In ways Service Design found me. One morning I woke and realised my then job wasn’t right. It lacked creativity and I was a creative person; I was a problem solver, nothing brought greater joy, but the skill felt under utilised; I was an ideas person (I didn’t always want to carry them out but I always wanted to pass them on), and I’d always felt people were at the heart of everything. My then present day job did none of those things, not really or not enough.
So I set about doing all the usual things you tend to do to find the ultimate career option when it isn’t somehow etched in your DNA. Research had taught me to observe, to question, to reflect and I drew everything I could from it. The recession was an interesting time and there was lots to learn. I started noticing the gap between the customer experience and business owner perspective; the focus on the intangible elements and how it was overlooked. And despite the fact that we were in the midst of an experience economy the human element was more often than not missing. I knew consumer tastes and needs were changing and their increasing demands would only be satiated with the design of great experiences that embellished the human element: Service Design, i.e. the process of problem solving by designing with the very people who will use the service, addressed so many problems in a practical, resourceful way. I knew something was needed because people are complex; one persons experience and expectation would not be the next, and transition from the goods economy meant huge challenge for businesses having to respond in a completely different way to survive into the future.
But as sure as I felt, I had doubts, including the receptivity here towards design. As a child my father would berate me for paying attention to ‘frivolous’ things, like ‘design’, and urged me to focus on the practical. Which I later realised, in ways represented the attitude that was embedded in our culture towards design. The result, we were blind to it, but Service design was all about the human element, blending all the things I wanted in a career; a sense of meaning, purpose, challenging problem solving, creativity and design, so I took the bold step, which felt bold given the endless times I was asked the question, ‘eh…what’s Service Design then?’
I doubted myself, until I realised that just because someone hasn't seen something you have, doesn't mean it isn’t important, or that there mightn’t be a career there. All decisions come without guarantee. So, this leaves me with three things to share;
1. Sometimes it’s important to trust yourself above others, sure, by all means do the research and check the need is there, but then go for it.
2. Use all of you because it will bring you most happiness. Life’s journey is all about finding ourselves and expression.
3. if your passion is design, now is a great time, because thanks to the hard work and commitment of Blick Shared Studios, design is growing here and one day the goal that design is embedded in the fabric of our day to day lives, will be a simple reality.
Find out more from Elizabeth at coffeenosugar