A sign reading “Open Shop” on a glass doorway.
A sign reading “Open Shop” on a glass doorway.
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

(I’ve been asking some folks here in Ireland what’s the key things they’d like to understand about Service Design. This is the first of a few posts to help answer some of those questions.)

If you own or run an SME, it’s likely that your business occupies your every spare moment. Whether it’s checking accounts late on a Saturday night when the kids are in bed, or going over and over some proposal, menu options, tender document, or business plan before you sleep at night.

You know your own business, and it’s not for anyone to tell you otherwise.


Earlier this year, I wrote “It’s Ireland’s time for Service Design”, to help highlight the opportunity Service Design offers to our modern, thriving economy.

Of course, a lot has changed since then, but it is arguable that Service Design has more to offer than ever in this era of new constraints, greater digital transformation, and more complex user needs.

This is a good news story… Ireland has, and is developing, the talent to drive a modern service revolution. …

In short form, Service Design is the practice of improving “the experiences of both the user and employee by designing, aligning, and optimizing an organisation’s operations to better support customer journeys.” (definition from the Nielsen Norman group website). In the UK, Service Design is pervasive in both the private and public sector, while in New Zealand & Australia the public service has powered forward in learning from the UK experience. In Scandinavia, design has been a way of life for decades, from architecture, to furniture, to business practices, and yes, it includes services.

We can do better…

You don’t have to look far in…

More than six months ago I picked up “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle and devoured it over the Christmas break. Just a little later, through a random quote on Twitter I picked up “Linchpin” by Seth Godin on Kindle and got through that.

The random juxtaposition of these books provided some serious food for thought as to the evolving workplace, collaboration and where technology is taking us. Through the breadth of Turkle’s research it was not difficult to extend this to the family also, but I’ll stick with work, here for the taking.

Turkle puts forward a convincing, evidence based…

Transitioning from designer to design lead ain’t easy. You love your craft but now you need to think ever more holistically.

You’ve been driven by content but now must consider the team foremost. You’re suddenly the barrier between the design work, and all the spreadsheets, the phone calls, the crafted emails and the reporting hell that allows design to happen. From my experience over the past year, this post will cover out some things to expect…

As a designer I’ve been lucky to work for some people who know that in order to come up with something new and valuable, there must be focus. Design teams must be protected from distraction, allowed one-hundred percent focus on a project. They must achieve…

Back in November 2014, I left Copenhagen for London. Having spent 4 years in the Danish capital I considered it home. After almost 8 months I’ve captured here some of my first impressions of London, and compared it with the place I left behind in Denmark.

In my first weeks, I was taken aback, pleasantly surprised by a city which was infinitely more accessible than I had expected. Sure, I had not started to work (read: deal with rush hour) but I was astounded by the frequency of bus services, the ease of use of the Oyster system and the relative calm that can be found just a short walk from any “high street”. In addition the reasonable price of food, a pint, or getting around was welcome. …

Teams are the only way we can deliver complex design projects. Teams are key to the creation of something new through the combination of different skills and knowledge — across the silos of discipline.

Over the years I’ve worked in a lot of design teams. In fact, I don’t believe there is a single project I’ve ever worked on, outside of academia, that was not created by a team of some kind.

But teams are hard.

People are difficult. They have good and bad days. They can have abrasive characters and obnoxious habits. Combinations of people sometimes work very well together, and often they don’t. Put anyone from a dysfunctional team in a different context, and it might work out just fine.

The ability to go into different collaborative scenarios and consistently improve the…

John Lynch

Design is my job. I'm Irish, ex Copenhagen/London, now back in Dublin. Founded Context Studio to improve life in Ireland through Service Design.

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