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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

All blog posts in Service Design

How to use service patterns

How to use service patterns is something that I know a number of different organisations are starting to think about. This is a conversation that I’ve seen prompted by the LocalGov Patterns library that we’ve been working on at FutureGov with Essex County Council. Continue reading…

New models for service ownership and leadership

With more organisations working with service-oriented approaches to delivery in the public sector, this is increasingly leading to questions about models for service ownership in how we design, develop, maintain and improve whole services. Continue reading…

Types of design focus

The language we use and what we mean when we’re using a design-led or based approach is important. I recently shared my thinking about different types of design focus on Twitter.

These are my definitions. Continue reading…

Comparing service design and business design

Just over a year ago, I wrote about comparing service design to business analysis. This was to highlight differences in skill sets, with an emphasis on how service design can bring a new set of approaches and focus to organisations.

In areas of government, and often in large or more enterprise IT-led organisations, service design is still seen at best as interchangeable with established business design functions. Continue reading…

Ambiguity and design

Ambiguity is a key part of design. It points us to the uncomfortable gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ which is where I believe design adds most value.

As I described in my blog post ‘Seniority in design’ the more senior you get the more you will have to learn to handle ambiguity. Continue reading…

Shared working definitions

The purpose of defining something is to create a shared understanding of words, ideas, and processes with a wider group of people.

If you’re going to talk about ideas and ways of working such as ‘digital’, ‘agile’, or ‘service design’, then it’s important to first set out what these things mean. Continue reading…

There is no ‘digital service design’

A lot of digital agencies and technology companies talk about ‘digital service design’.

What I think they mean by this is that they’re designing experiences and digital interactions that happen on a screen.

Service design will never be effective if it’s only seen as ‘digital’ or given the remit to work as ‘digital’. Continue reading…

It’s not a redesign

I don’t like talking about ‘redesign’.

The challenge is to design services all the time. Not to redesign them.

A redesign is a project mentality. Something with a start and end date. The opposite of this is making design part of how an organisation thinks and does things all the time. Continue reading…

Service mapping and different types of maps

Written by Ben Holliday. Based on work developed with Kirsty Sinclair and feedback from the FutureGov design team.

There’s a question of why designers make so many maps. We love maps. But there can be confusion or misunderstandings about why we’re making them or how they can be useful to service teams. Continue reading…

The power of being informed and the problem of being uninformed

Oxenholme Railway Station

Oxenholme Lake District railway station, UK

The biggest factor in a point of crisis is the quality of information available or how informed an individual is.

Information is power. It can enable you to act independently and to get help. It’s also reassuring to feel in control and empowered when dealing with a difficult situation. Continue reading…