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  • Jesse Grimes

Touchpoint Editor's Letter: Managing Service Design

I wrote this Editor's Letter to introduce Touchpoint Vol. 10 No. 3, with the topic 'Managing Service Design'


As service design matures and shoulders new responsibilities within larger organisations, it also finds itself facing new challenges. Demonstrating its value and applying it to organisational transformation has been addressed in these pages before. In this issue, we look at a new question: how to manage service design.

As our remit broadens, and our team numbers swell, new challenges arise that didn’t exist before. This time, they don’t affect how we do our day-to-day work, but rather how it is managed. Creating a consistency of output amongst distributed service designers, establishing representation and champions at the top echelons of the organisation, and moving from hands-on work to managerial work become new areas of focus.

Design management is an area from where service designers can take inspiration when addressing these challenges. It brings together several perspectives (including supply chain management and project management, as well as design and strategy) to provide an organisation and structure for design activities. And it does so not just at operational levels, but at strategic ones as well. It came about more than 110 years ago to coordinate craft and industrial design in Germany, but still has lessons for us today.

In this issue, SDN Leadership Team member Brian Gillespie teams up with co-author Frans Joziasse to share his insights gained as a member of the DMI (Design Management Institute) and a current service designer, to present six ways service designers can effectively manage service design. Additional advice from service designers at work in large multinationals (such as from Warren Duffy at Capital One Canada, and Claudia Sosa and Jonathan Rodas from BBVA Bancomer) are presented here as well.

If you find yourself confronting these challenges, I hope you can draw valuable new insights from what’s contained in the following pages. And the learning won’t stop there. An experienced and dedicated team in Toronto is busily preparing for the SDN’s Global Conference this October in Toronto, where managing service design will be touched on, amongst a wide variety of other topics. I hope you can join us there.


Touchpoint is published three times each year by the Service Design Network



Jesse Grimes

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