Edinburgh students: service designers of the future

The Service Design in Government 2019 conference took place in Edinburgh last week, with three students from our university taking the opportunity to volunteer and get some great insight and experience from experts in the field.

I was really pleased to be able to help the organisers of the Service Design in Government find University of Edinburgh students to support the conference. With help from colleagues responsible for design-related degrees in Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Informatics, we managed to put the word out and three students got involved.

In exchange for volunteering their time to support with conference logistics, the Service Design in Government conference team provided the students with access to the full programme of sessions and workshops, and the opportunity to network with, and learn from, professionals in the field.

What the students said

Catching up with the student volunteers over the course of the conference, I was really impressed by their drive and passion for human centred design, and what they felt they were getting out of attending.

I asked each of them to share with me a short write up of their experience.

Mona

It was a fantastic opportunity, and now service design is a field I am planning to pursue…

“I was initially pleased to have the opportunity to volunteer with the Service Design in Government conference to develop my interest in a volunteering capacity. However, I got much more out of it than that.

It was a fantastic and inspirational opportunity, and now service design is a field I am planning to study and pursue professionally in the future. The keynote speakers presenting were particularly impressive. I had really interesting chats, and got to work with an enthusiastic cross-cultural team.

It was an incredibly insightful experience for me.”

Hong

The whole volunteering experience was beyond my expectation… thanks to the conference organisers for giving this opportunity

“There were mainly two reasons driving me to volunteer.

Firstly, I am interested in service design, which could open up my mind and give me a more holistic perspective to find and solve ‘real’ problems. From my understanding, UX is more ‘narrow down’, while service design is more ‘open up’.

Secondly, the conference gave me access to the latest information and case studies about service design. This was a great complement to what I had learned from books like This is Service Design and This is Service Design Doing, both of which impressed me a lot. (Such a pity that we don’t have a service design programme in ECA).

Thanks to this volunteering experience, I strengthened my communication skills in an international environment. At the same time, as a UX design student, I valued this opportunity to learn and network. I am now seeking for internship and open to all opportunities in the UK.

The whole volunteering experience was beyond my expectation, even better than the best I could imagine. A lot of thanks to the conference organisers for giving this opportunity.”

Kiran

I met some of the most welcoming and helpful people who gave me useful insights for my dissertation

“Service Design in Government was a fantastic experience as a young designer!

It was enlightening to see how employees in the public sector are approaching some of the complexities around transforming their services to be more human-centred. From hearing the best practices when co-designing with vulnerable children, to participating in workshop to build theories of change for future services – I learnt a lot!

As a community I met some of the most welcoming and helpful people who gave me useful insights for my dissertation and made relevant introductions to my current projects. It has confirmed to me that I’m on the right path as a service designer and I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to experience it.”

About Service Design in Government

The Service Design in Government conference is an international community event for anyone involved in designing and commissioning public services. It has been held in Edinburgh at the University’s John McIntyre Conference Centre for the past two years.

2019 Service Design in Government conference website

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