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Service design and the Mario complex

Service design and the Mario complex

At the Service Design in Government conference, I discovered that service designers see themselves as Mario. But that is an unrealistic model for what service design should be.

A presentation version of this blog post:

Presented at UX Glasgow's service design special on 3 March 2021:


Duncan Stephen

March 03, 2021


  1. Duncan Stephen Service design and the Mario complex User Experience

    Manager The University of Edinburgh ⟶ — @DuncanBSS UX Glasgow — 3 March 2021
  2. — @DuncanBSS

  3. — @DuncanBSS

  4. — @DuncanBSS

  5. User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with

    the company, its services and its products.” Don Norman “ — @DuncanBSS
  6. — @DuncanBSS

  7. Contradictory themes — @DuncanBSS

  8. — @DuncanBSS Fix the plumbing? Change the world?

  9. — @DuncanBSS Be humble? Be a saviour?

  10. — @DuncanBSS Be an expert? Be a facilitator?

  11. — @DuncanBSS Ditch the journey maps? Trust the process?

  12. — @DuncanBSS Unattainable utopias? Flawed futures?

  13. — @DuncanBSS User-centred for today? Planet-centred for tomorrow?

  14. Actors Planet Non-humans Society Other people Individual users Now Months

    Years Decades Time User- centred design Adapted from Cennydd Bowles — Building Better Worlds building-better-worlds — @DuncanBSS
  15. Products ⟶ Services ⟶ Systems ⟶ Society Shanti Mathew —

    Reflections on, at least, three Ps — @DuncanBSS
  16. — @DuncanBSS Adapted from Shanti Mathew — Reflections on,

    at least, three Ps 2020. govservicedesign. net/programme/ reflections-least- three-ps
  17. Problem definition escalation Sophie Dennis — Let’s talk about strategy…

    — UX Scotland 2018 why-it-matters-and-how-to-do-it-well-sophie-dennis-90089444 Michael Beirut — You’re so intelligent — @DuncanBSS
  18. Can you design my new business card? The problem isn’t

    your business card, it’s your logo! — @DuncanBSS
  19. Can you design my new logo? The problem isn’t your

    logo, it’s your brand identity! — @DuncanBSS
  20. Can you design my brand identity? The problem isn’t your

    brand identity, it’s your business plan! — @DuncanBSS
  21. ? The real problem is world hunger! — @DuncanBSS

  22. But someone still needs to design my business cards! ? — @DuncanBSS Adapted from Michael Beirut — You’re so intelligent
  23. — @DuncanBSS Charles Eames and Ray Eames — Powers

    of Ten BhvDjuy0 Nicola Dobiecka – Understanding design better by looking from different levels of magnification uk/website- communications/ understanding- design-better-by- looking-from- different-levels-of- magnification/
  24. — @DuncanBSS Service design? Scope creep? Adapted from Sally

    Halls, Schumoné Groener and Alex Sykes — How to keep traffic moving across Greater London —
  25. Who can fix climate change? ⟶ Scientists ⟶ Politicians ⟶

    Diplomats ⟶ Economists ⟶ Social scientists ⟶ Designers? — @DuncanBSS
  26. Design is a political act.” Shanti Mathew — Reflections on,

    at least, three Ps Everything is political. The contradictory themes represent different political stances. — @DuncanBSS “
  27. — @DuncanBSS Plumbers Saviours

  28. — @DuncanBSS

  29. Be a lumper, not a splitter Marc Stickdorn, Adam Lawrence,

    Markus Hormess, Jakob Schneider — This is Service Design Doing — page 20 — @DuncanBSS
  30. User experience) Service design) Design) Human-centred approaches ( ( ( — @DuncanBSS
  31. What do you think? Should we be more like plumbers,

    or saviours? — @DuncanBSS
  32. Duncan Stephen Read more in my blog post Service design

    and the Mario complex @DuncanBSS ⟶