Clubhouse, another social media app from the tech minds of Silicon Valley, offers an exclusive audio experience for select invitees. Since its launch 11 months ago (since April 2020), the app has grown quite popular, attracting more than 2 million members each week who listen or take part in the interest-themed chat rooms.

A finger poised over the Clubhouse app on Apple’s App Store.
A finger poised over the Clubhouse app on Apple’s App Store.
The Clubhouse app as it appears on the Apple’s App store shown here as captured from YouTube.

Within weeks of launching, Clubhouse was valued at $100 million; its revenue derives mostly from advertisers. Yet its success relies on building a network of connected users, in which a member is entitled to nominate three others to join. …


I just bought my third vacuum in three years. But this time I bought a well-engineered, pricey model from Germany as opposed to another one of those plastic ones that are found stacked up on department store aisles.

The one I bought is about twice the cost of the others, and I got it at a local vacuum repair store. The owner, a repairman, toured me through the various models; and just dealing with an expert was a refreshing service experience.

When I reached for my wallet to pay, I started to think of what payment method would be the…


Welcome to the age of Artificial Intelligence — guaranteed to change your service experiences. At the International Service Design Institute, we are researching and learning how service design will tie in with AI in the future, while observing how the two interconnect seamlessly.

Machine learning image, with directional faces, head diagram clipart, against transparent people montage.
Machine learning image, with directional faces, head diagram clipart, against transparent people montage.
Gerd Altmann • Freiburg/Deutschland • PIXABAY Sept. 15, 2012

The goal of AI is to learn from patterns and predict outcomes, including user behavior. The goal of a service designer is to create fulfilling service experiences while meeting user needs.

With insights from AI, service designers are able to improve services by intuiting user paths thereby providing more desirable service outcomes. And since the service sector makes up to 80% of the world’s economies, nothing else on the horizon tops the impact to lifestyles than SD, and hence fuel the demand for service designers.

Algorithms Drive AI

The function of AI is dependent on algorithms, lines of code that are written for…


Here in the U.S., the news is crowded with stories about President Joe Biden’s ambitious federal improvement plans that could double the nation’s short-term spending to $14 trillion.

The ability for the government to afford these programs rests on quality services, a stark reality that goes a long way to answer why services need to be designed.

U.S. President Joe Biden on a $100 bill.
U.S. President Joe Biden on a $100 bill.
U.S. President Joe Biden on a $100 bill.

Our nation’s economy is complicated and well beyond this discussion, but some facts help explain the importance of the service economy. The pandemic caused the loss of approximately 22 million jobs, many in the service sector such as hospitality, restaurants and retail. Yet…


We discovered in our own learning journey among us here, that collecting a bunch of clever techniques was only a small part of learning service design.

We asked ourselves: What are service designers doing once they have learned a technique, say, a service blueprint or a journey map? You can’t design an entire service with just a technique. Learners need to understand the sequence of designing a real service from beginning to end.

Th International Service Design Institute, ISDI, segments its approach to learning. At each interval, service designers take steps closer to completing the skills and knowledge necessary to design and improve a service.
Th International Service Design Institute, ISDI, segments its approach to learning. At each interval, service designers take steps closer to completing the skills and knowledge necessary to design and improve a service.

The missing link was obvious. Systems design professionals, program managers, and others rely on step-by-step, progressive procedures. These depend on the phases of a project. …


Young synchronized skaters competing in Greece circa 2016. Creative Commons.
Young synchronized skaters competing in Greece circa 2016. Creative Commons.
Young synchronized skaters competing in Greece circa 2016. Creative Commons.

An elderly woman interviewed on the recently-added Netflix documentary “Perfect,” said something to the effect: Audiences have higher expectations of younger dancers. Cut to a clip of older dancers struggling to stay in a straight line on stage, all wearing too-tight pink dance costumes and pink tights.

“When the performers are younger, flexible, and coordinated,” she said, “audiences judge whether the performance was beautiful; yet when it’s older dancers, they are judged by whether they get through the routine.” She was expressing the idea that audiences can have different expectations, and thereby, different experiences.

To expand on this idea, how…


For nearly 60 years, an obscure Norfolk, Va.-based auto-insurer with an equally unassuming name, Government Employees Insurance Company, took its place in the ranks of insurance companies. Today, GEICO is the second largest share of auto insurance in the United States.

The business began insuring U.S. Navy non-commissioned officers. And, for the most part, GEICO grew slowly, even taking financial blows that veered the company toward bankruptcy.

The company’s business model was different from any other insurance providers because it was based on selling insurance to customers without relying on sales brokers, who were middle-men paid 15% commission on premiums…


When service providers say they try and exceed customers’ expectations, they are setting the bar much higher than needed. To achieve user satisfaction, all it takes is to meet their expectations.

To be satisfied means the service journey was reliable and resulted in the desired outcome. But as far as service designers are concerned, the real measure is whether the entire experience meets the user’s preconception.

Most English and medical dictionaries define preconceptions as “an idea or opinion formed beforehand.” The ability to form preconceptions underlies our motivations to venture on an experience, and also the means for how we evaluate it.

Preconceptions are an animal behavior that reside in the subconscious. Its primeval purpose is to help connect memories to the current or future environment used as a guide for…


A map of the world showing service designers located around the world.
A map of the world showing service designers located around the world.

Three-quarters of service designers in a new poll by the International Service Design Institute say they are seeing more available service design jobs than ever. The results are another indication that service design, a user-centric practice for designing and improving services, is one of the fastest-growing fields.


(Tampa, Fl., December 2020) — Weighing in on a long, unsettled issue regarding the definition of service design, more than 100 service designers from around the globe voiced their opinions, narrowing it down to three definitions, according to findings in a newly released survey by the Tampa, Fla.-based International Service Design Institute.

Group of young professionals meet to discuss a project.
Group of young professionals meet to discuss a project.

The respondents ranked more benefit-oriented definitions over the more theoretical ones that are most often found on internet blog posts. Their first choice aligns with how service designers build services to the benefit of end-users, the second choice more closely describes how service designers help improve the business…

Steven J. Slater

Steven J. Slater, a service designer, is co-founder of International Service Design Institute www.internationalservicedesigninstitute.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store