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  • Writer's pictureSaranya Villavankothai

Service Design - my missing puzzle piece

I am a Service Designer. This might seem like a simple statement for many of you but to me, it means everything.

Have you ever been on a trip without a map? The past 12 years of my career, I have been without a map, just navigating my career based off process of elimination to get to my destination. The lost feeling has always been a part of my life, jumping from one job to another. This is my fourth career transition in such a short span of career. I've been bored and unchallenged, however, I always chose to put in my 100% in the job and explore challenges for myself that keeps me engaged. I discovered effective ways of doing tasks that made the team more productive and facilitated discussions across departments to make a positive impact. I used empathy to be able to walk a mile in other people's shoes to ensure I get the buy in to make the necessary changes. The problem? I never knew that there was a methodology or theory behind my natural intuition and the gut feeling. I still felt like there was a missing piece of why there wasn't passion in what I was doing.

During my last job as an Operations Manager, I realized that I had enough and it was time to step back and explore. I was introduced to Service Design and started my adventure of gaining an understanding and the foundations of design. There were three key triggers that made realize this was my calling.

First Trigger - Love for process & the blueprint

I attended a Global Service Jam, where I saw my first Blueprint and fell in love. My entire previous work life flashed before my eyes, what have I been missing in my life? I only wished I knew about this before that could have a bigger impact. Regardless, it was enough of an excitement to get me started on my journey, at full speed. I decided to use my project management and organizational skills to create a structure to my learning in Notion. I joined communities, started watching hours of YouTube about Service Design, and connected with junior and senior designers. I was involved in projects that helped me understand Service Design and took on any opportunity to volunteer, whether it would help me or not. I was craving Service Design and I needed any chance to be able to practice design and apply the theories that I was learning.

Second trigger - a sense of belonging

I was starting to see a pattern from the mentors that I spoke with - they resonated with my story and understood me. For the first time in my life, there were others like me. Have I found my community? These mentors assured me that this was a strength and to hold my head up high and be proud of it.

Third trigger - I'm a Service Designer

After 5 months of deciding to become a Service Designer, I got the courage to apply to my first Service Design position. I remember typing out the words - I am a Service Designer. Weirdly enough, in my life, I have always been nervous for interviews but I wasn't nervous at all for this interview. No sweating or low self confidence or butterflies. It was all excitement and having an opportunity to showcase my passion! I attended the zoom calls, talked about how passionate I was about Service Design and made it to the final round. I met with the Head of Design, who said, "Even if you don't get this position, know that you are a Service Designer." This was it, I don't think it meant as much to him but I remember getting off the call and saying to myself that this is it, here's your true calling after 12 long years of being lost. For the first time in my life, I felt right. I felt proud. So there you have it, I am a Service Designer.

What's next?

When a person is missing a part of the puzzle piece, they make do with what they have but I found the missing piece now. I was unstoppable before even with being lost because I have always been motivated towards achieving my goals. However, now with an understanding of where my calling is, I am a force to be reckoned with. Bring it on world, I'm ready to make a positive impact.

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