5 minutes with… Richard Shed

3 years ago by

Ahead of his upcoming UX gym workshops on Design Thinking and Service Design, we spoke with facilitator Richard Shed.

Richard is a design lead with over 18 years of experience in the fields of product, service and interaction design across both Europe and New Zealand. Richard currently works with Thoughtfull Design Auckland where he has led a number of strategic design and innovation projects for Xero, Fonterra, Air New Zealand and Ngai Tahu Tourism. Richard has previously taught design at St Martins and Kingston Universities in London, at CCID in Copenhagen and the Interaction Design Institute in beautiful Ivrea, Italy.

What was your path into service design?
I’ve had a bit of a portfolio career and always been curious about intersecting with other different design disciplines. My background is in product and furniture design, from there I got drawn into human centered design, and the insights driven work I was doing started having more strategic implications. I was aware of service design as an emergent discipline, and having spent 12 year in this nice design industry bubble I was curious about how business are designed, and the role/value of design in businesses. Service design sits nicely between the business world and the design world. It reads a bit like a meandering, random journey but it’s felt like quite a natural evolution.

What have been some career highlights for you?
I think of work on a project by project basis, so since moving to NZ (almost 6 years now) at NZTE I led the creation of a new service to help NZ exporters be more successful in China, that’s had real positive impact on both the organisation and the customers. More recently, for Thoughtfull Design we did a lot of insight, brand and design work with a great new company called Airbow and that’s just won numerous global design awards, so that’s been great.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get into service design?
Service design is a collaborative discipline and needs multiple skill sets on any piece of work so I would say be aware of what you bring to the table, who you need around you and how you want to learn and grow as a practitioner.

Based on your experience can you offer any tips for people currently designing services? What kinds of activities and lessons can people expect from your service design course for UX Gym?

It will be a busy couple of days! We will get hands-on with the tools and service design methods. And I’m a big fan of reflecting on how we can apply this stuff to our day today work context.



Build on a foundation of human-centred design, following a real-world design challenge. You’ll work intensively through the phases of a design thinking approach, understanding the theory then applying the practice. You’ll leave with a toolkit of methods and techniques which you can apply in your workplace and a fresh, creative approach for defining and tackling challenges.

Definition: Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” — Tim Brown, CEO of IDE

This course can help you:

  • Establish a common language and fresh approach for creative problem solving.
  • Increase your confidence in your creative abilities.
  • Apply the methods and mindsets of design thinking to your work.
  • Tools and methods to encourage collaboration.

Some of the tools and techniques covered;

  • Understanding customer needs
  • Problem Definition / Design challenge
  • Ideation
  • Prototypes Experiences
  • Concept Testing / Validation


The workshop takes you stage by stage through a service design project. As well as hands-on experiences using specific tools and techniques we walk through the theory and explore different real-world case studies before reinforcing our learning through structured reflection.

You’ll leave with a toolkit of methods and techniques which you can apply in your workplace and a fresh approach for defining and tackling challenges.

Some of the tools and techniques covered:

  • Understanding customer needs
  • Journey Mapping
  • Deconstructing Experiences
  • Creating Service Prototypes
  • Service Blueprinting

Service Design is a human-centered approach to the design and development of products and services. In addition to placing users at the centre of the process, it’s highly collaborative, it takes a holistic view across any experience, integrates human, physical and digital interactions and aligns customer facing touchpoints with backstage operational functions.

In addition to creating new services, a service design approach can be used to:

  • Better understand and assess your current provision through the eyes of your customer experience, what’s working, not working, what’s adding value or not.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness your own internal processes and systems, where are your efforts adding value and where aren’t they?
  • Identify territories and opportunities to create new (or evolve existing) products, services or experiences, creating new value for our customers, strengthening existing relationships.
  • To align your organisation around one view of the customer and make better strategic decisions.


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