Regeneration is the process of bringing new life and purpose into an are and social environment. Reaerating and service design goes hand in hand as the most powerful source of regeneration is service design itself. Service design is the creation of an ongoing activity that becomes a catalyst for a product to make things easier. By creating a service you are bringing new people that want to become interested/ that the service will help into a new environment creating networking opportunities and life.
Regeneration is a process that needs research about the community and individuals, what they need and what they want to create a service to hit those benchmarks and optimise usability of the space itself. However, as a designer that isn’t or hasn’t been a part if that specific community it is really hard not to create your own assumptions when researching and interviewing the community as even language or age can be a barrier and allow for misunderstandings which leads to wrong insights which lead to the wrong service.
Regeneration is a process that I have taken part in, in Poland at the end of November. Alongside 6 people from Poland and 6 people from Denmark, including my team from London of 6 people we have designed 3 services to regenerate a city in Poland – Siemianowice Slaskie. The service had to be in the Palace of Inspiration which is being renovated after decades of neglect and is becoming the social hub of the city itself. Our task was to create something that will keep or bring back young people to the city that competes with many cities around it including Katowice which is the main city of the area. Working in mixed groups of 6 with different professional and personal backgrounds was challenging but also the most insightful experience I have ever been a part of. I had the chance to not only learn about design in a new way and about regeneration and service design but I also had the chance to know about all the pastries in Denmark and how to pronounce the name Astrid. I got to learn all the slang from the south of Poland and talk about education in Poland compared to anywhere else. It was an experience that got me thinking about my Masters degree and what course I should take to really make a difference in design, something that will give me purpose. This is only the beginning of the regeneration process and we will all be travelling to London to work in the Elephant and Castle district and to Denmark with the newly renovated police station. Each time I will get to learn more and more things about design as well as the people I will be spending so much time with during this year.
Stepping out of my comfort zone was the most intense experience but it was a proud moment every time I got to contribute something and realised that maybe I do know a thing or two. At the end of this program I will be a master of service design with all the tools and guidance I got from people around me. Its like doing several crash courses in different degrees all at once and I know that each time I will come out with more knowledge than before. The scariest part is realising that we all know and apply all of these methods in our professional work, it is the step further where you create something needed and useful for people who do not have it that is hard and requires a lot of patients, work, research and effort.
This program also allowed me to work with some amazing designers from different disciplines which allowed us to complete one another in different fields. It made me realise that we are all designers in this world. What sparked my curiosity is a girl who studied psychology in university and went on further into looking at psychology in different environments and social situations. Although she didn’t study anything to do with design, she played a crucial part in our team when conducting interviews as well as analysing their responses to create insights. Developed different tools for creating the perfect service with all the crucial parts in mind, allowing for the rest of the team to focus on the ideation and the designing of the service itself. Never before have I understood working in interdisciplinary teams like I had then and knowing what I know now what we produced would not have had the amount of substantial psychological evidence for community integration for our idea to actually work if we didn’t have this team member. In this case it was the most evident for me, however this could be applied to anyone in the program and anyone who has ever worked in a team.
I am really thankful to have had this opportunity and it is one of the most beneficial things I have done towards my career and development as a designer and person. I met the most wonderful and talented people and I am glad I can spend 5 more weeks with them, creating these services all around the world and helping to make a difference in the regeneration process of the world around us.