It has been - and still is - a rollercoaster ride. On the one hand, lockdowns, overwhelmed medical systems and restrictions on business activities. On the other hand, new services and a significant acceleration towards digitisation. Many organisations have come to realise that doing things the 'old way' doesn't always work anymore. Design is an optimistic field tasked with identifying possibilities and imagining new solutions. Creative thinking compels us to look at things from new perspectives. From a strategic standpoint, design not only looks at needs and opportunities but also at the requirements for business success. And although it might not save the world, we share Bruce Mau's vision that design can break boundaries.
The overall theme for the 2021 conference edition was ’New perspectives - breaking out of the design bubble’. And break out of it we did! The 6th edition was forward-looking and optimistic. Through open-mindedness and collaboration, we kickstarted a change-making mindset, stepping out of our comfort zones and learning to break out of unsustainable routines to pursue positive disruption on both small and large scales. In concert with other fields, such as futures, organisational, economic, ecologic and social studies, service design enters the domain of change and transformation. This is why in 2021, the outside-in format of SDD was more crucial than ever. And we’ll continue with this transdisciplinary approach.
Following last year’s digital edition, the 2021 was a fully physical conference celebrated in our Barcelona home. Regardless of the COVID-related restrictions still in place, most participants agreed that this was one of the best editions ever; highlighting the transdisciplinary expertise of the participants, the highly interactive set-up, the shared sense of urgency to take a stand and challenge the status quo.