This short film adopts a practice perspective to explore what is distinctive about the ways professional service designers go about designing or redesigning services.

The film follows in detail one of the three projects in an academic research project at Said Business School, University of Oxford. It focuses on an encounter between London-based service innovation and design consultancy live|work, and g-Nostics, a company offering personalised medicine, which originates in research from Oxford University. Over just six days, the designers went through some of the steps they typically would in a consultancy engagement.

The film follows the designers as they go through some of their process, and finds that service designers do three things that distinguish their work from that of others. Firstly, the designers looked at the human experience as a whole and in detail. Secondly, they made the service tangible and visible. Finally, they created service concepts.

The film provides a glimpse of one short project which engaged service designers with the design of a technology-based service originating in scientific research. Their practice is recognisable as design, but it has a focus on experiences and interactions, rather than products, and it seeks to balance aesthetics and human needs with organisational capabilities. For organisations wanting to innovate in services, service designers and their practices may offer important new ways to create value.

To download the project publication that includes perspectives from several academic disciplines, visit sbs.ox.ac.uk/D4S

This research was supported by an award from the Designing for the 21st Century initiative of the UK's AHRC and EPSRC.

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