Our approach to service design

We created the process to be more practical and applied than a set of principles, we use it as a guide

Our dxw playbook helps us be transparent about our work, with clients, partners, and our staff. We also have a lot of published guides which explain how we do things which we hope people find useful.

We recently updated the guides to include our approach to service design. There’s often crossover between service design and other disciplines, so we’ve explained how we apply service design to the work that we do.

Diverse definitions of service design

Service design is something that means different things to different people, organisations, and in different contexts. The Government Digital Service has described what they mean by it and here’s the Service Design Network’s definition. We created our guide to help us structure our thoughts on what it means to us and how we work. It was created collaboratively between all of the service designers at dxw and we also asked our user researchers for their input.

Over about 6 to 9 months we’ve developed 7 steps that explain how we use service design. From clarifying the problem and setting the direction, to getting a service to the beta or live phases.

Publishing our thinking in the playbook felt like the natural thing to do and provides clarity for our team. We know we’re all using a similar process and it helps new team members to understand how we work.

It also helps us work with the other disciplines at dxw like product managers and delivery leads, by explaining our role and increasing awareness and understanding of our profession. It’s invaluable for explaining to clients why we work in this way and shows the benefits of service design thinking.

dxw service design approach

Although the process looks linear, how we do service design depends on the project. We created the process to be more practical and applied than a set of principles, so we use it as a guide. We were conscious that we didn’t want to create a workflow, as they can be too rigid for applying service design to the different types of services that we work on.

You can read our 7 steps on how we approach service design in the playbook. Please let us know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter.