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There is a lot of talk about different methodologies and quite a dispute about which one is the best. Truth is that a methodology is only as good as a persons ability to use it, and if it is a fit for what you want to achieve. NÆR is ment to be agile and act on short notice when opportunities arise, which indicates a need for a fluent and circular methodology. As stated above, all people in contact with it has to fully understand it and use it intuitively, or else it won't be efficient. For this reason, all participating individuals in either the NRN or as project/process managers, will have to go through a thorough educative program in design thinking, also including service design

Design thinking

Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing. Understanding these five stages of Design Thinking will empower anyone to apply the Design Thinking methods in order to solve complex problems that occur around us — in our companies, our countries, and even our planet (Interaction Design Foundation).

The reason why this methodology is so efficient is because it is not bound to a linear path. You take one step forward and then one step back. Then two septs forward and one step back, always double-checking with earlier steps if you are hitting your mark (fig. below). By working this way, you eliminate a lot of the potential risk, and at the same time secures a solution which is anchored in the users preferences. 

Service Design

Service design is all about taking a service and making it meet the user’s and customer’s needs for that service. It can be used to improve an existing service or to create a new service from scratch.The general principle is to focus the designer’s attention on generic requirements of all services (Interaction Design Foundation).


To understand this methodology you have to adequately understand Design thinking as well, since the two are closely linked and often described as the same methodology. Both are user centred and have a similar workflow. The main difference is that Service design focuses on, you guessed in, services, and therefor more of a tool to understand customer flow and bottle necks.

As pictured below, service design takes base in the entire customer/user journey and all the contact points with the company. It then maps all points of improvement, friction, inefficiency and opportunities. When the mapping is complete it then helps find ways to deal with the points of interest.

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