As an industrial designer or even digital product designer, outcomes are clear and concrete - a new piece of furniture is in market, or an update to the app or website has been shipped. For service designers, we grapple with the non-’thing’-ness of the work we are doing. What is a service made of, and how can we tell when we really made an impact on it? How might we expand our thinking to consider a range of outcomes, from implemented, in-market, physical and material changes, to shifts in mindsets, perspectives, and the creation of new conversations and capabilities?
Service design is having a crisis of confidence regarding the impact of our work. Let’s delve into a taxonomy of outcomes, and think in a broader and more nuanced way about impact.