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christina melander

We Need the
Courage to Design for Good

04. Oct 2022

We need courage more than ever. As service designers and human beings of this planet

Quick insight

This October, we’re partner and co-host of the Global Service Design Conference 2022. Our theme for this year is Courage to design for good. I would like to add: now.

The Service Design Global Conference 2022

With the Danish chapter of the Service Design Global Network, Copenhagen is the proud host of this year’s Service Design Global Conference. This year under the theme Courage to Design for Good.

During the two-day conference from October 13-14, 2022, designers worldwide focus on how the service design community can set a different agenda for products and services.

Designers have always been at the forefront of creating meaning and adding value to the world. As such, designers are also partly responsible for the world’s challenges due to enormous consumption and the pursuit of financial growth, with too little attention paid to the long-term negative effects. Our peer-ancestors designed this. I firmly believe that the service design community is part of the solution. To design only for good. To design solutions that are more sustainable, more regenerative, juster, and more life-enhancing. Service designers have that responsibility – and the right skills and tools to make it happen.  

Service design is in demand

People, businesses, politicians, and governments have already acknowledged this: The importance of design – and service design – cannot be overstated.

Most recently, we saw this with the European Commission’s New European Bauhaus initiative, which leverages design, art, and architecture to accelerate the transition to a circular economy in the EU. In president Ursula von der Leyen’s words:


"I want NextGenerationEU to kickstart a European renovation wave and make our Union a leader in the circular economy. But this is not just an environmental or economic project: it needs to be a new cultural project for Europe."

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The key ingredients are sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion – combined with a creative and transdisciplinary design approach.

In-depth studies from McKinsey, Design Management Institute, UK Design Council, and DDC’s Design Delivers report have repeatedly proven that design creates value for businesses. 

We see governments, nationally and regionally, throughout the world, launching strategies and action plans that aim to unleash the potential of designers and creative thinking to find new solutions to complex problems. Solutions that rely on the crucial skills designers possess and their ability to place empathy at the center. Solutions that put humans and our planet first facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration through mutual imagination and visualization. And not least, solutions that continuously help us ask the right questions to maintain a holistic approach and prototype and conceptualize.

The door is open – enter here

As makers of new worlds, we now need to prove them right. To show that we can deliver. Service design has a seat at the table, and the question is no longer if service design plays a crucial role but how

Let’s find the courage to leverage these opportunities, to talk less, act more, and thus pave the way for how we design only for good.

Courage has roots in the French word ‘cœur’, meaning “from the heart.” It is not about heroes or cavalry charges but rather describes the ability to show up with vulnerability, empathy, honesty, and consistency – values and a mindset that go hand in hand with the DNA of service designers.

Here is our job description for the future:

Moving forward, service designers must have the courage to: 

  • Articulate and realize their responsibility by leveraging their collective impact as servants of a better world – as individuals and teams within the organizations they serve and the communities they engage with. 
  • Engage in difficult conversations about the “preferred future” and ask new and sometimes ugly questions.
  • Move the ambitions of the organizations they serve from “do less harm” to “leave the world better than we found it.” 
  • Put life – humans, non-humans, and the planet at the absolute center of decision-making – even at the cost of financial targets and requirements. 
  • Wholeheartedly include non-monetary or even non-measurable values as fundamental aspirations of design. 
  • Invest and plant seeds that will benefit generations to come.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference. There are still virtual tickets left. Get yours here.

Christina Melander

Director of Digital Transition

Phone +45 2946 2922
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