Service Design Cork Meetup - Inaugural Session

Wednesday April 15th at CIT James Barry gallery. Facilitated by Heather Madden and Catherine Murphy. www.cit.ie/servicedesigncork #servicedesigncork

What is service design?
The ongoing issue is understanding what this is all about! User involvement is the central element to improving existing services and creating new ones at various levels of complexity. These can range from relatively simple ones like entertainment and professional services right up to the mammoths of education, public service and healthcare. Example methods are service blueprints and personas.

A light bulb moment

Heather then told the story of how as a business analyst looking for ways to improve the admissions process, coming across a project at the University of Derby project it was her "light bulb moment". Here was a solution to the challenge.

User perspectives in public sector education
For a new student, the process of navigating entry to a large institution such as CIT can be bewildering. For staff, the amount of procedures and repetitive admin is overwhelming. Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) has applied various methods over the last two years to improve its own services to students. 

Methods listed were observation on admissions days, taking photos, conducting interviews, focus groups and surveys. An open session in the main corridor gathered feedback from passing students with post-its. That was a charged experience! 

 included a new campus map, renaming of its IT service desk with new signage, a guide for part time students and extended opening hours of college services for 1month at beginning of academic year.

Impact on students and staff at CIT
Since then, the team has kicked off an internal knowledge sharing culture, waste reduction, self-service for students and a reduction in queuing. Traffic to the myCIT student portal increased by 24% with an overall reduction in emails to "all" students. 

It took a while to sell the process to staff, but as the impact is seen and understood (60% reduction in footfall to the part-time office and a better clarity of service), the culture has been changing. The aim is to get staff to continue ideating, questioning and seeing through the eyes of the students. 

Service Design Cork Meetup CIT Personas Exercise

Breakout session
We then broke out to groups and did a persona exercise. This was fun and really cemented the understanding of service design. I find myself that it's easier to "get" when practised.
Where to from here?
The ambition is to create a service design community in Cork and to continue learning the methods. My personal one is to apply service design methods to improving my own practice and ultimately empower others. 

The next Service Design Cork Meetup will be in late May. This is just before Ireland's first service design conference in Dublin castle June 9th and 10th. Come along.

Join the conversation on twitter at #servicedesigncork

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