This week, I took students on a virtual field trip to meet different service design practitioners in different disciplines. The main objective of this class is to help students see how they can apply service design in all places ... from designing a hospital experience to designing a country!
Our first speaker was from Singapore. Agnes currently resides in Paris and she's probably the first Design Ambassador in the world. I had a privilege of meeting her through my singapore government contact. Singapore has a long history of applying human-centered design into their public services, whether it be the public healthcare system or urban planning for neighborhoods. I am always wow-ed by how the government responds to citizen's needs and truly plan the society around its citizen's needs. Take an example of the "shelter-in-place" situation back in 2020, a lot of older folks lost their opportunity to take their morning walks which is their main source of exercise of the day. As a result, Singapore government broadcasts at-home workout videos in the morning, so that senior citizens can follow through simple movements to get their daily exercises in. They also made sure to "speak" to their target audience's language, so they hired celebrities of their target audience's generation to take the lead of the exercise on the TV, so that senior citizens are more likely to follow through. I can go on and on for the "design" work Singapore has put in but I figured it's best to have Agnes talk us through some of the projects she's involved in during her 20 years+ of civic service journey.
Agnes covered many great points of how design can affect citizen's life from drinking water to public transportation. One of the very interesting thing I heard was how the government needs to compete with private automobile industry's marketing campaign because the goal of the government is to make public transportation services more appealing than owing private cars. In case you're not aware of, Singapore taxes heavily on luxury goods, such as cars; however, people still want to own cars because it's a status symbol and of course it gives a certain level of convenience. Agnes' talk gave us a very interesting perspective from micro to macro level of economy!
The second talk we had was by my good friend Andy. We met through the Service Design Jam and he has been a very valuable member to my Service Design Collective group since we founded 3 years ago. Not only did he lead the planning for our very own Service Safari program, he's also been helping out with social media. I invited him to talk about his journey going into Service Design from picking Service Design as a discipline to study back in college! All speakers I asked them to go through their journey because it helps students to see every experience in life can take them to unimaginable places in life. Every job or project you take, you will always learn something new. Andy's talk was casual and very relevant to where my students stand today. They were very active in engaging with questions throughout and certainly felt like a nice fireside chat!
The last speaker we had is Javi, a Design Strategist at Memorial Sloan Cancer Kettering Center. I loved the workshop Javi did for my meetup two years ago, so I invited her to come speak to my student about her journey as well as the projects she's currently working on. The rich content and stories were so inspiring that I wish I was working with her at MSK :) I also felt very thankful she is very prepared and gave students very clear guidance on action items and resources they could look into to level up their skillsets that are required to conduct great service design practices.
I can't say enough thanks to all these speakers for taking their time to share with students their stories and taking questions. I am also glad all the speakers were able to make it in time without any technical hiccups. Logistics of having guests in class is certainly the most difficult part of the planning. I felt such a sense of relief at the end of the night when every thing turned out well.
For future Virtual Field trip, I do wish to shorten the class or have guest speakers coming in at different class time, so that students don't have to sit through 3-hour worth of "lecturing". We took breaks in between but it was still in total a 3-hour long content. I can certainly make sure future sessions include interactivity or hands-on exercises so that students can stay engaged and not overwhelmed with the materials.