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May 13. 2019

Building the Cardiff Service Design Community

Cardiff Service Design (CSD) is a mix of individuals with an interest in service design who thought it was time to make a network – Piotr and myself are 2 of the original 8. During a chat on a damp March evening, we started to plot out what this community could be and wanted to open it up to others. Wanting to get stuck in, PDR were really excited to host this first CSD meet up at Milk & Sugar | The Old Library (our home from home for events) to start exploring the potential for this community.

It was really important for us to create an inclusive atmosphere - a really informal, warm welcome event. We had a few lightning presentations (prepared and impromptu), discussions, and activities focused on shaping the future of Service Design in Cardiff. In our minds, we had an impression of what CSD is at the moment, but we wanted to know what it could be. We had some questions to ask. Where could we evolve? What did people want to do?

I wanted to see ‘who you are & where you are’, so cracked out the trusty instax and some sharpies and got snapping for those who wanted to get themselves ‘on the map’ so to speak. Around the room, we posed some headings of topics to get a feel for what people envisioned for CSD plus the bonus ‘pick & mix’ for anything that didn’t fit a category.

Alistair, our User-Centred Design Lead, facilitated a great little icebreaker for the group which involved tracking down the author of a personal fun fact. From world record deadlifters to scars caused by Duplo blocks, everyone got stuck into some interesting conversations and learned a bit more about each other. (Though I am now aware of how common scars on foreheads are, but less commonly made by Duplo…)

Working in Service Design means that you generally have a vague idea of the other “Service Designers” out there, but let’s face it, there are probably lots of people who work in designing services who aren’t Service Designers… or maybe don’t even know that it’s a thing, but that’s okay. We opened it up to anyone who is working in or around the Cardiff area on the design of services and who is interested in Service Design.

It was great to see so many fresh faces - and what a spectrum! We had entrepreneurs, government organisations, service providers, as well as design providers and pockets of groups in-between. Meeting like-minded people but with different skill sets and backgrounds was something I personally wanted to get out of this event.

With abundant delicious nibbles and beverages in hand, people seemed at ease just chatting about services, catching up with old names, and meeting new ones. A few lightning presentations helped us to get to know each other a little more. Everyone is now aware of Alistair’s passion for inclusivity as well as his incredible jelly shoes.

From the event, a consensus of sharing good practices and knowledge was reached. There’s a hope that there will not just be quarterly events but also informal, yet themed, monthly catch-ups to share what’s on our minds. With the response repeatedly being that we “set the bar pretty high” I’m really excited to see what we as a collective come up with for the next big event (possibly July/August – TBC). I think it’s safe to say that pizza and cheese are definitely things to look into for the future of CSD!