Service Design Global Conference 2015

Published: 6 Nov 2015

This year’s Service Design Global Conference in New York brought together over 500 service design professionals to discuss our growing field and how we can bring value to the lives of people around the world. As always, after a Service Design Network conference we’re filled with greater conviction than ever about the vast possibilities of this design. In addition to facilitating our own workshop, we listened to speakers like Kenneth Savin of Eli Lilly talk about the shift toward service within the pharma industry and the value of connecting with patients to provide value beyond medicine. David Colby Reed from Foossa presented an inspiring keynote about the company’s involvement in UX for Good, exploring the intense emotions still present in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide and how these emotions may be converted into meaningful and sustainable actions.

We held our workshop in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that provides healthcare, infrastructure, education and economic support to people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster. We wanted to look at not only immediate emergency aid but also at refugee situations from a long-term perspective – the difficult first years of living in a new country and trying to rebuild a life.

The workshop focused on how to make better use of refugees’ abilities, professional backgrounds and competencies in the job market. Although many are able to find entry-level positions in the hospitality, service and manufacturing industries, this valuable first step is not enough to sustain a living in the long run.

The IRC wants to facilitate long-term career paths by either providing education or making use of skills and past experience that would allow refugees to raise their salaries and increase their standard of living.

Workshop participants were divided into groups, given a fictitious user story with specific skill sets and challenges to focus on, and asked to brainstorm ways to enhance their long-term job opportunities. Results included everything from mentoring programs to cooperative childcare centers. Ideas from the workshop are being discussed with the IRC and will be used as inspiration for future initiatives.


Let’s have more quick design thinking workshops with professionals on important issues like refugees at the SDGC15!


We are convinced that design methods are useful for a wide range of challenges and we’re happy to spread our knowledge on how service design may help in crisis and post-crisis situations. Please contact us if you’d like to know more about our ways of working within this field, or if you would like to use our workshop material and format at your own event.

See you at next year’s Service Design Global Conference!


Lennart Andersson
VP Design

Tel: +46 733 611 258



Johanna Desthon
Manager Corporate Communications

Tel: +46 730 482 272