Service Design in Norway, an interview with Ole Thomas Tørresen.
We asked Ole Thomas Tørresen a Service Designer working in Oslo, Norway, his thoughts about the evolution of Service Design in his country. A big thank you to Ole for his insights:
Service Design Jobs: What's the state of Service Design in Norway?
There are a quite big spectrum here. Service design has been around for a long time and a lot of companies have done service design projects in the past.
I do however feel that service design often becomes synonymous with design research and often limited to projects - many of which end up in the famous drawer.
In the latter years however a lot of service designers have taken jobs in-house creating new momentum for service design beyond the projects and into the continuous delivery. Therefore, the term Service Design is definitely used.
Service Design got a lot of publicity a few years back because of a few best cases, and also Stimulab
, public funding for innovation projects, and became a new buzzword.
Today I would say that Service Design has matured more, and is often done in collaboration with other disciplines and more integrated than before.
Do you recommend to start a career in Service Design in an agency, consultancy, or in-house?
I would say that it depends on what you want to get out of it. Design agencies give you the joy of doing many different projects and working together with other design domains which are inspiring and exciting.
Working in larger tech consultancies gives you a better understanding of how services are integrated and how much they cost to make and maintain. It also gives you a better understanding of technical and business possibilities.
When you are working in-house you get a whole different say, and can more directly impact how services are delivered because you aren't anymore just advising you are on the inside making decisions.
There is always the question when taking a job of what you can offer to the business, and what you expect to get back in terms of experience. Knowing what those things are and where you can get them is a good starting point for any career journey.
What are great opportunities to learn Service Design in Norway?
Online I'm not sure of. Offline there are two main schools: Oslo school of architecture and design
, and Industrial design at NTNU
in Trondheim. Both schools provide a master's degree in design with the option to focus on service design.
Outside of these there are now a few bachelor's degrees
just recently opening up in Oslo.
If I'm looking for a job opportunity as a service designer, what are the key cities that offer such opportunities in Norway?
Here I have to admit that I'm very biased. But I would say that it is mainly in the four biggest cities that you will find service design jobs: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger. And you might find the highest density of Service Design jobs in Oslo.
What are the leading companies that use Service Design in Norway?
The public sector in most Scandinavian countries has been quite progressive making use of Service Design in the last five to ten years. Today you can find service designers in a range of state, region, and municipality level organizations working in all sectors. The biggest public service design actors are however on the state level.
In the private sector there are a lot of international design studios such as Designit
, Making Waves
, Livework (now PWC in Oslo
), as well as a range of Oslo only Consultancies.
In the latter years, there has also been a rise in larger tech consultancies hiring service designers, and product companies, banks, telecom, and insurance companies building in-house capacity.
The Service Design scene in Oslo is therefore quite broad with a lot of different experiences, but most Service Design jobs are still found in Oslo.
What are the local Service Design communities in Norway?
In Oslo, the Service Design Network
(SDN) has regular meetups
and there is a Facebook forum
where jobs and news are posted. IXDA
also have meetups with a lot of relevant talks for service designers.
Outside of this most companies host their own breakfast seminars, meetups, and talks and there is also a range of talks happening throughout the year such as Pecha Kuchas
, Creative morning
, Oslo Business Forum
, and more.
Since Oslo is a quite small city, where most service designers have studied together or are introduced through colleagues the community is quite small and most people know about each other.
If I'm looking for a service design job position what local terms should I use?
You can use the local terms Tjenestedesign, Tjenestedesign stilling, Tjenestedesign job.