Don't miss our post-conference coverage

Slides, photos and more!

Learn more

Service design and the ideal client: a needle in a haystack

  • Marc Fonteijn
  • Sep 26, 2012
  • Dutch

When we founded 31Volts back in 2007 and introduced Service Design in the Netherlands, it was hard to tell who would become our actual clients. Six years later, after having worked with companies like KLM, Nationale Nederlanden and Dorel Europe, we’re seeing the emergence of a very interesting pattern. Clients who take the step towards service design are still a minority, but the ones who do seem to share some key characteristics in common. Theirs is the kind of business that moves against the tide of an economic crisis. They are the kind of people who believe it pays off to invest in user centred & design driven innovation.

In this presentation, I will share our learnings from both very successful and less successful projects over the past years. What is it that makes one client appreciate from day one the strategic value of service design, while the other keeps on doubting? Based on concrete examples from our daily practice, I will outline the different types of clients and their impact on the success of a project. After this talk, designers in the audience will be able to recognize the key characteristics of a client that increase the chance for a service design project to succeed. As for (potential) clients in the audience, this talk will serve as a mirror to better understand how to get optimal results from a service design project.


Marc Fonteijn

Creative Director at 31Volts

Marc is co-founder and Strategy Director of 31Volts, a Service Design bureau that designs products people love to use, and services organisations are proud to provide. Marc is always curious about how things work; not just the technological aspect, but the people themselves -- what moves them, what makes them happy, and what brings them together. He’s a strategic thinker who designs for growth, developing services for organisations that serve as a first step in cultivating sustainable relationships with their customers. Service Design is his means for achieving this goal.

Marc was busy blazing trails early in his career. After completing his degree in Software Engineering, he focused on developing mobile marketing solutions. He played an active role in the birth of Service Design in the Netherlands by founding 31Volts and was one of the initiators of Service Design Netwerk Nederland.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s talking with entrepreneurs, marketing managers or students. Marc is always passionate about sharing his thoughts on innovation-driven design, the power of co-creation and design thinking. That makes him happy. And there’s no stopping him. “Failure is when you stop trying.”

Other speakers