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How do Service Designers understand what people want and need?

One of the key jobs of any Service Designer is to understand what people want and need. A Service Designer needs to understand what the users of a service really want. He also needs to understand what is difficult for staff members and what are their needs and goals.

There is a set of simple principles and tools that you can use to understand basically any type of person, be it a user, a staff member of an external partner of the service.

Understanding what people need and want is not rocket science. It’s just about going outside of your office and meeting the people you want to help. In order to do that there are three general ways or principles you can follow.

Remember how sometimes it’s hard to understand what your girlfriend or wife thinks. How did you solve it last time? You just asked her what you did wrong this time. And then she explains you that you really fucked up. And that’s a great think because then you notice that you weren’t such a great guy as you thought and you can start to fix the problem. To understand your wife you wouldn’t look only at a survey about the top frustrations of wives in the world. You would just ask her.

With people who use your service it’s exactly the same. Stop assuming how they feel, and don’t rely only on learnings from surveys which are not specific to your region, service or culture. Just go out and talk to people. Ask them how they feel, what frustrates them, what they like.

That’s the first phase. Know that people are talking just listen. Yeah that sounds obvious but in fact we often forget to really do it as humans being. Remember your last conversation with your wife. You asked her about her day. She’s telling you there is a problem with her boss. Because you a smart person you are already seeing the solution to the problem. So you jump in and explain what she could do to fix it. Did it help? Nop. Your wife told you that you…

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