By Emily Golembiewski
Recently, I attended the Global Service Design Conference with colleague Katie Boothroyd, client Greg Petroff, our favorite service design drinks host Jamin Hegeman, and a host of other wonderful folks. The service design community is truly international, and it cuts across academic, public and private industries.

Jeff Pollard from McDonald’s opened the session by showing their ‘test lab’  which is a giant warehouse with several working scale mock-ups of kitchens. These environments allow them to test innovations in spatial design and service design, and to train staff members in a contained (but realistic) environment. How wonderful would it be to be able to have full scale mock-ups before committing to construction and build-out schedules?

After that presentation, I heard Peter Scupelli  from Carnegie Mellon University speak about ‘socio-ecological service design: integrated services for individuals, families, organizations and communities’. Yes, it followed the McDonald’s presentation and yes, it was about obesity education and prevention (cue the ‘Super Size Me’ irony now). He talked about reinforcing systems for personal change. I guess that’s a fancy way of saying that it’s hard to make healthful changes on your own, so obesity (and other health programs) should take into account the individual motivation, the family network, a community of support, and the influence of policy.

While these two presentations were very different, it was great to see problem-solving that took into account behavioral, personal, social AND spatial influences.

Finally, a major high-five to Brandon Schaeur’s ‘The Business Case For (or Against) Service Design’ who was able to step away from the seduction of tools, methods and the people side of things in order to leverage a cogent, rigorous analysis of the business opportunities in this community.

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