Skip to main content
Man with headphones around his neck, writing on a whiteboard

What’s it like working in service design?

We caught up with Daniel Scow from Industrie&Co to find out about the growing demand for service designers and how it differs from other design practices.

According to a recent report from LinkedIn learning, service designers are amongst the top 15 emerging roles in Australia for 2020. To get a look inside this new and interesting field, we caught up with Daniel Scow from Industrie&Co to find out why we are seeing such a growing demand for service designers and how it differs from other design practices.

After completing a Bachelor in Graphic Design and being groomed for the world of advertising, Daniel spent the bulk of his career as a Product Design Lead consulting for local and Asian-Pacific based agencies, corporates, government entities and startups operating in a diverse range of markets and verticals.

He’s currently the Senior Design & Innovation Practice Lead at a Software Engineering & Ventures Consultancy - Industrie&Co. 

Image of Daniel Scow
"A creative approach to problem-solving that starts with people"

How does Service Design differ from UX? 


Whilst UX is a very important design discipline, it really only scratches the surface. Service Design on the other hand, digs much deeper and looks at things through an organisational lens.

UX is heavily skewed towards crafting the surface level of an experience - between the customer and a particular product. It considers things like; How it should be perceived. How the product should look and feel. How it should behave when interacted with. How it should be consumed on different devices.

Service design not only looks at ways to improve the end user experience (for customers) but also for all ‘employees’ (for staff & partners). It’s all about; designing, aligning and optimising a company’s operations to better support all customer experiences. Anything from the workforce capability to digital touchpoints and physical infrastructure, plus so much more.


What does ‘human-centred design’ really mean?


Also known as ‘HCD’, it’s one of many similar feeling terms like, Design Thinking, Inclusive Design, User Centred Design which are continually being thrown around town. Which still to this day - confuse the hell out of all manner of people. I still think IDEO captures what HCD really is all about best; A creative approach to problem-solving that starts with people and ends with innovative solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs.”


What are some common misconceptions about Service Design?


Many spring to mind. A few oldies but goodies I hear all the time include;

“…is another fancy term for CX &\or UX…”

“…you just output service blueprints yeah?…”

“…it’s just designing a service…”

… right? Wrong of course.


Why are you seeing an increase in demand from clients and industry for service design? (compared to 5-10 years ago for example)


This growing need for actual service design I believe is being driven by a few factors, two key ones being the growing tension and dynamic playing out between (a) customer expectations vs (b) company growth.

Customers have always had high expectations - why not hey? But increasingly you see and hear them expecting even more from a company. ‘This ask’ now goes well above and beyond just offering them a product or two. Expectations have been reset, and in a major way. In turn, to meet this demand, a company feels the need to or are in the midst of creating a more diverse ecosystem of offering to best serve the multitude of needs from their customer base. So, it’s becoming really, really important to (I mean it always has been) to ensure you have an optimised and optimum organisational foundation in place. From top to bottom. Bottom up. It’s a massive risk and expense to companies if they don’t.


What is the most intriguing or fascinating aspect of Service design?


You basically get an opportunity to ‘X-Ray’, diagnose, experiment and fix companies. More often than not, your impact as a designer is thus exponentially scaled. You really get to see what happens behind the scenes and you’re constantly amazed how things are setup and function. The good, bad and the nearly theres.


If you’re interested in learning more about service design, check out the Graduate Certificate in Service design offered by RMIT Online.



This article was originally published on 28 April 2020