Find your next service design job in Canada
We asked Linn Vizard a Service Designer working in Canada her thoughts about the evolution of Service Design in her country. A big thank you to Linn for her insights:
Service design is in an early stage, and growing in Canada. There are many more roles with the explicit title 'service designer,' however, it's still very nascent with a range of practice maturity.
Nevertheless, the term service design is being used more and more. Much 'service design' work is linked to digital and digital transformation.
About 8 years ago service design was almost non-existent or at least a very niche thing here in Canada. The term 'service design' was not used or understood, and you would get quizzical looks, even from people in or close to the design space.
This started to change about 4 years ago when service design was starting to gain more momentum, with some agencies playing a role in making the practice more prominent, and the founding/growing of the first corporate Canadian in-house teams focused on service design.
Today, service design is gaining attention and growing in Canada, with much more widespread use of the term, building out of teams, and interest in hiring service designers.
Hopefully the continued maturation and deepening of the practice. In particular, more sophistication around understanding true omnichannel approaches to service design and delivery.
I also hope that in the future, service designers working in Canada will work in a wider variety of contexts.
And of course, with everything going on with the pandemic, there are big questions about shifting more to remotely doing service design and remote work.
It really depends on the person and what they are looking for. It can be really hard to be the lone service designer in a complex, large organization, on the other hand, it can be an amazing opportunity to build from the ground up.
Agency can be a good place to learn from others, be immersed in design practice, and get lots of variety as a designer.
In Canada, financial services companies (banks, insurance) seem to have a lot of opportunities and are investing in service design.
The government and public sector are growing their design capabilities too in Canada, and there is lots of opportunities to help build this.
People will find most success where they are not too rigid about what they are looking for in terms of title and more focused on bringing the service design mindset to the work. For example, broadening to include roles such as design or UX research, or design strategy/innovation will help your search.
There are very limited service design focused on educational opportunities in Canada. Mostly through private boot camps and workshops, formal education is limited to modules within degree and diploma courses, typically within digital design, or as part of 'design thinking' within business degrees such as Rotman School of Business.
OCADUCO offers executive education in design thinking
General Assembly Toronto sometimes offers service design workshops
OCAD Masters of Strategic Foresight and Innovation has elements of service design but is not a service design focused program per se
I personally sometimes offer a one day 'Getting Started with Service Design' workshop session with Spencer Beacock. A lot of my projects and work increasingly involve training and capacity building on service design.
Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa are for me the top cities for Service Design in Canada.
In general, the field is concentrated around urban areas, with centers like Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton having communities as well.
On the client-side, there are large in house corporate teams in industries like financial services and telecommunication.
For the public sector, there are service design initiatives at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.
Finally, I'm also starting to see some early traction with tech and product companies.
At the national side, there is obviously the Service Design Network Canada with its Slack channel in the Service Design Network Slack group. If you like slack groups, make sure to also check out the #local-canada channel in the Practical Service Design Slack Group.
On the local side, there is the Service Design Toronto community which also includes the Service Design Bookclub. There's also the Toronto Service Design Drinks Meetup. In Calgary, there is the Meetup Service Design YYC.
Less focused on Service Design, but still very interesting design communities are DesignX, one of the biggest and most active design communities, and UXR Collective which is more focused on design research.
I highly recommend the article "Three Steps to Jump Starting Your Service Design Career" that I wrote a few years ago. A lot of people reach out to me to ask questions about getting started in service design in this article I try to answer those questions.