Inside

Head of Programme Welcome

Dr Nick de Leon, Service Design

Service Design has become the new frontier for designers who want to make a difference at scale, and in so doing advance the discipline of design. The service sector represents almost 80 per cent of the advanced economies, and in recent years the role of design in transforming both public and private sector services has become widely recognised. The programme at the Royal College of Art is the leading specialist service design programme worldwide and with around 80 students and researchers and 10–12 live projects at any time, it’s almost certainly the largest dedicated service design studio globally.

Students emerging from the programme are finding immediate employment as service designers as industry and governments seek to transform their customer and citizen experience. We’ve just enhanced our programme by creating three new platforms for service design. The first is Service Innovation, which focuses on developing citizen and customer centric solutions to address immediate social, cultural and economic challenges. The second, Envision, not only speculates on the future of healthcare, education, retail, banking, transportation, but uses future forecasting techniques for society, culture and technology to design service experiences for the next decade and beyond. The final platform, Public Service and Policy, brings together social and political science with design to transform public service provision as well as government policy

The RCA Service Design programme offers a two-year MA in Service Design as well as opportunities for MPhil and PhD research. Right from the start, students are immersed in the unique interdisciplinary environment of the RCA, enabling them to become specialists in service design while participating in the exciting design education environment of the School of Design. Students are taught by the leading practitioners of the discipline, as well as by pioneers of service design from industry and academia.

To ensure the programme teaches the complete skills required for service design, it is delivered in association with Imperial College London, enabling students to complement their skills in service design by participating in Imperial’s MBA programme, as well developing their competence in digital technology with Imperial’s department of computing.

The programme combines lectures, workshops and projects grounded in empirical evidence drawn from ‘real world’ practice as well as theory. Students undertake group and individual projects that tackle the different domains of public service provision, consumer and business services, in partnership with leading service sector companies and public sector organisations.

As a result alumni graduating from the programme are joining leading design firms such as Engine, Fjord, IDEO and Livework, professional services firms including McKinsey and IBM Business Consulting Services, government departments including UK Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office, as well as multinational corporations such as Jaguar, Barclay’s, Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco.

"Right from the start, students are immersed in the unique interdisciplinary environment of the RCA, enabling them to become specialists in service design while participating in the education environment of the School of Design."
Dr Nick de Leon
Dr Nick de Leon