It’s with some excitement that I spoke this week at the launch of the brand new MA Service Design at the National College of Art and Design.

As the momentum behind the adoption of service design and human centred design in Ireland grows, this new postgraduate programme stands to build on the already excellent service design offering that is part of the MA Interaction Design at NCAD.

The evening was hosted by Alex Milton, Head of the School of Design at NCAD and Caoimhe McMahon, who will lead the new MA course and has been working hard to make it happen.

Talks on the night included Susan Butler, Tim MacArthur and myself.

Susan Butler, Service Design Lead at BNP Paribas.

Susan, is service design lead at BNP Paribas. She talked of discovering human centred design almost by accident when a fashion design brief required her to design swimwear for needs over trends. The resulting swimwear designed for people with down syndrome was a first brave step into the world of empowering people through insight and design.

Tim MacArthur, Service & Experience Manager at Verizon Connect / Service Design Network Irish Chapter Founder / Volunteer

Tim leads Service Design Network Ireland and is a Service & Experience Design Manager at Verizon Connect. He took us on a journey from the study of Germanic Languages to the tower blocks of the City of London, and the discovery of people centred research and designing organisation change along the way.

I took the opportunity to recount my journey and just why I’m so excited about service design in the Irish context. The new MA programme should be considered a watershed for the practice. Irish companies are beginning to understand that service design improves services, embraces technology, puts people first, and saves tonnes of money.

Final panel discussion was provocative and fascinating, including tough questions about the ethics of service design in complex systems… so engaged that we ran out of time!

I’d like to wish Caoimhe and Alex every success with the first cohort of MA Service Design students. I’d also like to tip my hat to the people who have been plugging away in the background practicing, encouraging, advocating and exemplifying Service Design in Ireland… they helped make this happen too.

If you’re interested in the MA Service Design, either as a potential candidate or as a collaborating organisation visit the course website and reach out to NCAD now.

– John.

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