I recently collaborated with my colleague and friend Jo Harrington to run a slightly rebellious session at the 2017 Service Design in Government conference.
Between us, we have more than 15 years of experience applying service design in a public sector context. Together, we have mastered the grammar and vocabulary of 2 fascinating foreign languages: Servicedesignese and Publicsectorsh. On our travels, they have noticed, however, that these 2 languages contain a lot of words that seem to be at odds with the mission of both service designers and the public sector - which is, allegedly, to make humans happier. These words tend to fall under 5 categories:
- the words that dehumanise
- the words we hide behind
- the words that limit our creativity
- the words that damage our relationships
- the words that make reality seem simple when in fact it's beautifully messy
The session started with an unveiling of the top 10 most dangerous service design and public sector words. It then turned into a hands-on session building on theories and methods from the fields of linguistics, storytelling and speculative design.