The Say Yeah Team was thrilled to attend the Service Design Global Conference (SDGC) at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto.

Our team devoured SDGC’s inspiring workshops, talks, and activities. We returned rejuvenated and raring to go – all thanks to the conference’s timely talks on key service design perspectives.

Thanks to the SDGC’s openness and collaborative approach, we had the pleasure of interviewing many global leaders in the service design community, which we’ve assembled in our recap video above.

Here are our conference highlights!

Cognitive psychology in service design

Integrating knowledge from other fields—like psychology—can take a service designer’s practice to the next level. Livework’s Service Designer & Behavioural Expert, Anne van Lieren, highlighted how service designers use cognitive psychology to better understand user behaviour, and to identify (and hopefully eliminate!) their cognitive biases while analyzing their research.

We caught up with Anne to learn more about her expertise in the subtle art of ‘nudging,’ which is her core area of research.

Anne defines nudging as a process that designers use to influence their users’ subconscious decision-making:

“With nudging, designers add things to (a person’s) environment to help (them) select the desired outcome.”

Nudging helps product design by guiding users through ‘flows’ in a more intuitive way.

We’ll be digging into this more in a future post. Stay tuned!

A person walks by displays of service design projects at SDGC
A variety of service design projects were on showcase at SDGC 2019

Connecting authentically with users

SDGC also ignited thoughtful, thorough, and sophisticated conversations about new and evolving methodologies for service designers. Thanks to SDGC’s strong roster of presenters, we were challenged to consider moving beyond personas, and to dive deeper into user needs.

For Steph Hay, the VP Design of Integrated Experiences at Capital One, trust and empathy are key to ensure products serve the customer, truly. In her talk, ‘Designing for Trust,’ Steph urged the designers in the audience to embrace the emotions of their users. For instance, when you’re making a financial transaction, this can be accompanied by a strong emotional reaction—from fear of fraud to happiness. Understanding this emotional context allows the language you use in an interface or other interaction with the user to be aligned their state of mind.

Making sense out of complex service systems

As service designers, we are even more committed to work across complex internal and external systems of service delivery, which often requires us to consider tackling the mix of different stakeholders and user needs.

IBM Watson Health’s User Research Lead, Charlyne Lefebvre-Paillé, addressed this in her talk ‘Creating Meaningful Experiences Through Complexity’, speaking to how service designers can work amid complexity. She cited this as a key factor to success in transitioning legacy or monolithic organizations into design system based orgs.

Transitioning monoliths to design systems—a slide from Charlyne’s talk


Continued learning from across the Service Design Network

The Say Yeah team found SDGC to be especially valuable for connecting with the broader service design community. We encourage other service design practitioners to join the Service Design Network to learn from this worldwide community through online discussions and local chapter events.

And we’ll be sharing more details and videos from this year’s conference over the coming weeks here and in our Disrupting with Digital LinkedIn group.

SDGC stage with "Building Bridges" conference slides

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