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Episode Info:

Forward-thinking designer and strategic facilitator Ruben Ocampo joins us not only to set the record straight about what design thinking really is, but to share his unique, human-centric approach to service design.

Do you see service design through a human lens?

In this ever-changing world of products and services, we have a major problem with problem-solving.

Too often, we approach service design as a means to our own ends. Then, in our efforts to adopt a better approach, we adopt terms like “design thinking” that tend to lose their true meaning through all the buzz.

Many companies interpret design thinking as a better kind of brainstorming session, which is only a small part of it. While great ideas may be born this way, they often only live on paper. As a result, companies waste millions launching innovations that don’t solve the problems they intended to solve. In fact, sometimes new problems are created in the process!

“Even if we don’t have the title of designer, we’re designing solutions for someone." -Ruben Ocampo

But Ruben Ocampo is here to help us understand a more human-centric (and efficient!) approach to service design. He outlines the three major ways of solving problems, how they limit our options, and some keys to keeping our capabilities and limitations in perspective.

“It’s all about building empathy through observation." -Ruben Ocampo

Service design is not just about innovating around customers to solve problems, or even to deliver better service. Rather, it's about creating experiences that influence customer behavior and evoke positive emotions. So seeing experiences through a human lens is critical! This can be a bigger challenge for organizations that have been operating the same way forever. But Ruben has tackled this not only with businesses, but with cities and government agencies too!

Listen in to learn Ruben’s approach to human-centric design, so you can attack service issues head on and move forward with a service design that delights customers and sets your brand apart from the competition.

Interview Highlights
  • What inspired Ruben to focus on design thinking, and why did he develop his unique approach? [2:57]
  • There’s a lot of miscommunication around what “design thinking” and “service design” really are, so Ruben explains how understanding what these things mean helps customers and companies alike. [4:48]
  • It’s one thing to solve existing problems, but how does design thinking help businesses prepare for solutions to problems that don’t even exist yet? [8:58]
  • Surely there are constraints to apply to human-centric design, but when should they considered? [12:30]
  • Ruben talks about his work in human-centric design with city innovations in Chicago and Bogota. [15:43]
About our guest

Ruben Ocampo is a designer and strategic facilitator who helps leaders imagine and enact visionary change by engaging them in a purposeful and meaningful dialogue with customers, workforce, and other stakeholders in the value chain. Having received Master degrees in both business administration and human-centered design, Ruben’s unique approach combines different ways of creating and interpreting shared meaning.

Ruben has worked across several sectors, including government, manufacturing, hospitality, health, and financial services. He teaches master's-level courses in management and design and has spoken at design conferences and seminars in the US and abroad.

Connect with Ruben

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