Service Design in Heritage


My name is Florence Okoye and I am a UX and Service designer.


I've worked in a range of sectors from utilities, to the charitable sector and now in Museums!


My passion is for opening access to STEAM and heritage through collaborative design methods.

What is service design?

...and why might it help?

An "official" description

The activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. The purpose of service design methodologies is to design according to the needs of customers or participants, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers.

--Service Design Network

Collaborative approaches are key to ensure all the different interacting people, departments and processes work together.

ok, and... ethics?

One of the biggest issues with 'ethics' is complexity. It's hard stuff*!

*which is why we still have to debate what it even means to be ethical with every new challenge

Who does this hurt?

We need this now!

But we need their money

This seems a bit extra

This project will put us on the map!

No one actually wants to hurt anybody

We're good people

It won't be that much of a problem?

a collaborative, deconstructive approach can at least help identify problematics in the system

1. Check in

Our Culture

Understanding requirements is important!

The more information to know up front, the better to frame the project

Don't overthink the detail

Make use of the environment//context

Taking our individuality into consideration 

Our Culture

Iterate and build on what works

Question assumptions about how one interprets the brief

Find work arounds to achieve the goal

How to start

When you're beginning a session with people from lots of different departments, start by clarifying what you hope to achieve with the meeting.


Reiterate why they are all there.

How to start

Ice breakers don't have to be annoying or 'cute'. Their purpose is to remind everyone of our shared humanity, even if we've had difficult discussions/entanglements outside that space!


One tip is not to call it an 'icebreaker'! Just do it.

"How is everyone feeling? I'll start: I'm feeling a bit tired to be honest..."

"Anyone learned a cool fact today? I'll start..."


Collaborative thinking

We've all done 'mind mapping'? With an interdisciplinary group, it's important to have an extra something to help people focus and to generate actionable ideas rather than lots of conversation points

Be considerate of different personality types! For each activity, use a mix of individual and group thinking. Introverts can have time to think by themselves and not get exhausted by having to speak up over people all the time!

Methods I've found useful

Round world cafe


This helps mitigate bias as different groups/people get to look at the problem space.

  1. Split people into groups
  2. Each group assigns a scribe to note the conversation points
  3. Each group has a limited amount of time to generate lots of thoughts or questions on the topic you want to ideate on
  4. After the time is up, everyone except for the scribe moves to the next station.
  5. The scribe described what the prior discussion was to the new group. Steps 2-4 are repeated.

Methods I've found useful

3. What's the problem?

One helpful technique...

Focus on a problem

It's a bit of a cliche, but focussing your thoughts by formulating in a 'How might we...?' structure is helpful for several reasons:


  • It helps the team focus. You all understand what is the main issue you're trying to solve, and what is secondary.
  • It helps create test criteria that will help you know if you've been successful or not

*Secondary does not mean less important, but what your team is less likely to be able to solve! 'Secondary' questions are great opportunities to alert other teams/departments/people that there's a potential opportunity for them to help out with.

The Disney method helps bring in practical details to the 'How might we...?' question. It should help you end at a sentence structured like so:


"How might we [do...] [for...] [in spite of...]...?"

How might we...?

4. Dealing with data

The goal of this session is to share ways of generating and synthesising research

What data exists?

Good questions to always start with...

Where are the gaps?

What are our values? What do we want to achieve?

Who is involved in the system?

Who are the different user groups?

Now it's up to you...

  • Choose a 'How might we question'

  • What do we actually want to achieve? What are our core values?


  • Who is involved in the system?

    • Who has responsibility and who provides support? If it helps, ask yourselves who will be the most annoyed or most put at risk if something in the organisation changed!
  • Who are the users?

  • What data currently exists? What things do we not know the answer to? Where are the gaps?


  • Think about what you will need to know to make something that will address the challenge

    • Remember the empathy map!


5. Creating a service map

What you'll be making is a mix of a customer journey map and a service design blueprint. First, the customer journey...

A customer journey map is to show how a person will meet the service you want to provide, what their experience of it is and what they will do afterwards

A service blueprint looks at all the different layers of the organisation which will create and provide the experience for the person.

Front of house
Catering team
Learning department
Consultant researchers

Customer touchpoint are what connect the person's experience and the services provided by the institution


Front of house
Catering team
Learning department
Consultant researchers

  • Create a storyboard for the person

  • The top row is what they do

    • ​What did they have issues with? What were the secondary goals along the way?


  • The next row is all the things they encounter through their journey

    • These could be the touchpoints that help them achieve an interim goal or just services/interfaces they encounter

  • The underlying rows represent the areas of the organisation that have responsibility for those touchpoints.

    • ​Any important information, such as notable pain points, or underlying processes can be added but preferably if they're particularly impactful for the person's experience be careful - too much detail can make it very confusing!

  • A similar process can be done to create an ethical framework

    • ​Listing values horizontally across a page and then listing actors in the system vertically down, one can add questions, challenges or actions (depending where one is in the process) at the intersecting points.

6. Prototype

A prototype has to be something that you can learn from - it needs to be falsifiable

It can be helpful to ask yourself "If a person used this thing, they would be able to do... [what?]" in order to create useful prototypes.

7. Testing

  • Set the scene to the tester

  • Give them the prototype to interact with

    • Keep questions open e.g. "What would you do next?" "What do you think?" "Could you give me an example of...?"

  • Ask why! It's an easy way to politely dig into deeper reasoning without being too leading.

8. Check out


Thank you for joining!

@FINOkoye on twitter

(website in progress)

Service Design for Heritage workshop

By FINOkoye

Service Design for Heritage workshop

Outline for 'Collaborative ideation' and 'Mapping data' workshops, September 2019

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