The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Ricardo Martins 'The challenges and complexity of implementation and delivery of Human Centered and Service Design projects'

John Carter
October 10, 2022
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Ricardo Martins 'The challenges and complexity of implementation and delivery of Human Centered and Service Design projects'

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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.

Before we jump in, I have a favour to ask. Ive been creating content for This is HCD for over 5-years or so, all for the love of sharing knowledge to the global design community. One thing you could do is leave a review (preferably a 5-star one!), as it helps us grow our community - every little helps.

Even if you don’t review, you can go one better by telling people you work with about the podcast.

We launched a space on where you can take courses now on visualisation, design research and more.

In this episode I speak with Ricardo Martins, Professor of Service Design at SCAD, of Savannah College of Art and Design in the US. In this conversation we speak about the parts of design that are often trivialised somewhat, and that’s the implementation of our designs into sometimes seriously complex systems made up of people and processes. We also speak about how we can educate the future Design talent better, and chat about where Ricardo feels Design Leaders are lacking.

It’s a fantastic conversation and totally enjoyed connecting with him - let’s jump in!

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Episode Transcript

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Ricardo Martins episode - This transcript was generated using AI.

[00:00:00] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to Bring in Design. 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. Now, before we jump in, I have a favor to ask. Like I say, all the start of every episode I've been creating content personally for this is HCD for over five years, all for the love of sharing knowledge to the global design community that has just sprung up around.

[00:00:53] Gerry Scullion: This is HCD. Now one thing that you could do is leave a review, um, on Apple or Google or Spotify [00:01:00] as it helps grow our community and every little bit helps. But even if you don't leave a review, you can go better by telling your friends and the people that you work with about the podcast. Now, we launched a space on this is hate, called that.

[00:01:13] Gerry Scullion: This is Haiti Color recently, where you can take courses on visualization, design, research, trauma informed design, and lots. Now in this episode, I speak with Ricardo Martin's, Professor of Service Design at SCAD by the Savannah College of Art Design in the us. Now, in this conversation, we speak about the parts of design that are often trivialized somewhat, and that's the implementation of our designs into sometimes seriously complex systems made up of people and processes or as we like to call.

[00:01:43] Gerry Scullion: Organizations. We also speak about how we can educate the future of design talent better, and we chat about why Ricardo feels design leaders are lacking. It's a fantastic conversation and I totally enjoyed connecting with Ricardo. So let's jump straight in. Ricardo, I'm [00:02:00] so happy to finally get to, to speak with you and connect with you.

[00:02:04] Gerry Scullion: Um, but let's jump in. Ricardo. Um, tell us a little bit about your so and where you're. Oh, thank you very

[00:02:09] Ricardo Martins: much Gary. It's a pleasure. I have been following your work for some time and very, Your

[00:02:26] Ricardo Martins: benefitor in Southern College of Art. Mm-hmm. Design in the United States. We are the only service design program with an undergraduate and graduate. Courses in United States and, but before this, I, I used to teach in Brazil. Mm-hmm. , one of the oldest programs of, in the Federal University of South. But I have been working with design for around 20 years.

[00:02:57] Gerry Scullion: Okay. So you, you've, [00:03:00] um, in that 26 years, was there a period where you were working as a service designer or has it always been an.

[00:03:09] Ricardo Martins: IED my career seven times . Ok. So I have lots of histories. Right, Okay. But it's like a natural progression. I tell the story long, but I started in computer programming, so a teenager, so I enjoyed working with computers and interfaces.

[00:03:32] Ricardo Martins: Uh, but I realized that, uh, they were very. Because in fact they were the black and green monitors. Yeah. They low resolution things. This could be better. So we, we have windows. So I start more about the, and the to branding from branding to process, user [00:04:00] experience, operations. And then subsequent.

[00:04:04] Gerry Scullion: Okay, excellent.

[00:04:05] Gerry Scullion: So in today's topic, we're gonna be talking about something that probably needs an awful lot more discussion. We've both been discussing it in the lead up to this, and that's the difficult side of design in terms of the implementation of anything that we do. But specifically in this episode, we wanna focus about the implementation side of service design.

[00:04:27] Gerry Scullion: Um, so what's your experience? I guess generally around the implementation side of service design.

[00:04:35] Ricardo Martins: Yes. So I think this is a relevant topic because it's all about producing reality because design is the start with the intention. This is the, the desired future state of design is knowledge about the future.

[00:04:53] Ricardo Martins: Yeah. So, but knowledge is not reality. So, Okay. I have a blueprint. [00:05:00] This is the description about what we mention. That would be ideal situation. Yeah. But we need to translate this intention and the practical word. So this bridge is usually what is difficult because it's not only about my interest, my motivation, so my ideas, but we need to, to, to.

[00:05:28] Ricardo Martins: To convince people to use the resources in different ways. Yeah. And when we do this, usually we change structures of power. People don't like to lose power. No. So we should be very careful. And sometimes I think designers are a little bit in the sense naive. They think that we can come and start, make lots of changes, and nobody will resist.

[00:05:55] Ricardo Martins: I know

[00:05:57] Gerry Scullion: it's really interesting because, um, what you're saying [00:06:00] there, I can put my hand up and say, I've been guilty of that before. I, I remember in certain instances, Where I went into a workshop so naive that all of a sudden I was gonna whip out a bunch of these post-it notes, uh, and say, just everyone stand back.

[00:06:16] Gerry Scullion: Jerry's about to do his workshop and I'm gonna solve all the world's problems with these Post-Its and very quickly, you know, in my kind of youth I was like, Actually, dunno if this is actually making, making a dent in any of their lives. Like that wasn't a problem. Where do you think, um, The resistance comes from, you mentioned power there, but what else is it?

[00:06:40] Gerry Scullion: Is it just the people are adverse to change? Mm.

[00:06:45] Ricardo Martins: Re recently I started studying about economical behavior. Mm-hmm. , behavioral economics, and we have other explanations for this automatic behavior [00:07:00] because in fact, people don't even. About resistant to change. It seems to be automatic. They try to, to defend the territory or to avoid like a conflict or cognition and things like that.

[00:07:17] Ricardo Martins: And I know today that we have more than 300 bias that are cut, that we have this in a catalog. So it's a lot of automat behaviors that we or brain use to be faster to avoid acting in a slow way. Yeah. But if we need to process our data, we would be very slow. So trying to be fast. We make this mistakes and it's difficult.

[00:07:49] Ricardo Martins: We dunno what is better. To evaluate the environment, what is the best things for everybody? Mm-hmm. , and to [00:08:00] accept the change, but to be very slow. You ignore the facts, the data, and just decide very fast. And I see that what happens in organizations is that they have a very quick behavior that reacts automatically to new ideas for when designers come and.

[00:08:21] Ricardo Martins: Promote or try to defend, uh, changes in the organization. Mm. So they avoid it at all costs.

[00:08:29] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. It's interesting because. If you were to speak to somebody who's in technology, they, they might argue that, um, people are pretty good at accepting new technology and new changes in their lives and new changes to the ways they working.

[00:08:43] Gerry Scullion: I mean, we only have to look to the pandemic where organizations were quickly able to respond and, you know, people were able to work relatively effectively, um, without being in the office. So we know we can point at those things and say that actually, you know, [00:09:00] People can respond and organizations can respond effectively when they're up against the wall.

[00:09:05] Gerry Scullion: But when it comes to, you know, new methodologies and new ways of working and, and thinking in a service design mindset, that, that requires us to look at various levels of detail or zoom, or however you wanna call it, it seems to hit a ceiling, a glass ceiling there where people. Struggle and service design projects.

[00:09:25] Gerry Scullion: Most likely in my experience and in my conversations with many over the years, fail what you are main contributing factors. Why Service design projects really struggle to see the day factors.

[00:09:42] Ricardo Martins: One of the factors is the idea that people are too rational, that people are driven by data, by insights, by facts.

[00:09:52] Ricardo Martins: In fact they're not. So what convince people to make a change? I, I see this a [00:10:00] lot of times in organizations in, um, meeting room. We come when we show the results or the research. So this is the idea of the behavior. This is this, those are the needs of patient and the hospital of the citizens in the country.

[00:10:16] Ricardo Martins: And even with the fact, uh, people deny it. So it seems that the, that is another factor driving the real interest of people. Mm. So I think that, um, another factor that, uh, is very common is not involving right stakeholders. Yeah. So the lack of diversity. So the absence of a stakeholder map, when you can understand what is the structure of power.

[00:10:46] Ricardo Martins: So, Who are in the decision process, who is connected to the problem that we're studying? Mm-hmm. . So usually this is another factor. [00:11:00] Another factor I believe that is not having right understanding of the problem. So we are doing the right way, the wrong thing. Yeah. So probably the list of reasons is, is. Try

[00:11:13] Gerry Scullion: B it, it's pretty broad.

[00:11:16] Gerry Scullion: Um, what are your thoughts on the, the discipline and the practitioners and their level of experience of, um, when it gets to that stage of a project where, We've validated or we've, I hate the word validated. I'm trying to stop saying it, but we've come to some sort of conclusion that we're to release the first release, and it just seems that, well, in my experience anyway, The, the change managers or other disciplines within an organization tend to step in and sometimes it's, it's a little bit harder for, for us to see the light a day.

[00:11:56] Gerry Scullion: So those projects, um, don't succeed. [00:12:00] Um, what, what are your thoughts on how we can actually better equip the future of designers to really become, um, stronger at the implementation side of design?

[00:12:11] Ricardo Martins: One of the most important skills. Something that designers don't have that is negotiation. Because when you are implementing changes, Yeah.

[00:12:23] Ricardo Martins: Usually we generate like a conflict of interest. So for example, the organization have been doing this way for 10 years. Yeah. So you arrive one early in the morning and they say, Hey, from now one, we need to change what to. So people, you need to convince them why this is better and maybe there's a conflict of interest.

[00:12:49] Ricardo Martins: So even we can make a change here. I lose power, I lose money. So convince me why, why I should do this A [00:13:00] win win situation, Okay. I know that the designers are gonna win, so with negotiation is all about to find a win-win situation. And lots of projects they don't take into consideration this scenario.

[00:13:15] Gerry Scullion: So I know in your role, professor of of Art

[00:13:26] Gerry Scullion: reshape

[00:13:29] Gerry Scullion: more negoti negotiation skills for designers into the curriculum. Yes. So are there tools that you have introduced to the curriculum that can aid this? You mentioned the stakeholder map. I'm a huge lover of the stakeholder maps. Um, they've served me well over my career. Is there anything else that you might, you might wanna point us at, um, that we can maybe talk a bit a bit more about?

[00:13:58] Gerry Scullion: Yes.

[00:13:59] Ricardo Martins: Uh, [00:14:00] another, um, tool is based on network. Because if you look, the system system is made of networks. So if you wanna map the system, you have several components connected to each other. And the network analysis help you to understand what would happen when gonna make changes in the system. So you can predict or anticipate possible problem.

[00:14:24] Ricardo Martins: So this is one tool that I think that is very useful. You can do network analysis using tools like Poly. That's the software you can do with open source, like okay, and many others.

[00:14:40] Gerry Scullion: Is that similar to value network mapping where you would, um, map the, the value between the stakeholders, or is it a bit.

[00:14:52] Ricardo Martins: I can see that go a bit bit further cause you can include the numbers.

[00:14:56] Ricardo Martins: Oh, okay. So I can see for [00:15:00] example, what is the strength, A specific connection between two different

[00:15:03] Gerry Scullion: stakeholders? Between two nodes almost.

[00:15:06] Ricardo Martins: Exactly. And based on these, you can anticipate, hey, if you make a change here we are affected the dependence. Ok. And the power is based on dependence.

[00:15:17] Gerry Scullion: And how, How do you get to that point of being able to quantify the.

[00:15:20] Gerry Scullion: What kind of stuff do you have to do? What kind information and research do you have to do?

[00:15:24] Ricardo Martins: Okay, so this depends on the organization. So organization enough have a, especially the of the source of going to another. So based on this information flows, you can extract lots of information. So you can use this, sure.

[00:15:49] Ricardo Martins: But for, let give an example. This poly, it can measure the strength of connections based on surveys. [00:16:00] The, the service, uh, puts the information side and poly can evaluate which connections are strong.

[00:16:11] Gerry Scullion: Wow, that sounds really cool. I'm, I'm gonna have to try and find this and put a link to that one in the show notes.

[00:16:17] Gerry Scullion: So, um, folks, you should be able to check the show notes and there should be a link in there. So, um, I, I'm gonna have a play with that. That sounds something that definitely people could, uh, could find a huge value in. But in terms of, um, The future of, um, the negotiation skills that you mentioned there, that, that change makers need to get better at.

[00:16:37] Gerry Scullion: What do organizations need to do on the flip side? So if we get, um, really strong negoti skills for, for change makers, what are the bits that you see, uh, organizations needing to upscale more on, in being able to receive, um, the stuff that we're trying to effectively sell to the organization?

[00:16:58] Ricardo Martins: Yes, I see. [00:17:00] I think the problem with the organizations is that they're not equal.

[00:17:03] Ricardo Martins: Mm. So in fact, I don't see organizations, maybe we, we, we have the different levels of maturity. Yeah. So organization are nature. So they have good leadership, they have open mind, they are open to failure, et cetera. So the culture of the organizations can make their, the change difficult or not. And sometimes the culture is not ready for change.

[00:17:33] Ricardo Martins: So this is the concept of readiness to change. And other organizations can be very resistance. Cause of very strong culture is not a problem. We, we tend to think that the, the stronger they culture, the worst it is. Yeah. But in fact it's not because the strong culture can make the change difficult. But usually we, when you have a strong [00:18:00] culture, the organization is solid.

[00:18:02] Ricardo Martins: Yeah. Because when the culture is weak, it's easy to change, but it's also easy for coming back, turn into add situation. You cannot see that the, the strength of the culture, the, the resistance to change can be positive because if you convince them to change, You to be, you have higher chance to maintain the change.

[00:18:28] Ricardo Martins: Mm.

[00:18:29] Gerry Scullion: That's really interesting. I'm trying, I'm trying to process that one at the same time. Um, on the side of the organization, um, the, the side of being convinced is the bit that I'm, um, hanging up on, like, so I'm kind of saying it's kind of a, it's a power structure between. Us and them. Um, and it seems to be a case where we need to negate that somewhat and create more of a common ground, a common language.

[00:18:56] Gerry Scullion: I know when I've spoken to Mark the stick to one about [00:19:00] this quite a bit, um, it's, rather than thinking of them, it's thinking of us. So like the, the lumpers and the splitters is what Adam Lawrence likes to call it, a big believer in that. Like, rather than looking for the differences between, um, the disciplines, The people that wanna work on this stuff together.

[00:19:19] Gerry Scullion: What advice do you have to change makers out there who are really trying to find their allies and finding the people that want to do the change? Because in my experience with governments and councils around the world, um, What people are saying they want to do versus what they actually really want to do, uh, are two separate things and it's sometimes it's very difficult to find the lumpers, the people that are, are gonna go on the journey with you.

[00:19:49] Gerry Scullion: Do you have any tips for people and how they can actually identify these people?

[00:19:54] Ricardo Martins: I think this is ex excellent question. In fact, I think it's one of the most important. [00:20:00] Because when we find this ALI piece that can participate with you in the change, yeah, can make your work much easier. But this is the thing, boy quarters, people that will do sabotage, that will make your life harder.

[00:20:18] Ricardo Martins: They don't have like a label in the forehead. Say, Hey, I'm your enemy. So usually in front of you they say, Hey, let's go. Yeah, that's an amazing idea. Now we, we, we can see the light

[00:20:39] Ricardo Martins: Friends

[00:20:45] Ricardo Martins: is interesting.

[00:20:49] Ricardo Martins: Uh, so sociologist and she, he created a very interesting theory about the agency of objects. So usually [00:21:00] when you look to the system, we are very concerned about people, stakeholders. Mm-hmm. , the champion, leaders, managers, employees, frontline, etc. But Google tools show that the objects, the physical things in the system are very important and they can help you anticipate who can be about quarter in your system.

[00:21:24] Ricardo Martins: Why? Because people are connected to the objects. To the physical space, to the rooms, to the building. Mm-hmm. to the money, to the software. When you make this change in these things, you can anticipate which people can see this like a threat. So instead of trying to find friends who can be your friend and making change, mm-hmm.

[00:21:50] Ricardo Martins: I would focus on try to anticipate who can be a boy quarter. Because most of the of people in the organization, they will [00:22:00] support the change. The problem are specific people that can see this like a threat to their power. And whenever you change dependencies in the system, change the process. When you change the physical evidence, when change, change the roles of people, these changes depend.

[00:22:21] Ricardo Martins: So if you can anticipate which parts of the system, uh, will affect people based on the changes on physical world, you can identify who can be

[00:22:35] Gerry Scullion: a problem. Okay. And, and handling. Um, the problem I guess is, is a, is another layer of complexity as well, like how you approach. The handling of those problems in terms of conflict management and how you resolve those conflicts.

[00:22:53] Gerry Scullion: Um, not all conflict is bad, and that's something that people, um, I, I know [00:23:00] I struggled with for a long time and wanting to avoid kind of disappointing people and, um, standing up for things and how to effectively negate those things. What's your thoughts on. The conflict side of progressing. Um, what we're trying to do here is really, I implement service design into an organization.

[00:23:23] Gerry Scullion: Um, but how, how do you get around the conflict side of things where people say like, Oh, I don't think this is the right thing, or, I don't want this. I know in the last conversation that I had recently with Mark Fontain from the service design show, really need service.

[00:23:38] Ricardo Martins: So concerning conflicts. Hmm. In fact, you are right.

[00:23:43] Ricardo Martins: Conflicts are not good or bad. Yeah. They're just conflicts. It's part of life. Natural part of life. Yeah. So it's not about surviving conflict at all costs. In fact, this is one of the main [00:24:00] problems that I have with design thinking, because in design thinking world, they try to provide conflicts. Yeah. And in fact, conflicts are necessary because you can only learn by difference.

[00:24:14] Ricardo Martins: You don't learn from people that think like you. Absolutely. So conflict a different idea can be a source of learning. Yeah.

[00:24:23] Gerry Scullion: It's a tension of course.

[00:24:25] Ricardo Martins: Yes, I'm talking about the conflicts of ideas, but we have our conflicts of personality. Yeah. This is very different. Yeah. So conflicts of ideas can be good.

[00:24:37] Ricardo Martins: People have different ideas. They, they can see different approaches to the same problem. So this can be very rich, but these people discussing the things, they don't have conflicts of personality. So when we have this second kinda conflict, I think this is the, can be a big problem.

[00:24:59] Gerry Scullion: How [00:25:00] so? Because I think I might challenge you in this one.

[00:25:02] Gerry Scullion: Um, uh, do you want to aim for perfect harmony in, in your design teams? Is that what, what your, your thoughts are?

[00:25:12] Ricardo Martins: I think that's the word. Perfect is not the. But I think that should be a space for learning. Hmm. Space

[00:25:21] Gerry Scullion: for

[00:25:21] Ricardo Martins: learning means that we make mistakes. I did mistakes. You did mistakes. My friends make mistakes.

[00:25:29] Ricardo Martins: So the problems. Not making mistakes or having like a conflicted discussion. Yeah. But what can I learn with this? Can, Am I using this as opportunity to being a better person? For example, I teach students sometimes I had conflicts with students and lots of times I learn it with them. I learn to be a better professor.

[00:25:55] Ricardo Martins: So the beginning of my career, I made lots of mistakes and [00:26:00] professor because of the mistakes I made. So I don't see the mistakes like, Uh, oh my goodness, they're destroying my life. Students are a problem. Yeah, no. So the harmony, I think it is based on balance. Mm. So the extremes are not good. Yeah. So the, to have this complete piece and the agreement.

[00:26:27] Ricardo Martins: All the time, but nobody learns nothing. And the opposite, people keep fighting and there is a lot of disrespect. Yeah. And offense people. People. So I think you should have a

[00:26:41] Gerry Scullion: balance. And it's also, you know, I'm keen to point out here at this point that we're, we're just talking about difficult personalities.

[00:26:48] Gerry Scullion: We're not talking about the asshole in the room, is what I like to say. Excuse the French. But um, I'm of the opinion that any room for the a-holes in, in teams, there's no place for them. [00:27:00] Okay? There's no place for that behavior, toxic behavior, no place for that stuff. It's people that I'm talking about that might be difficult for personality.

[00:27:09] Gerry Scullion: You may not gel. In my perspective, I think that's not always a bad thing. Okay. Cause those kind of tensions can sometimes be, that can drive some positivity towards the team dynamics. It can challenge things. It can, it can feel like a little bit more, um, of a safer space to challenge versus suppress and, and not being able to raise those pieces.

[00:27:33] Ricardo Martins: Yes, I agree with you and I apologize. Maybe the word that I use is not the best. That's good. You're right, . So, um,

[00:27:41] Gerry Scullion: the, see we've just resolved something. We've just resolved a conflict .

[00:27:46] Ricardo Martins: Yes. So this maybe instead of difference of personality should be dealing. The bad character. Yeah. People that lie, that they, [00:28:00] they're toxic.

[00:28:01] Ricardo Martins: So this is the, what I call like a bad

[00:28:04] Gerry Scullion: personality. Yeah. Okay. That's, that, that, that's really interesting. So before we start, like, you know, talking about, uh, the next piece of this conversation, is there anything else you wanna wrap up in terms of, um, Where designers and where design holistically can improve to really improve the chances of success for service design project.

[00:28:27] Gerry Scullion: We mentioned here about the ability to, to map networks and map stakeholders, um, handle and discuss and not be fearful of conflict. What other things do you really feel that the, the discipline and the practitioners can really maybe take to heart and say, Well, actually, you know, There are some things I'm gonna gonna take away today.

[00:28:49] Gerry Scullion: Um, I might increase my chances of success for implementation for service design projects particularly.

[00:28:55] Ricardo Martins: Yes. Good question. I think that [00:29:00] is all about understanding what is value for different risk holders. Yeah, risk, risk holder is the same like stakeholder, but it's easier to understand cause the stake is a risk.

[00:29:15] Ricardo Martins: So people, they have risks risky of losing a property, money, time, reputation or whatever. Yeah. Reputation. So when you understand what is the risk, what is value for these difference risk holders, and you Del, you try to accommodate these different interests and to deliver value to. So this is the basic premise of design, but in fact, it's something that lots of designers don't do because they only take into interest the customer.

[00:29:54] Ricardo Martins: Yeah, the shareholders, but not from the employees, for example.

[00:29:59] Gerry Scullion: It's a really [00:30:00] good point. Um, and someone else mentioned that to me recently, um, and I can't remember which, which podcast it was. It may not be out yet, but, um, they're really good points now in the lead up to this conversation, we were back and forth and we were talking around.

[00:30:15] Gerry Scullion: Where we see design going in the future of design and the caveats of design as well. Um, that too often get trivialized in scripts or videos, whatever. It's even podcasts as well. I'm sure I'm, I'm guilty of it. What are your, what are your concerns about where we're at as a discipline right now? Um, taken into consideration.

[00:30:40] Gerry Scullion: We're, I wouldn't wanna say post pandemic, but we're definitely on the, the other side of the pandemic. I think at this stage, the world that we are seeing in front of now, like with increased energy costs, um, war, maybe recessions and so forth. What are the things that's really [00:31:00] missing that we really need to reframe and reevaluate how we're designing?

[00:31:07] Ricardo Martins: I think that youll talked a very important topic. That's the, the thing that Rachel, that's about the mental health. Yeah. So, uh, we talk a lot about emotions, emotions of customers, but I think that we really on the real meaning of the, So I think that still shallow. I also see that design is under construction, lots of.

[00:31:35] Ricardo Martins: Senses. I see that we, we are still a little bit shallow. Yeah. In terms of theoretical understanding or even philosophical understanding about what is really, what is real design. And even I was reading statistics that most of the designers, they learn in the job seeing what others do. [00:32:00] So is this the best way to learn something?

[00:32:04] Ricardo Martins: I, I see there is a value on learning by example. I value this. Mm-hmm. , I, I myself learn it a lot seeing others work, but I think that this could be better.

[00:32:15] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. We can actually do that better. The emotion piece is something that you've, you've knocked it outta the park for me as well, because. Mapping emotionality and even, um, user research in particular.

[00:32:28] Gerry Scullion: Um, I feel that that, that, that area is probably, um, we can all improve on it a lot more. It's like we've cherry picked elements from anthropology and, and social sciences and just kind of. We're not doing them. Uh, justice, there's, there's an awful lot of value that we've left behind that repurposed, relearn, reintroduce into disciplines of design.

[00:32:54] Ricardo Martins: Yes, definitely that there is also improvement for teaching. [00:33:00] See, see that a lot of design schools today designed the same way that they used to do like 20 years ago. And it seems that's the, the teaching is always late. The societies changes update. You have a progress, but the teaching does not follow.

[00:33:19] Gerry Scullion: It's funny because where you're at now with your professor of service design in one of the most reputable universities in the world that teaches service design. How do you avoid that from happening to you and the course that you're. , there's, for anyone who's listening on the podcast, uh, there's probably about 25 books behind Ricard Shoulders.

[00:33:42] Gerry Scullion: So you're constant reader

[00:33:44] Ricardo Martins: Yes. People reading new stuff and, and you things that ago maybe, maybe are not useful today. Yeah. So we have. I'd like [00:34:00] to mention that this is another problem with service design. Yeah. Um, I value the, all the good contributions that people that books about have been doing. Yeah.

[00:34:12] Ricardo Martins: Think that, of course its, please me if I'm wrong, it, it seems that there is a disconnection between United States and Europe. Because in United States we have lots of knowledge about services, especially from services marketing. Mm-hmm. , and it seems that services design don't want to show these things.

[00:34:37] Ricardo Martins: Like, Hey, we, we never don't even know these things exist and we reinvented the wheel. And, um, why they, they don't cons consider what others are doing. And the same happens here. People from United States, they ignore what is being produced in the Europe.

[00:34:57] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, [00:35:00] it's also true in Australia as well. We're in Australia.

[00:35:04] Gerry Scullion: Um, even u I e. There's, there's huge, uh, chasm between the territories and especially in South America as well. I know some really strong services, design practitioners in South America. Um, and even some of the, the manuscripts and the books that are created aren't, aren't reproduced into Spanish and stuff, so, um, The thing about the, the European, um, and I can speak from Ireland in the uk there's still an awful lot of education happening around what services are, what service design is, what it can do for you in Australia.

[00:35:44] Gerry Scullion: Um, there were. A lot further ahead than, um, they give themselves credit for, especially when they're talking about services for government, um, design maturity in organizations and have their ability to procure services. It was much further [00:36:00] ahead than where it's at in Europe. Um, that's my personal experience having lived there for 14 years.

[00:36:06] Gerry Scullion: I can't comment what it's like in America, but I have coached teams in, in America as well. And it does seem that America is somewhat further behind than Europe and Australia. Um, so if I had to look at the, the global maturity in, in my own sort of white. Perspective of living in Australia. Australia is one of the most, um, dominant service design, uh, microcosms as well as Scandinavia.

[00:36:35] Gerry Scullion: But as far as anywhere else, I really struggle to, to name places other than London. That, um, where people ask me, where, where do you go to get service design jobs? Well, what do you say to.

[00:36:49] Ricardo Martins: Look, this is interesting. Did you born in Australia?

[00:36:54] Gerry Scullion: No, I'm born in Ireland, but I lived in Australia for 14 years.

[00:36:58] Ricardo Martins: Okay.

[00:36:59] Ricardo Martins: [00:37:00] So look, since I, I came from Brazil. I looked to the top in the America and Europe, United States and Europe. And I can recognize the difference levels of maturity. So United States is very good on services marketing. Mm-hmm. , but not too much on service design. Yeah. And is good on service design, but not services marketing, but both services.

[00:37:28] Ricardo Martins: So there is lot of overlapping and you could builds and so I don't understand why this not happen. Listen to you right now is the very first time that I listened to someone talking about services in Australia. Yeah, I, I never heard about then, and I'm surprised. That they, they are, have a leadership position in this area.

[00:37:52] Ricardo Martins: So I have interest now on knowing more about them.

[00:37:56] Gerry Scullion: There's, there's some great programs down there. You, you [00:38:00] mentioned earlier about academia being 20 years behind, um, and you teaching skills that are somewhat deprecated. I wanna ask you a question around, um, the importance of having practiced as a, as a practitioner in order to be able to.

[00:38:17] Gerry Scullion: Train in the discipline. So, um, it, it was a question that was pitched to me in Australia years ago and I was surprised. It was even a question I was like, in my mind, you have to have practice and you have to have designed services to be able to teach service design. And I'm not talking about the ability to design a website and talking about the ability to be in the middle of the eye of the.

[00:38:41] Gerry Scullion: Working across the business and, uh, having that conflict and that that ability to negotiate and that ability to present to a wider organization to give executive support and what we're doing. Um, and it's very difficult for me to understand how [00:39:00] you could teach this stuff without that experience. And I'd love to get your thoughts on what that looks like from your, your

[00:39:06] Ricardo Martins: perspective.

[00:39:07] Ricardo Martins: Yes. Gary, do you want to be a teacher here? ? We need

[00:39:12] Gerry Scullion: professors. . Yeah. I'm not a professor. I, I'm afraid I've only studied a degree level .

[00:39:18] Ricardo Martins: Oh, yes, they required MFA things. Um, yeah, this is a hell. Okay, so answering your question, I, I agree. 100 person. I think that if people should practice. So the practice is important because it's the practice that shows that you, you work with incomplete information.

[00:39:40] Ricardo Martins: So this, that students in the get a briefing the problem, this does not exist in reality. When you go to the clients, you struggle like for. Yeah. To understand what they want. What's the problem?

[00:39:57] Gerry Scullion: I know.

[00:39:59] Ricardo Martins: So [00:40:00] this

[00:40:00] Gerry Scullion: is the thing, It's, it's tough because what, what I find in some of the curriculums that I've seen, especially in Europe, um, they look to the manuscripts and they look to the books and they reproduce them.

[00:40:11] Gerry Scullion: And some of the books are 20 years old, um, and the teachings aren't really. You know, sort of trickling down to the students, so the students aren't getting the best level of education that they could. And I find that some of the other, uh, emerging kind of non-accredited, uh, educational portals, such as like the general assemblies and there's other ones around the world, are able to adapt and respond a lot quicker.

[00:40:37] Gerry Scullion: And they, they look to industry and they bring those people in. Um, what, what can we learn from. That kind of approach and what can academia take from that?

[00:40:49] Ricardo Martins: I think this is also good question. I think that academia has a lot to learn from the real world organizations. I think that is like a distance [00:41:00] in academia and the reality, Yeah.

[00:41:02] Ricardo Martins: Here is scared. We try to reduce this distance with a special program named pro. This catalog, you have partnership with 180 companies. Wow. It includes Google, Facebook, um, um, Deloitte, la c, it. So these companies come and partner with us in terms of doing projects. So they send us real challenges. They have.

[00:41:36] Ricardo Martins: So the students, they can participate over 10 weeks together with these clients. So they, they, they see the difficulty that is to get a clear briefing, to understand of the real, what are the real needs. And also we have mentors that come from organizations to the classroom and they evaluate the students so they can see their process [00:42:00] and give feedback on the progress of the students.

[00:42:04] Gerry Scullion: That's definitely like bringing industry closer is, is one way I've seen it and it works quite nicely, but I've seen the kind of the, the trinity of, um, opportunities coming together where you bring employers in for a period of time and they own that project, much like you said, and then they, uh, the students get to work on that project and the business get to you.

[00:42:29] Gerry Scullion: Sort of trial and, and test out some of the, the people who are working on the project and then potentially hire them. Um, it seems like there's still a chasm between, uh, even third level education where they go and they do a master's, whatever it is, and then they're kind of left to their own devices. And that kind of forces a, a, um, what's the word I'm looking for?

[00:42:52] Gerry Scullion: A conveyor belt of, of students that just come out and they're looking into an industry. It feels like there's a, there's a disconnect [00:43:00] between industry and the design, uh, academia. What are your thoughts on, on, on that? Like, I'm, is that something that I'm imagining or how can academia better support students in their, in their sort of endeavors of getting look, implement?

[00:43:16] Ricardo Martins: Based on my perspective, we have two kinds of disconnections. One that could be the technical disconnection. Yeah. That is all about design skills. And in this, I think that least for, in a good position. Yeah. Because the, the students, they learn the updated tools and we work with real challenges. Students, they are taught to be independent.

[00:43:48] Ricardo Martins: So we don't teach them what should be the steps or we don't give a recipe. They should be able to decide what should be the next steps to create like a research [00:44:00] plan by themselves. So try to mimic the real, um, situation of the company. But usually the, the biggest disconnection that organization complain is not the technical.

[00:44:13] Ricardo Martins: Is the emotional one. Yeah. In terms of the softer skills, this is something that, uh, it's not a responsibility of the university to address these things, but we see that especially with the current generation of students, they have some difficulties to work in teams. Or even to have empathy, um, to be resilient and some qualities that you needed to, to work in organizations.

[00:44:47] Ricardo Martins: Yeah, so this is the biggest complaint that they offer to us. And I

[00:44:51] Gerry Scullion: guess that's, uh, probably goes back to the early stage education. It's, it's, you know, stuff that happens in high school and secondary school in, [00:45:00] in Europe. Yes. And it's, you know, more calling to the humanities and the arts. Um, So, yeah, it, it's probably a bigger question like, you know, but Ricardo, like we, we could definitely speak for not even hours, but probably days in some of these topics.

[00:45:16] Gerry Scullion: Um, I, I've been following you on LinkedIn for a number of years, and I've always said I'd love to someday get some time with Ricardo to, to sit in, have a podcast with you and I finally, Doing it. Um, but if people aren't connected with you on LinkedIn, I'm gonna put a link to, to your LinkedIn, um, below for people to connect with you and follow.

[00:45:37] Gerry Scullion: Cause Ricardo shares out brilliant service design, um, tidbits and, and also just general information about design, which I find, um, really stimulating and, and excellent stuff. But if people wanna reach out to you on other platforms, what other way can they get in touch with?

[00:45:55] Ricardo Martins: I think they can send an email is the best

[00:45:58] Gerry Scullion: platform ever.

[00:45:58] Gerry Scullion: Old school because [00:46:00]

[00:46:01] Ricardo Martins: I, I, I almost don't have. Show, update my link in. Yeah, so I don't feel comfortable having other platforms by now, maybe in the future.

[00:46:10] Gerry Scullion: That's cool. Well, I'll put a link to your, your, your email address in there, in the show notes as well. But look, Ricardo, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for giving me the time and energy and the openness as well to answer some of those questions, cuz I know some of the questions come from left field when, when you're interviewing on, this is Hate City.

[00:46:26] Gerry Scullion: So thank you so much for your. Oh, thank you

[00:46:28] Ricardo Martins: Gary. It was amazing to have this discussion with you. I agree that we could speak for this, uh, about this for hours, but maybe this is the just, um, evidence that we need to meet in person and to drink good beer, maybe in Ireland. Poor

[00:46:46] Gerry Scullion: Sanna, I've never been to Savanna, so someday I hope.

[00:46:50] Gerry Scullion: 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 hate where you can learn more about what we were up to and also explore our [00:47:00] courses. Whilst you're there, thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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