Harry Vos

About me

Portrait of Harry Vos, 2019

I help organisations improve the quality of their services, and decrease the cost of providing them. I use service design and product management skills to find out the real problems of users and organisations, and get people to prioritise fixing them.

I'm a lead designer, working in London at the Government Digital Service. In 2017, I set up a team helping civil servants across government to assess the impact of Brexit on public services. We give them greater context around their projects, to help organisations make better decisions about keeping services running.

I used to be a strategy consultant at Fjord and Hiveworks. I was also a product consultant at EY-Seren. When I have some free time, I advise the Service Design Fringe Festival.

How I ended up here

I always wanted to be an architect when I was younger, but I didn't get into my chosen school. I ended up studying industrial design, and quickly realised I didn't care much for radiuses or chamfers of products.

I found service design and felt it gave me a more relevant skillset, compared to product design, given that over 80% of the UK's GDP comes from services, yet so many are designed with such little thought, making them complex to use, and costly to manage.

More recently, I've been frustrated with the lack of responsibility that service designers have. If a service is bad, nobody blames the service designer. In some ways this is liberating, but it makes it very easy to be the person that points out service failure, without thinking about the cost of change.

To allow myself to take more responsibility, I've been learning product management, which has helped me have a ruthless focus on maximising value for users and for organisations.

I now see myself as having these two skillsets that I can apply, depending on the situation. I like to highlight service failure caused by complexity, but I also like to help teams prioritise smaller improvements, that will reduce these failures in the future.

Experience

Lead Designer for the Digital Commercial Programme, Crown Commercial Service and Government Digital Service

May 2019 - Current

Leading design across the programme, looking to make digital procurement platforms less costly to manage, and more scalable. Leading design for an Alpha, looking to test assumptions around scaling digital procurement across all current and future frameworks provided by the Crown Commercial Service.

Service Design Support Lead, Government Digital Service

November 2017 - May 2019

Identified the need for improving support for lower digital capability teams across government, and created the Service Design Support team at GDS. Helping these teams to better understand their services, in order to make informed, early decisions about changes to services, and maximise their project’s improvements to services. Our team worked with over 70 different teams during this period, with me supporting around half of them.

Service Designer, Service Communities, Government Digital Service

August 2017 - November 2017

Setting up the foundations for successful and sustainable collaboration across 10 organisations across government, centred around improving the "Start a business" service area.

Curating a list of all government services, and using data to prioritise service areas where collaboration across organisational boundaries would be most valuable.

Senior Service Designer (Contract), Hiveworks

June 2017 - August 2017

Leading a project for a multi-national telecommunications client, looking to identify new service and product opportunities for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Conducting research, to ensure senior client stakeholders understand the nuanced customer needs across all areas of their business.

Planning and leading design and feasibility workshops with global stakeholders, using methods like mental modelling, jobs-to-be-done, customer journey mapping, service blueprinting and showing customer experience best practice.

Responsibilities: leading service design direction, client management, line managing visual designers and researchers, project management, stakeholder management

Service Designer (Internship), Fjord

March 2017

Creating a strategy for cultural change in the IT function of a large multi-national company, in order to build an environment in which innovation thrives, and is rewarded.

Service Designer (Contract), EY-Seren

November 2016 - March 2017

Service Design consultancy, working in sectors including client experience management, clinical trial patient experience, and international business travel and relocation. Responsibilities included creating interactive journey maps, using film and animation to create empathy for users amongst stakeholders, designing and running client workshops, user interviews, and competitor analysis.

Head of Communications & Community, Service Design Fringe Festival

October 2016 - December 2016

Ensuring the momentum of the festival is carried forward to the 2017 festival by strengthening the community. This involved curating and writing blog posts for the website, developing the strategy for email campaigns, and managing social media channels.

Service Design Ambassador, Service Design Fringe Festival

August 2016 - October 2016

Curating and leading workshops to make service design accessible to the public and the design industry. Engaging the public during the London Design Festival, inviting people to attend the Service Design Fringe Festival.

Design Research Consultant (Contract), MARS

January 2016 - February 2016

Testing new MARS products with customers in different global markets, and developing a common understanding of how customers balance snacking with a healthy lifestyle.

Designer (Contract), Heatherwick Studio

June 2014 - September 2014

Designing and prototyping furniture and lighting for the proposed Thames Garden Bridge, London.

Industrial Designer (Internship), Beryl (formerly Blaze)

March 2014 - June 2014

Designing accessories for urban cyclists. Creating content for the Blaze blog. Managing prototyping for their next product. Aiding UK and EU distribution, fulfilment and customer support.

Education

Design for Industry BA (Hons), Northumbria University

September 2012 - July 2016

First Class Degree with Honours.

Awards

Shortlisted, Royal Society of Arts Student Design Awards

2016

One of six shortlisted students for the Airbnb-sponsored "Fair Share" brief. My entry, "Airbnb Stories" brings Airbnb back to its roots of sharing experiences of travel, in the face of a flurry of commercial properties flooding the platform.

Winner, MARS & Wood for Trees Design Competition

2016

Finalist, Lexus Design Award

2014

The brief was a single word, "curiosity". My entry, "The Udder" was a water-saving attachment for kitchen taps that adds a bit of fun to washing up, and helps get children to do their chores.

Last updated: 19.05.2019

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