Putting Service Back in Service Design

Dr. Tao Huang, Alyson Beaton
Columbia College Chicago


Dr. Tao Huang, IDSA | Alyson Beaton
Columbia College Chicago 

Designers and researchers have been involved in designing services for public or commercial uses for decades. These services are organized combinations of products and resources situated within the local and global economy that are intended to improve human relations. In this presentation, we will argue that designers can gain important insights by becoming the “servers” to provide the services they are designing. It is a significant role reversal that should be advocated especially in design education. We also argue that integrating design practice is essential in designing services. To achieve maximum effectiveness, organizations must assemble a service design team that include all creative professions. We will discuss two concepts, service-learning and service design. We will then analyze a few cases that link these two concepts in current creative practice. We will discuss this practice’s potential in design education. Finally, we will then discuss a multi-year design projects that is currently being conducted in the Product Design and Graphic Design program of Columbia College Chicago. Through this project, we will explore the educational opportunities in integrated design practices to provide design services to our communities. The project also contains both the elements of service-learning and service design, therefore, provides the possibility of alternative paths of design education that could put “service” in service design.