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PK Learning & Development

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Service Design

Service Design

Service design is about designing services that work and enable positive experiences through focusing on user journeys.

Please follow the link to this short video by the Design Council explaining how using Service design has enabled user centred transformation within services

Service design involves people and relationships, creating insight into different perspectives and empathising with these perspectives to explore opportunities for making experiences better. The key to service design is participation and collaboration, co designing with people, see our ‘Story’ of co design below

 Co design storyboard

We also like this short video about 'The story of Codesign' by Think Public


There are processes and tools to enable this approach, to help us navigate the complexity.

The Double Diamond Design process is a commonly used framework and within the diagram below Lucy Kimbell’s ‘Social Design Methods Menu’ has been incorporated to illustrate ways to support this collaborative and user centred approach to service design.

The Double Diamond Design Process

 Double Diamond

The design process is based on collaboration and participation and is committed to the values of these. It has a participatory approach enabling the creation of interest and investment within participants, with the understanding that showing interest and investment in people encourages engagement and commitment.


There are four different phases within this process:


This phase is about creating a true understanding about what currently exists within a situation.

The following methods can be used

  • Interviews
  • Shadowing
  • Observation – understanding about what people do, rather than what they think or say they do.
  • Storytelling – Developing storyboards, customer journey maps, experience maps
  • Surveys – Anonymous, fact finding

Findings from these research methods can be collated and shared to understand What is?


This phase is about defining What matters?

What themes and patterns have emerged from the research?  Is the initial question really the problem? And can the question be re framed to enable us to see things differently, think differently and work towards meaningful outcomes?

We can use tools such as empathy mapping, which helps us to really think about our partners. We could also explore and define touch points of services with those who access them. Working together on this enable a group to establish understanding and empathy about what matters and why. Bringing people together like this will benefit the group and their collaborative working.

This time is for defining What matters?


This is the idea generation phase and exploring  What if?

This is an opportunity for the participants to use knowledge and understanding collaboratively, to generate ideas for better and/or innovative ways of working. We can use creative methods such as telling stories, mapping,, blueprints, and modelling, (see Story board) to enable participants to think differently, creatively and collaboratively. These tools will provide the space where participants can use a ‘Yes and…’ approach and add to and develop on each other’s ideas for improved services. Using creative tools can support participants explore further and begin to develop the ideas in more detail.

This time is for imagining what if or could be?


This phase is about testing (prototyping), to find out what works?

Using learning from the previous three phases, participants can creatively prototype ideas. This will begin very roughly and quickly, from modelling and role play to pop ups and testing live with users. The idea of this is to make changes to refine the prototype with each iteration according to feedback received.

This is about refining the idea, to find out What works?

To learn and develop your skills in Service Design, see the Service Design Academy website Here