Learning Service Design + Leading Service Transformation with Clive Grinyer — DT101 E66

Clive Grinyer is the Head of Service Design at the Royal College of Art in London. Clive’s an acknowledged expert in service design, design thinking, and design and technology innovation who has led award-winning design teams for companies around the globe. He started in design consultancy with IDEO in London and San Francisco before co-founding the design consultancy company Tangerine with Martin Derbyshire and future Apple design chief and RCA chancellor, Jony Ive.

He went on to build and lead design teams for Orange, Samsung, and Cisco, and was Director of Service Design for Barclays. As Director of Design of the UK’s Design Council, he created the Design Demand program, taking design into over one thousand UK companies. As a consultant, he’s worked with the cabinet office policy lab and at Nesta. Clive speaks at national and international conferences, writes articles and blogs, and has published Smart Design, a book on design and technology.


Show Summary
Portrait of Clive Grinyer

Clive discovered his interest in design at an early age, in part thanks to toys and dresses! His grandmother’s dress shop introduced him to the idea that there were actual people out there whose job was making decisions about what we would like and what would be trendy. That would lead him to art school. A conversation with a career advisor uncovered an affinity for product design, and that’s where Clive’s design path began: designing physical objects.

He worked for several well-known design consultancies, including Moggridge Associates (founded by Bill Moggridge, who would go on to co-found IDEO), and then Clive chose to co-found a design consultancy himself before shifting gears away from consulting altogether and going in-house, taking a position with Samsung, where he helped open the company’s design office in Europe. After Samsung, Clive worked for a number of the world’s leading corporations, culminating in a position with Barclays bank, where he shifted from digital design to service design, setting up their service design team and working on customer experience.

Clive recently left the corporate world behind, taking the Head of Service Design position at the RCA not long before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Today, we’ll talk about building service design teams, teaching service design and how the RCA service design department adapted its teaching and courses in response to the pandemic, and where Clive believes service design needs to take us in the future.

Listen to learn about:

  • Clive’s path from product design to service design
  • Building a service design team
  • Service design at RCA
  • The future of service design, post-pandemic
  • Service design in Europe and the US
  • How the impact of service design is often invisible
  • Service design, design thinking, and innovation

Show Highlights

[02:01] Clive talks about his design career path.
[07:50] Moving from consulting to in-house.
[09:54] Leaving the corporate world behind for the RCA.
[10:41] Challenges Clive faced while building the service design team at Barclays.
[13:02] Finding the right people for the team.
[13:34] Design Council’s double diamond.
[14:40] The Barclays team’s first project.
[17:47] Culture change as a vital function of a service designer.
[19:08] Taking people on a journey, and passing on the tools of design to others.
[22:26] Teaching service design at the RCA in the midst of the pandemic.
[23:02] Ramping up the use of digital tools and going online.
[24:20] The success of RCA’s graduate virtual service design show.
[25:54] Taking the lessons from the last year and using them going forward.
[26:38] Clive talks about a successful project conducting user research online via TikTok.
[27:30] Post-pandemic opportunities for service design.
[27:40] Generation Regeneration.
[27:56] “Never waste a crisis.”
[30:23] How service design can help us make decisions to build the future we want.
[31:51] Clive and Dawan talk about the state of service design in the U.S.
[33:49] The focus of design thinking in the U.S.
[34:04] The impact of service design in Europe.
[35:23] Service design is fixing things.
[36:42] The “invisible impact” of service design.
[38:28] The role of service design and design thinking in innovation.
[41:03] Clive offers advice to those wanting to try service design at their organization.
[42:03] Thinking differently.
[45:41] Clive talks about the two-year master’s at RCA.
[48:16] More about RCA’s service design tutors.
[51:41] The importance of storytelling to service design.
[53:18] The big challenge Clive sees for service designers.
[55:06] Where to find out more about Clive and his work.



Clive’s website

Clive on LinkedIn

Clive on Twitter

Clive’s profile on the Royal College of Art website

RCA Service Design

Ageing Well: Designing a world accessible to all

Creative Review’s Top 50 for 2018

Designing Our Futures

Clive Grinyer on Service Design

CLG Podcast: Public services are ahead of business when it comes to service design

Unknown Origins podcast: Clive Grinyer on Service Design


Other Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Integrating Engineering, Design and Business with Tony Hu — DT101 E35

Teaching and Learning Service Design for Designers and Non-designers with Maurício Manhães — DT101 E34

Rethinking Service Design + Student Projects + Community Systems with Amy O’Keefe — DT101 E56

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