Service Design Toronto Drinks November Edition

Service design drinksService Design Toronto is an organization under the model of servicedesigning.org that exists to create conversation, share knowledge and link people interested in the discipline. This is an endeavor that Michael Owen Liston and I have been collaborating on. We are very excited to welcome the support of Usability Matters as a sponsor for Service Design Toronto.

The bi-monthly event alternates between a “Drinks” and “Thinks” format, with “Thinks” being an evening with a theme and speakers, and “Drinks” being a more casual event. November was drinks time as we came together to celebrate a year of Service Design Toronto community building. Time flies when you are service designing!

An interesting evening of conversation and activity ensued, fueled by refreshments and nibbles. Topics of conversation included big box retail experiences (the former grocery pickup conveyor belt at suburban grocery stores being a hot topic), food (including a delivery service for spices) and the ever-wonderful Toronto Public Library.

The service design activity for the evening was Service Love/Breakup Letters. Adapted from Frog’s Participatory Design Workshop, these letters are a generative research activity, which can help you to figure out where to focus design efforts. People write a personal letter to a service, talking about the health of the relationship, things they adore/can’t stand, and their hopes for the future of the partnership.

This is a great activity to get people to open up and relate their emotions and needs, and the results are often very funny! It can be a good icebreaker to get people thinking on their own and then sharing with the group.

The results of our Service Design Toronto exercise yielded:

  • Only 1 love letter (lots of service designing to do!)
  • 8 breakup letters
  • 3 letters to the TTC
  • 3 letters to telcos – Bell, Wind Mobile and Rogers Internet

The letters contained lots of quotable gems; the following is a small sampling:

“I swear I’m going to get a restraining order if you don’t stop sending me letters and calling me.” (Bell)

“You get so loaded down with other people’s needs that our relationships are practically at a standstill.” (Rogers Internet)

“And the rejection: when I do get through, your programs are already full: after 10 minutes!” (Toronto Fun Guide)

“I love how I can call on you at any time of day or night and you will see me home.” (TTC)

“I used you. Shamelessly relied on you whenever I was too lazy and busy.” (McDonald’s)

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to an enjoyable evening! Looking forward to the New Year and all the service designing to come!