Service design in Shanghai

Koos
Robbert-Jan van Oeveren

Reading time
3 min read

Date
Jul 19, 2019

Since one and a half year, we’ve been spreading quite a bit of love for service design in Shanghai. Maybe not the most obvious location for us, due to distance and language barriers, but we kind of rolled into it. And as we’re always eager to learn and explore, this provided lots of opportunities to do so.

How it all started

In October 2016 we helped organise the service design global conference in Amsterdam. And as there were people flying into Amsterdam from all over the world, we set up a service design tour through Amsterdam. Participants were led through the city, visiting points of interest from a service design perspective. China Bridge (CBi), a Shanghai-based consultancy, participated in the tour and a first connection was made, as they wanted to grow service design in Shanghai.

“At Koos we never walk away from a good challenge”

Service design masterclasses in Shanghai

A few months later we got a call from CBi, if we were interested in organising service design masterclasses in Shanghai, together with them. Thinking of the big cultural and language gap and with very little knowledge about China, we quickly said yes. At Koos we never walk away from a good challenge.

Since then we have organised four three-day masterclasses in Shanghai, and trained over 90 people in the basic skills of service design. And yes, we have learned a lot! Here are some of our take-outs:

  • Presenting with the use of translators is tough, as everything takes twice as long. This makes it hard to excite a group, as you kind of lack the direct feeling with them.

  • It’s ok to do naps in public. Admitted, everything took quite a bit longer than normal, but apparently, it’s socially acceptable to catch up on some sleep on front row.

  • Not being able to have a clue what people write (in Chinese) on their post-its does not make facilitation and coaching any easier.

  • Group dynamics are different and more hierarchical. So in the beginning, it takes more time to get the group into action mode. But participants loved our ice-breakers and energizers, so we got them moving in no time.

  • Although participants were always a bit hesitant at the start, they caught up quickly. And even stronger than in the Netherlands you saw the transformation of skepticism into enthusiasm.

  • Our key learning: Service design has the potential to excite people in China just as much as in Europe, but as culture and structure are more traditional, it’ll take more time to really take off.

Service design projects in Shanghai and China

As a result of our collaboration with CBi we have met a lot of participants during the service design masterclasses. They got us in touch with several local companies and this resulted in running our first service design projects in China. Ni Hao!

Volkswagen, Shanghai

Development and validation of service concepts for cars with autonomous driving features.

Xixi Land, Hangzhou

Development of propositions, products and service portfolio and service concepts for Xixi Land National Wetlands Park.

Guangzhou Design Week, Guangzhou

Creation of a product and service strategy for three different target groups.

Xi Life, Shanghai

Customer research to benefit the development of service concepts for people designing their own interiors.

Service design Conference Shanghai

The Service Design Network is organising the service design conference in Shanghai. We’ve been invited as a speaker for the event on April 23 and 24 2019. Really exciting! We’ll be hosting three slots in the program:

  • Presentation: Maximising the results of service design efforts
  • Workshop: Service design for top management
  • Workshop: 10 ways to innovate your customer journey

Want to join? Get in touch for a 30% discount code on tickets!

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