The Service Design Network (SDN) is service design’s professional organization that has chapters around the world and hosts the Global Service Design Conference.
I’ve been president of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Service Design Network club since 2020, leading a team of 14 BFA/MFA students to host professional events on behalf of SCAD.
We’ve hosted 10 panel discussions with 37 industry professionals, co-hosted events with SDN NYC and DC chapters, and collaborated on research and event design for The SDN’s Service Design Global Conference in 2020 and 2021.
Project management, event design
SCAD career advisors give us a rough event schedule for an event they would like to do 2 months out. Industry engagement leaders and professors help select professional guests and a loose structure.
My role is to take that high level agenda and coordinate students to make it happen.
We start with a meeting with the relevant departments and interested students to get everyone on the same page about our ambiguous starting point.
I break the high level agenda into tracks of work that can be done independently.
Each track has milestones and deadlines so we stay on track.
I then help us organize into small teams, each with a point person, responsible for the track of work.
A project plan I create gets shared with the relevant departments and keeps everyone on the same page.
The purpose of these events is to expand our student’s networks. The whole process is designed around this.
Each student officer is a liaison who gets a personal connection with people in the industry.
On top of coordinating with professional guests, prep work involves hosting/MCing the event, moderating panels and breakout groups, sourcing questions, creating unified visual assets, and promoting the event to the school of design.
SDN NYC - Student Work Showcase (2021)
SDN DC - Student Work Showcase (2021)
How to Keep your Remote Customers Close (2021) - Panel discussion with:
Kristoffer Featheringham - Director of CX, UX, & Human-Centered Design, Freddie Mac
Tucker Witter - Service Designer, Steampunk
Florian Vollmer - Director of Service Design, NCR
Vijay Chakravarthy - Lead Service Designer, Philips
Customer Experience vs Covid Experience (2021) - Keynotes and discussion with:
Jamin Hegemen - VP, Head of Experience Strategy at Capital One
Janaki Kumar - Head of Design, JPMorgan Chase & Co
KC Wolff - Director of Commercial Experience & Service Design at Truist
Portfolio Open Critique (2021) - Ten project pitches, 5:00 minutes each, judged by:
Michael Baskin - Chief Innovation Officer, Montgomery County Government
Aza Damood - Director of Experience Design, Fannie Mae
Meghan Preiss - Design Research Strategist, D-Ford
Monica Tisminesky - Senior Service Designer, Philips
Mauricio Vianna - Partner & CEO at MJV Technology & Innovation
The Future of Customer Experience (2021) - Panel discussion with
Liz Ball - Group Design Manager in Core Services and Platforms, Intuit
Rebecca Ngola - Senior Creative Designer, USAA
Theron Skees - Founder and CCO, The Designer's Creative Studio
John Yesko - Senior Director, Head of UX and Service Design, Walgreens
Service Design Global Conference 2020 Student Events - 3 events of interviews and discussions with:
Cathy Huang - Founder, CBi China Bridge, & Co-Founder, Product of the Year China
Alex Kim - Group Design Director, Fjord
Paulina Carlos - Design Researcher, Facebook
Marina Terteryan - Service Design Director, The Why Lab
Virtual Service Design Day - Transportation / Government / Hospitality / Consulting (2020) - Panel discussion and breakout rooms for 1-on-1 networking with:
Paul Lafata - CEO, Lab1886 USA, The startup incubator for Daimler / Mercedes-Benz
Jacquelyn Brioux - Service Design Manager, Shopify
Emily Herrick - Design Lead at Service Design Studio, NYC Mayors Office for Economic Opportunity
Bradley Bergeron - Director of Service Design, Thrive
Service Design in Finance (2020) - Panel discussion and breakout rooms for 1-on-1 networking with:
Marshall Sitten - SVP DIgital Communications and Service Design, Citi Community Investing and Development
James Helms - VP of Design and Product, Intuit
Aza Damood - Director of Customer Experience, Fannie Mae
Dave Malouf - Sr Director of Strategy and Operations, Northwestern Mutual
Service Design + Healthcare (2020) - Panel discussion and breakout rooms for 1-on-1 networking with:
Richard Eisermann - Head of Design, Connected Care at Philips
Liz Corthell - Experience Strategist, Mad*Pow
Elizabeth Kiehner - Head of Design, Digital Products & Informatics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
People want to contribute, but don’t want to face a messy reality. Taking charge and structuring the process can empower the team and give everyone a way to contribute.
Formality and Flexibility
University stakeholders can get nervous and need convincing concrete details. Knowing what to lock down (for coordination) and what to keep open (for evolving design) has been key to harmony.
Unfinished = Fertile
As long as base responsibilities are clear, keeping assigned tasks open ended allows people to make their own way to accomplishing the goal. Nobody wants to be fed a micro manage list!