Doubling Down on Service Design in China


SERVICE DESIGN FUTURES, as China’s economy continues to transform from a reliance on manufacturing and goods, services have become an important driver for both growth and development.


With this shift, there is a growing need for new mindsets, approaches and tools – Service Design. 


Currently, the Services Industry is already accounting for more than 50% of the GDP. In early 2019, the Ministry of Commerce of The People’s Republic of China established Service Design as an independent professional service industry, at the same level as IT (Information Technology). This change, along with the shifts in the market, has accelerated the need for knowledge, understanding and a common language for what Service Design is and what it is not. Why it is different from established professional design services in Industrial Design, UX/UI, Graphic Design, Branding.


Why Service Design in China?


For business leaders operating uniquely Chinese business models, many of them have naturally began to follow a Service-Dominate Logic. However, it often seems that the organization structure and shared mindsets are still deeply rooted in a Goods-Dominate Logic, which seems to creates friction and low engagement.


We believe, Service Design encourages business leaders and organizations as whole, to break free from their transactional mindsets required in trading, by focusing more on value-in-use and value-co-creation rather than “value-in-exchange” and “embedded-value”.


There is a need to innovate in many of the same ways Product (goods) Dominate business do. However for firms facilitating or designing new services, there is a need to better orchestrate the roles people and technology plays in delivering the service experience, and better orchestrate products as part of a service system.


Starting as early as 2008, we began committing resources and effort to developing Service Design in China. We began to transform our firms foundational mindset, while remaining human centered, we began to grow our abilities to facilitate co-creation as a way to identify shared value and to define shared purpose for investing in Innovation for our clients.


Building Bridges, as we do, some of the very first relationships we embraced, included working with Politechno Milano and Tongji Univeristy, as well as the NGO - Service Design Network, founded by Birgit Mager, and of course Adam Lawrence and Markus Hormess, founders of Global Service Jam, Marc StickdornMarkus HormessAdam LawrenceJakob Schneiderof <This Service Design Doing>.


Planting Seeds together, this week we successfully held the first Service Design Network (SDN) China Conference, a multi-dimentional professional event to promote the future growth, development and innovation within the practice of Service Design in China. For us, it serves as a milestone in open collaboration, working with a collective of Service Design professionals, leading companies and universities that are willing to share knowledge and exchange inspiration. 


We are so greatful for the support from all 820 participants and the amazing speakers from BOSCH, Huawei, China Merchants Bank, Alibaba Group, NIO, Dowell Real Estate, UCOMMUNE, AIWAYS, New Pastoralism, Alor Valley, Asia Chimian Company, Be Better Education, ALO7; leading design studio like CBi China Bridge, Successful Design, Designit Tokyo, Fjord London, Koos Service Design, MOMA Design, WorkPlayExerperience, KISD,  XXY Innovation, Dataway Horizon, BIGmind Innovation; also leading universities like Tongji University, Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University, Taiwan Academy of Service Science, Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Hunan University, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangdong University of Technology, Nanjing university of The Arts.


It is a great honor to plant the Seeds of Change!