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  • Jesse Grimes

Touchpoint Editor's Letter: Service Design for Innovation and Start-ups

I wrote this Editor's Letter to introduce Touchpoint Vol. 11 No. 1, with the topic 'Service Design for Innovation and Start-ups'


I’d like to welcome you to this issue by attempting a bit of mind-reading. Are you ready? I’m guessing that you’re a service designer working within an agency. Am I wrong? Perhaps a service designer in a large corporate? What about a public sector role?

I might not have gotten it right at first, but it’s fair to say that most working service designers these days fall into one of those three groups. I’d never guess you’re working in a start-up, because so few of us are. Yet start-ups represent an exciting challenge for service design - a new frontier, if you will. And that’s the topic of this issue of Touchpoint.

A service designer’s skills and mindset are applicable to many of the challenges faced by start-ups, and even more of them once you add in business design. We design based on research-driven insights and have a holistic perspective on customer experience. Yet we’re largely an unknown quantity amongst start-ups.

I’ve had success - and faced challenges for sure - in working with start-ups myself, and running a series of courses for them in Asia and Europe, teaching them how to apply our tools and perspectives. Based on those experiences, I’ve written an article in this issue to share my learnings and inspire other service designers to tackle this challenge, and find out what it’s like to work for an organisation whose mission and service offering might radically change from one day to the next. I’d safely bet that’s not something you’re used to!

I’m pleased to have invited Mike Pinder to co-edit this issue, who comes from Board of Innovation. The open way they share their thinking about innovation is a great resource. Taiwan’s Diane Shen - a long-time friend of this publication - also came on board to assist as a Guest Editor.

The start-up scene grows and gets more attention by the day, and there’s a good chance your city hosts a start-up ecosystem you’re unaware of. If you’re looking for a new client opportunity, and willing to stretch your boundaries and learn new techniques and new terminologies (and yes, face some struggles), you might want to explore working with them yourself, either directly or through an accelerator or incubator. Here’s to taking on a new challenge!


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



Jesse Grimes

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