21 November 2008

Service design in tourism

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DIT-Design in Tourism was an EU-funded project to develop tools suitable for everyday use within the tourism industry and to promote service design competencies from terminology to strategies and concepts.

The project has – up till now – not been very well communicated (the site has a lot of empty pages), but a book is in the making and one of the chapters is finished and it is strong. Very strong. Although it doesn’t have much to do with tourism.

In the 19-page article, CID Group design strategist and futurist Jari Koskinen (website) advocates an entirely new vision on tourism:

“Wellness and safety are mega-trends closely associated with innovation in service design. Slow-city and slow-food life philosophies are global trends. There are numerous natural opportunities for slowing down in an authentic, natural environment in Finland and Estonia. The dynamic increase of wellness tourism is mostly a question of marketing – the need already exists.”

Koskinen, who clearly has an eclectic mindset to just about everything, takes a resolutely Finnish cultural angle, and makes remarkable connections: Alvar Aalto and Naomi Klein, Hilary Cottam (Participle) and the Finland Futures Research Centre, a book published in 1923 (“Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins) and the discipline of interaction design, the Finnish Red Cross and digital fabrication.

I really like this piece of writing. The article is conceptual in nature, calls upon interdisciplinary approaches, and is just a highly refreshing and intellectually stimulating read:

“In regard to design, the conceptualisation and increasing complexity of work is obvious. The amount of manual work and artistic activity decreases as the proportion of concept design and strategic development requiring more versatile know-how increases.

The theme of this article, service design, is essentially intertwined with conceptualisation and increasing complexity. In the evolution of competence, there is a gradual shift from product design to service design. This change can also be understood through the changes apparent in social structures. The service sector is in a state of dynamic growth in Europe.”

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