Touchpoint Editor's Letter: Education and Capacity-Building
I wrote this Editor's Letter to introduce Touchpoint Vol. 9 No. 1, with the topic 'Education and Capacity-Building'
Service design has witnessed strong and steady growth in the last few years. It’s being applied in a broad range of settings and sectors, and it’s also making inroads in geographical regions where it was previously little-known. As it grows, it faces the challenge of meeting the even greater demand for it.
More and more private sector organisations and public sector entities are initiating service design projects, and service designers are needed to carry them out. That raises the question of where these service designers are coming from.
A natural answer is from academia. There has been slow but steady growth in the number of academic programmes granting degrees or specialisms in service design. A pioneer in the USA has been the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), who were the first to offer both Bachelors and Masters degrees in service design. And two people involved in that programme – in the past and presently – share their thoughts in this issue of Touchpoint. On the other side of the globe, service design education is rapidly expanding in China, heralding a fascinating new field of opportunity for the discipline.
But in this issue we’re also looking beyond academic education, to capacity-building in general. How can the seeds of service design be sown in tomorrow’s business people? How can our techniques be introduced across entire organisations – to be applied by non-designers – to improve their services? And what frameworks can be proposed to categorise (blossoming) service designers according to traits and areas of expertise?
For us all to be able to witness the continued growth and evolution of service design, we need to ensure that we are in a position to meet the similarly-growing demand. I hope that the articles published in this issue provide inspiration and direction for education and training programmes that will lift our entire discipline and enable us to take on tomorrow’s challenges.