Jan 7, 2022

2021 Year in Review

2021 was an exciting year for us. We worked on 10 consulting projects, spanning sectors like legal tech, fine jewellery, the justice system and more! Alongside this, we trained folks on design research and testing, wrote 9 editions of the ask a service design newsletter, spoke at 5 conferences and donated 1% of total revenue to environmental non-profits. Thank you to all our clients and collaborators!

Set of logos of clients and collaborators in 2021, including mejuri, telus, rbc, instacart, boehringer ingelheim, evidation, metrix, haloo, WSIB, ministry of the attorney general, toronto fashion incubator, college of immigration consultants, dawn chorus group, october systems, studio we, good and well
Kind Words from Our Clients

"This journey and persona work is literally thrilling and so helpful for us!"

"I love working with the Made Manifest team! Our Friday calls are easily my favourite of the week."

"Your talk brought service design alive and made it so real and practical."

post its on MURAL that read 'dont mean to creep but I love what I am seeing <3' and 'aw creep anytime <3 <3 we love it!'
When your clients leave you love notes in MURAL

Happy Birthday Made Manifest 🥳

Made Manifest is officially one year old! And we’re excited to reflect on what 2021 has brought to our practice. But first, by way of introduction, here’s the 101 on Made Manifest and what we offer. Made Manifest is a service design consultancy - we love working with a really wide range of clients across the private, public and non–profit sectors. What many of our clients have in common is the desire to use the tools of design to create services that work better for the people delivering them and using them! 

For us, Made Manifest is an ongoing and evolving practice of the best ways to explore these service design challenges collaboratively. We do this through three main offerings:

  • Consulting: projects where we work with your team through the service design process. 
  • Capacity building: from lunch and learns to more in depth training, executive coaching and one on one career support, we love building people’s service design muscles!
  • Perspectives: making service design more accessible through writing, speaking and sharing our practice in order to evolve the field. 

One of the most exciting parts of 2021 was continuing to grow and work with a network of trusted ongoing collaborators. Working with lots of great folks on projects makes sure that the work is stronger - bringing multiple skill sets, perspectives and experiences to our projects. 

Consulting Work Highlights 

In 2021, we worked on 10 consulting projects with 4 recurring and 6 new clients. These projects spanned a range of sectors, from health tech, the regulatory sector, fine jewellery, telco, grocery delivery, fashion, legal tech and more! At the core of these projects, many of you are grappling with how to deliver services that meet the needs of your constituents, are effective and efficient - all while navigating the changing landscape brought to us by the pandemic. 

Piloting a new career transition service for Canadians

Some project highlights to give you a flavour of the types of things we worked on:

  • In collaboration with October Systems and the wonderful team at Metrix, we built and launched a pilot for a new career transition service for Canadians. This project went from generative, qualitative research all the way to delivering the first pilot cohort of the service. We grappled with questions like the emphasis on skills in industry while people tend to be more values focused, and the challenges with existing tools and labour market data being very focused on a more, shall we say, wonkish, user.
  • Haloo have set out to democratize access to legal services for entrepreneurs - launching their self-serve trademarking platform in late 2021. We worked to help them better understand and segment their users and the journey they go on, as well as supporting the design of some of the key service elements like website flows. 
  • In the luxury retail space, we worked on an in depth project to explore the current state of the retail experience from an operational and customer perspective. In-context research in stores uncovered some opportunities to further streamline ops and support staff, and connecting with customers highlighted areas where the experience had room to improve from an omnichannel perspective. 

These are just a few examples of the exciting projects we worked on, and we are so grateful to all of our clients and collaborators for the opportunity to dig in and bring our service design expertise to the work! 

Capacity Building Highlights

More and more clients are looking for support in levelling up their team’s service design skills, either through training or working side by side on projects. We worked on 9 capacity building engagements of various sizes and types. A few highlights this year included: 

  • Running an in-depth user research and testing training course for an insights team at a large healthcare company. The team was excited to explore ways to move beyond the more traditional market research they are currently doing and wanted a solid grounding in design research and testing.
  • The Instacart UX research team were excited to level up their journey mapping and service blueprinting knowledge with a lunch and learn session
  • We were invited to be a service design SME on a training course being developed for a government program - consulting on the curriculum design, resources, and recording several video segments on topics from a day in the life of a service designer to research and prototyping. 
  • Working 1:1 with folks is always a joy, and this year we had an ongoing executive coaching engagement with a public sector leader, worked 1:1 on resume and portfolio prep with people, and coached folks doing their first service design projects.

Perspectives Highlights 

Our vision is that Made Manifest contributes to the service design practice in Canada and beyond! We do this by sharing case studies, resources, and getting our perspectives out there on podcasts, talks and in writing. 

Ask a Service Designer newsletter getting a peek into what it's like to use service design to design employee experiences like redesigning onboarding to be completely remote

Presenting a case study on using service design to redefine employee experiences at Design Thinking Ireland

While the pandemic meant no in person conferences (still! boo!) we had the pleasure of presenting virtually at the following global events:

Good Things

Jennifer Lu shared her story of transitioning from engineering to service design at one of our Ask a Service Designer events

Figuring out how to structure the practice so we are systematically contributing in a positive way is an ongoing journey for Made Manifest. In 2021, some steps we took towards that include:

  • Being a 1% for the planet member and donating 1% of gross revenue to environmental non-profits. (This year we donated to the David Suzuki Foundation, Nature Conservancy of Canada and Evergreen).
  • Running an event on getting started in SD with Jennifer Lu - sharing Jennifer’s career journey from engineering to Service Design with a group of really engaged attendees. 
  • Connecting with students and the next generation of designers, through guest lectures and panels at the National College of Art and Design (Ireland), and several Humber programs, on topics like demystifying the world of freelance design, service design careers and journey mapping. 
IxDA Student Design Charette Judging Panel - Jennifer Kay -the New York Times, Siddharth Muthyala -LEGO Ventures, Francesca Desmarais - CIID, Ale Argeio - IDEO, Hao-Ting Chang -PDIS Taiwan, Linn Vizard - Made Manifest
  • Being part of the volunteer Judging Panel for the IxDA Student Design Charette (along with amazing folks from IDEO, New York Times, Lego, CIID) and supporting some fantastic students through their work. Congrats to the winning team Emily Vandermey (CCA),Liz Wang (SVA) and Samanatha Tung (Loughborough University)!
  • Supporting Service Design Jobs in designing the second annual Service Design Salary Survey, after getting the first edition off the ground in partnership with Marc in 2020.
  • Answering too many emails, coffee chats and questions to count on getting into service design. 😅

Looking Forward

As we look towards 2022, the Made Manifest team is continuing to grow, and we are excited to continue working on projects where we get to prototype and test services, pulling research through into implementation. We’re also excited to continue supporting teams to grow their own service design practice, and doing facilitation work around gnarly, systemic organizational challenges.

Reach Out and Get Involved!

If this post has gotten you excited about the potential for service design in your team, organization or career, here are a few ways we might be able to collaborate.

  • We’re always looking for great projects and clients - reach out if you have a service or experience challenge we might be able to help with! 
  • Sign up for the Ask a Service Designer newsletter! And even better, submit a question and maybe we’ll answer it in a next edition. 
  • Finally, we’re working on a lunch and learn on ideation, inspired by our post on common mistakes - if you think your team might get value from this, we’d love to run this session with you! Get in touch.

A big thank you to all the client and collaborators who made 2021 a fantastic year for Made Manifest (even in the face of a global pandemic). Special shout out to team members and collaborators Seden, Simon, Alex and Spencer.

Linn Vizard
Made Manifest Founder. I ❤ glitter, cats, and deadlifting

Does your organization need help with an experience or internal process?