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Service Designer @ KLM Royal Dutch Airlines | Thoughts on (service) design, design books and other random things.

How to make sense of all design sprint types out there?

There are so many flavors of sprints out there, and all are slightly different. Agile sprints, design sprints, strategy sprints: confusion galore. In this blog, I will explore their origins and background, try to make sense of them, and come up with some common characteristics for what a sprint really is (and isn’t.

Road marking on asphalt for 100m sprint
Is everything a sprint? Or not?

Act 1: Tracing the origins

To understand the phenomenon of sprints we first need to understand their background by looking at two types: design sprints and scrum sprints.

Google Design Sprint

No article about sprints can exist without covering the Google Ventures / Jake Knapp version of the design sprint. It was first introduced in…


Design research meets Greek philosophy.

Design research and Greek philosophy have more in common than you think.

Statue of Socrates holding a Sharpie and a book
Can you imagine Socrates as a designer?

In high school, I skipped the philosophy elective and in university philosophy of technology wasn’t necessarily my favorite subject. I also dropped classical Greek in favor of Latin (duh!). So Greek philosophy isn’t the first subject that comes to mind when I talk about design research. But this might be one of those puzzle pieces that only falls into place after a few years.

Instead of tips about asking questions I got something else: the Socratic method.

Recently I finished the book Socrates op Sneakers (unfortunately only available…


How to appear smart and designer-like by using drawing skills

Drawing is important and valuable, I’m not going to argue that in this blog. On the one hand there’s great masterpieces (let’s call this art) that require skill and on the other there’s functional drawing that is way easier to get to (let’s call this sketching).

For this last one I realized I’m often pulling from the same set of visuals to save meetings or to help out in design-related discussions. So (with a healthy dose of sarcasm of course): my 7 visuals to rescue your next meeting gone wrong.

1: Piramid

There’s a piramid for everything: Maslow (although some people think…


Venting my frustration on bad design & stupid systems

From time to time you run into things which are absolutely not working in this world. Some are just plain stupid, others are really impactful on society. As many other designers I might have gotten a taste of our inner God-complex, where we all feel design must save the world. To start small (and finish off the year with a blog): here’s a list of things I would love to get my hands on.

Doing taxes

Dutch tax agency uses the slogan Leuker kunnen we het niet maken, wel makkelijker, which roughly translates to ‘we can’t make it more fun, but we…


Survive lockdown, put your time to good use or just have something to do during your holiday

I ordered a ton of books to fill the time gained by working from home and to survive the (semi-)lockdown in the Netherlands. These 5 books inspired me so much that I want to share them with you. They will make you a better designer or at least prepare you for the next lockdown.

Have I missed one? Let me know!

PS: Of course the ones on my original list here still remain relevant.

Stack of 5 recommended design books: Thinking in Systems, Creativity Inc, The Culture Map, Shoe Dog and Good Services

Good Services — Lou Downe


Can we find best practices to guide us in this crisis?

I promised myself not to write any ‘7 tips for working from home’ or ‘These 9 tricks will save your next remote workshop’ articles these days. If you were looking for that, please look to the loads of articles already out there ;-). But there’s one topic that I think does deserve a blog post: designing for social distancing.

The announcement of restaurants, schools, museums and cinemas reopening in the Netherlands triggered something in my mind. I’m sure the word anderhalvemetermaatschappij (i.e. 6-feet society) will be elected Word of the Year and we all know we have to deal with…


‘Hey guys, can you see my screen?’

Saying that we live in crazy times doesn’t even cut it anymore, so let’s cut to the chase. Perhaps one of the good things that came out of it is that in the past weeks many design agencies responded by opening their ‘virtual’ doors and shared their knowledge online. I’ve been attending some of these meetups over the past weeks and I think some of them deserve a shoutout for bringing me a few new insights.

Zoom, Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, I’ve seen about every video chat tool out there the past weeks… (Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Koos Service Design

As part of their Learn & Lunch series Koos talked about their new touchpoint strategy canvas. I found the most interesting thought here to…


Five promises for twothousandtwentytwenty

January is already over and so might be the time for new year’s resolutions, but hey: whatever! It’s time to write down five things that I promise to work on in the coming year. Consider this a list of things which you can slap me in the face with a year from now.

More small-scale experimentation

In the past year at KLM I’ve worked on a few large, long-lasting projects. In these projects I’ve done work that focused on bigger, large-scale experiments that often took weeks to execute. However, I believe that design has the skill to do more quick and dirty experimentation…


My reflections and takeouts from Toronto

It’s been a while since the Service Design Global Conference in Toronto. Being my first SDGC, the conference was full of energy, inspiration, critical reflections and good discussions. After getting back to work for a few weeks I now had time to reflect on the talks a bit more. So in this blog I want to share a few of my takeouts and highlights with you. Hopefully this helps you in dealing with the post-conference blues or makes you feel guilty you weren’t there!

The Evergeen Brick Works conference venue during SDGC19

Great impact comes with great responsibility

My first realization is that service design has really put its ‘big boy pants’ on. We…


On the sense and nonsense of facilitation

Imagine the following conversation: Colleague: Hey, you’re a designer, right? Me: Yes…. Colleague: So you must be creative? Me: Uhm, yes, I guess so… Colleague: Ok, great. Can you facilitate one of these fancy workshops for me? I heard so much good stuff about them! I already know what I want! Me: Uhm….

This happens to me every once in a while. Someone comes in and asks for help in facilitating some kind of creative session. Of course that’s part of my job working as a service designer at KLM. But still: there’s sense and nonsense to these kind of…

Vincent Baas

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