing that there's sort of different things there. And then even within that, what kinds of projects do you like to do? Are you really more oriented towards. Fuzzy front end, or are you more oriented to continuous improvement?

[00:44:17] You know, there, there are very different desires even within that. Um, you know, are you more oriented to, you really like to do the design research side of things and reflect that in a service experience? Yeah. Or are you more of a, you, are you more oriented to discreet touchpoints and want to link them together in an over time journey?

[00:44:41] Those, I think those are the really tactical conversations to have in academia so that both students coming out are able to tell the story that they want to, you know, they're, they're able to present in the way that, that reflects who [00:45:00] they are as a designer, and then seek the kind of opportunities that they, they think are going to best align with that, or at least know that.

[00:45:12] They aren't getting that. Then how do they potentially navigate that misalignment and still seek it as a learning experience? Um, absolutely. It's, um, I, I can't really build on anymore on that. That's, that's re really solid advice for anyone listening who's finding themselves post, uh, academia and in that position of, of looking for a job and also for people within academia and how they can take that advice and maybe consider applying it to any of the academic structures that they find themselves designing.

[00:45:46] Dee, we're at the end of the episode here. You're at Phillips, um, I'm sure people will have questions for you. Um, maybe throw a link and what's the best way for people to get in touch with you and continue the conversation? Sure. [00:46:00] So, um, I have a code name so you can find me on LinkedIn, but you need to look for LinkedIn, Diane Siever.

[00:46:08] Um, and the thing that I ask is anybody's welcome to reach out to me, but you need to contextualize, you know, so send me a message or send me an invite, but you need to. Where you are connecting to me from, otherwise I'm gonna ignore it. So, you know, just drop in there like, Hey, heard you on H c d, would love to connect, then I'll at least have that point of reference for, for that.

[00:46:32] Um, and, and I would also really encourage connect, because you wanna have a conversation, not just. Connections. Uh, so drop me a note with a question and then you will get an active engagement from. You better follow those instructions, folks. I try be useful. I need to be useful to people and I can only be useful to people if I, if I know what they're looking for.

[00:46:59] I know. [00:47:00] Thanks so much for your time. All right. Thank you. It was a pleasure.

[00:47:07] There you go folks. I hope you enjoyed that episode, and if you enjoyed it and want to listen to more, why not visit this is where you can learn more about what we are up to and also explore our courses well through there. Thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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