⭕️ Circle

Professional learning community with a program of monthly events for in-house service design leaders.

What is the Circle

"A professional learning community is a method to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field." - wikipedia

The Circle is the community of in-house service design professionals who, just like you, want to keep learning and further develop their craft.

The goal is to help you grow as a professional by giving you access to relevant stories, best practices and a supporting network.

It's a place where you meet peers, collaborators and mentors. Who knows, you might even call some of the Circle members friends in real life some day.

The foundation of this community is a series of monthly events. Keep reading to find out more and learn how to apply.

The Circle was born out of the desire for a safe place where you can learn from real and honest stories of other in-house service design professionals.

Why The Circle

As a professional you tend to learn more through coaching, feedback and reflection. Less through formal education like courses and training.

The further you advance in your career the more the focus of growth shifts to you as a designer. Tools and methods become less of a differentiator.

But it's often challenging to continue developing your craft inside your organisation where there aren't many peers around.

The Circle is your extended service design team. It fosters on-going professional and personal growth.

Why should I join the Circle

There are different reasons why you might want to join the Circle. Here are some of the reasons mentioned by existing members:

  • You find it important to keep learning and growing as a professional.
  • You want to hear honest, authentic stories from folks like you.
  • You want to learn about tested and tried best practices.
  • You want to benchmark yourself and your organisation against others.
  • You're seeking experiential knowledge that isn't available in textbooks.
  • You want to have deeper and more meaningful conversations with peers.
  • You want to connect with some of the smartest and most passionate service designers who are pushing the practice forward.
  • You want to have a regular sanity check to verify that you're moving in the right direction.

What is your reason to join?

What the Circle is NOT

It's important to point out a few things that the Circle isn't and never will be.

  • Not a place for self-promotion.
  • Not a place to learn about the basics of service design.
  • Not a casual networking event.
  • Not a place where you'll be trained and taught.
  • Not another over-/underwhelming Slack channel.
  • Not a place where you'll see slide decks with polished case-studies.

Who can join

The Circle membership is exclusive to in-house service designers.

Limiting the Circle to in-house service designers contributes to a safer space, allows for more open conversation and more shared understanding within the group.

As a Circle member you can invite one outside guest (also an in-house professional) into our monthly events.

The monthly Circle sessions

Once per month we get together as a community and deep dive into a topic, theme or challenge that's highly relevant to in-house service designers.

The sessions are led by one or two of your fellow Circle members.

You can think of the sessions as a year long interactive service design conference remixed with a year long peer-to-peer coaching track.

It's important to stress that you can't lean back and expect to be "entertained" during these sessions. Yes, it's a party but it's up to you to make sure you have a good time.

What's the format of the sessions

Every Circle session is focussed around the specific topic brought forward by host(s).

The format is a mix of storytelling, reflection and co-creation.

All of the Circle members are experienced facilitators so these sessions won't be not be your average Zoom meeting.

Have a look at the video below to get a sense of how our sessions work.

Upcoming sessions

Below you'll find the schedule of confirmed sessions and topics for the coming months.

November 29

How to tackle complex service blueprints

Irina Damascan - Senior Service Designer at IKEA

December 20

Topic to be announced

Sarah Sheehan - Principal Director of Service Design at Electronic Arts (EA)

Past sessions

After every Circle session we record a podcast episode to synthesise the findings and share them back with the broader service design community. 

Am I required to host a session

No, you're not required to do so. Consider it to be an invitation.

The agenda of the Circle is community driven. So it's up to you to make sure we address the topics which are relevant and valuable.

Are the events recorded

Yes. In case you can't make it to a session you'll be able to catch the recording.

The recordings are only shared privately inside the Circle.

The insiders podcast

As an intimate community of experienced practitioners we are in the unique position to identify weak signals, trends and patterns in the field.

After each Circle session we record a podcast episode dedicate to this month's theme. This podcast is shared publicly via the Service Design Show so the entire community can benefit for our learnings.

This "insiders podcast" is a way to make insights tangible and multiple the value that's created in during the sessions.

Through the podcast we raise awareness to the topics we feel should be on the agenda of in-house service design professionals.

You can find the insider podcast episodes in the past sessions section.

Request for Conversation (βeta)

A format that allows to have spontaneous and meaningful interactions between the Circle members.

More on this soon.

Is there a WhatsApp/Signal/Slack group

No. These kind of real-time communication channels just don't scale well.

Before you know it the signal-to-noise ratio becomes too high.

Let's be honest, you're busy enough doing your work. You don't need another channel to keep track of where the majority of content probably isn't going to be very relevant for you.

But how will we cater for spontaneous conversations between the members? The Request for Conversation is our unique solution.

What does the future for the Circle hold

We believe that in this case less is more. The core of the Circle will always be the monthly sessions. But we do have some exciting ideas what could be next. Here are a few of them:

  • One-on-one coaching/mentoring sessions
  • Collaboration on challenges (jam sessions)
  • Smaller special interest groups
  • Guest speakers
  • A large-ish conference
  • Behind the scenes look of a Circle member (a day in the life of)

What is the investment

To make the Circle accessible for as many in-house service design professionals as possible there are three membership pricing options.

Professional membership - €100/month or €1000/year
When your employer covers your membership fee.

Personal membership - €50/month or €500/year
When you will NOT be reimbursed for the cost by anyone; your boss is not paying.

Financial inclusiveness membership – €25/month or €250/year
When your purchasing power is at an extreme disadvantage with the Euro.

As the Circle evolves and becomes more valuable the membership fee will be adjusted accordingly.

How do I pitch this to my boss

You're excited to join this community and want your employer to cover the membership fee? Sometime you need to get a bit creative to access training budgets.

Here are six tested and tried ways existing members have framed the Circle to their boss.

  1. As service design conference spread out over the year
  2. As a group coaching program
  3. As peer-to-peer mentoring
  4. As an ongoing training program
  5. As a way to grow and expand your professional network
  6. As a professional community to advise/consult on service design challenges

Still can't convince your boss to support you in your professional growth? Don't let that stop you! You can always (initially) join on the personal membership.

I want to apply to the Circle

That's great! Submit your application using the form below.

We'll get back to you within 2 days and let you know if we think there's a good fit.

We allow up to 5 new members into the Circle every month. If the current month is filled up you'll be added to the waiting list.