Craftzing people: Service designer Charlotte
Meet Charlotte: keen on understanding human behaviour, uncovering underlying needs and defining the right solution. What keeps her engaged, challenged and motivated as a service designer at Craftzing?
What is the essence of your job as a service designer at Craftzing?
A colleague once used the metaphor of ordering a hamburger in a hamburger restaurant to clarify the role of service designer. A customer gets hungry, walks in, orders a hamburger, the order is passed on to the kitchen and so on. This process is not arbitrary but carefully thought out. That's what service design is: thinking about all the possible needs a user has in the context of the use of a product or service, then mapping out the steps and scenarios they go through and finally structuring them into a larger whole. This process gives you a good insight into which user problem needs to be resolved and how the concept of your solution should look like. At Craftzing, I do this for various clients and projects.
How did you end up in this particular role?
After I completed my degree in Multilingual Professional Communication, I started working as a customer service representative at Ikea. Here, I frequently came into contact with customers who had all sorts of questions. After a while, I discovered that I wanted to anticipate these problems, instead of solving them after they had already happened.
“Some of the typical characteristics of a service designer run in our family: logical thinking, keeping an overview, asking the right questions and having a critical mindset.”
After a conversation with my sister, who is also a service designer, I considered this to be an interesting path to explore. You could say that some typical characteristics of a service designer run in our family: logical thinking, keeping an overview, asking the right questions, and having a critical mindset. These are all skills that I possess by nature and are certainly an essential requirement for the job.
I made my first step into the world of service design when I started working as a customer journey designer at Telenet. Through numerous projects, master classes and training courses, I have gradually expanded my knowledge and skills.
“I like to take the time to thoroughly understand projects and to find a sustainable solution for the client's challenges. Therefore, Craftzing's in-depth research methods and their carefully reasoned approach really appealed to me.”
How did your story at Craftzing start?
I like to take the time to thoroughly understand projects and to find a sustainable solution for the client's challenges. In our fast-paced industry, the importance of long-term solutions is sometimes forgotten. Because I already worked with Craftzing several times before I started working there, I noticed that they shared my vision on this. Craftzing's in-depth research methods and their carefully reasoned approach really appealed to me. It is important to not always just give the client what they want, but rather what is really beneficial for them, also in the long run. This is what I think distinguishes Craftzing and how I also like to work.
What makes your job as a service designer so challenging?
It all starts with finding the right problem. Although the search for the appropriate solution can also be quite tough, this remains the biggest challenge. To find the underlying needs, obstacles and concerns, you need to take your time, dig deep and consider multiple perspectives. All these things are essential in order to develop a suitable solution.
Which recent project did you remember the most and why?
At the moment, it is a project with Orbit vzw and Gastvrij Netwerk. Initially, the organisation approached us with a development question. Before we could start, we saw the need to further explore the strategic preliminary process. This resulted in some very interesting findings, which altered the course of this project to some extent. In my opinion, this is precisely a textbook example of how valuable a thorough strategic trajectory can be in the overall course of a project.
In addition, we are developing this project from A to Z: a strategy unravels itself on paper and becomes a live, up-and-running concept. I consider that a great thing to be part of. Orbit vzw and Gastvrij Netwerk are active in the non-profit sector, which makes the project especially dear to me.
How do you keep your knowledge up to date?
First by looking at things with an open mind and by learning from others. I believe that the greater the variety of projects you do and the greater the number of people and visions you come into contact with, the more you are able to take away.
I also like to read a lot. That's why I have two book recommendations: Service Design Doing and Good Services by Lou Downe. The first book is a kind of practical manual on how to approach a project. It is written by several people from the service design world who speak from different experiences. Good Services was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to service design. The main message of this book is that not all services have very complex solutions, on the contrary. The art of service design is just finding a simple but effective solution. This is not to say that it should not be preceded by complex research.
What do you value in your job?
Teamwork, because it always benefits the projects. You can work on something with one brain or with three. Bringing in other people's perspectives can provide very interesting insights. This is an approach that we like to use within my team.
“I love the variety in my work. Both in terms of types of projects and sectors and in terms of people, because I come into contact with a very wide range of profiles.”
On top of that, I think it is important to have enough variation. As a service designer, I am lucky to have this in abundance. Both in terms of types of projects and sectors and in terms of people, because I come into contact with a very wide range of profiles. The different steps in the process also offer a lot of diversity; one time you are working at a high level, the next time you are diving into the details.
What energises you outside of work?
Spending time with friends and family. Going on trips to get to know the local culture will never bore me either. But I might just as well disappear for a day buried in a good book by the pool. The tendency that always comes back is that I love being among people and that I am always curious to learn new things.
By Michele Stynen