We are the Service Futures Lab of the Royal College of Art. We explore, envision and develop new service innovation strategies by leading collaborative projects with private and public partners.
Service Design at the RCA
The RCA Service Design course, established in 2012, has a world class reputation as pioneering the discipline of service design and producing cohorts of talented students who have gone on to transform organisations in financial services, telecoms and technology, healthcare, public sector and government.
At the heart of the course is a project-based approach where partner organisations across business, technology, the public sector, social enterprises, and charities work with the students to access their creativity in a safe and independent “sand box” for exploration of issues, trends and new opportunities in the immediate or long-term future.
The Service Futures Lab runs with a core team of staff, graduates and technical expertise and is in charge of building one these relationships. By framing collaborative projects and conducting action research-through-design, we envision and develop new service innovation strategies.
We explore service futures inspired by the big shifts that shape new ways of living. Our approach is to design integrative processes of collective imagination to explore desirable futures. From policy to product we adapt our tools to question the future we want to live in. Creating new maps of service futures brought to life with ‘speculative-lean’.
Service Futures Lab
Envisioning the Future of Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing
The Service Futures Lab was a joint research project by the Service Design Programme of the Royal College of Art and Alpha Health, which took place between 2018 and 2020. It aimed to explore future service visions for the digital mental health space, focusing on developing a novel service innovation framework for ‘wicked challenges’ and distant futures. Alpha Health graduated in late 2020 as Koa Health —an independent spin-out company. It was the first moonshot by Alpha, Telefonica’s moonshot factory.
An Integrated service innovation framework
This design-led innovation project proposes a novel service innovation process for moonshot design, validation and acceleration using an action-research through design approach.
Envision Future Scenarios
Explore Service Visions
Design Value propositions
Deliver Live Services
We partner with Imperial College Business School.
We created a partnership with Imperial College Business School called ‘Wicked Acceleration Labs’ that works with world leading academic and industry partners to develop techniques that accelerate the resolution of wicked problems.
We explore and scope future horizons
We research the societal, environmental and technical shifts likely to impact people’s everyday lives to identify and nurture unique opportunities to pave the way for the future and enact social change.
Platforms as facilitators and brokers of value judgements. It’s possible that in the future we could foresee an advancement of AI with the ability to codify and model the highly complex ethical parameters of everyday life.
Mobible is a chatbot that helps connect your faith with you, your life and your community based on church teachings and knowledge decoded from the scripture.
Children may spend more of their time in online environments that can transform their educational and creative experiences but equally have increased capacity to captivate and shape their world view in potentially problematic ways.
We design strategic tools for transformation
We build new methodologies, apply our design frameworks to shift and accelerate the strategic capabilities of organisations by directly engaging with them in our projects.
Phase 1: Envision Future Scenarios
The lab team mapped plausible future context & developed future personas to create full scenarios.
Phase 2: Explore Service Visions
Excursions into future scenarios. Expanding the collective imagination of what services could emerge in various contexts by creating concepts of future services.
Phase 3: Design Value Propositions
Propositions are tangible future concepts to help the client expand their collective imagination of plausible future services and to discuss the potential opportunities and implications these future services could bring to our society and the organisation.
We accelerate the impact of future businessess
We enhance and iterate existing services or features through multiple cycles of planning, building, measuring and learning to establish in-house development, incubation or the creation of an external business.
Deliver Live Services
Unit 1: Developing services in-house.
Transforming the value propositions of the phase into live services to test their commercialisation in the market and their strategic value beyond monetisation.
Deliver Live Services
Unit 2: Incubating at InnovationRCA
Turning a service concept into a functioning service that can exist in a live marketplace in a way that it can de-risk investment by incubating at InnovationRCA, the Royal College of Art’s centre for entrepreneurship and commercialisation.
Hold is an app that gives people the personal space to let out whatever is on their mind and relax knowing that it is stored safely. It helps people give structure to their internal dialogue making self reflection become more effective.