Designers should be advocating for end users; these being the users of the actual final outcomes (a product, a process, a services etc), and not the users of the designer’s services.

It can be all to easy to get caught up in advocating for the users of the designer’s services – also called the client. Especially if the client is the noisier wheel. Doing so is detrimental to the quality, authenticity and relevance of the design outcomes.

The point is - designers actually serve their clients by looking after the needs of the end users. Unless of course, the client has needs that contradicts those of the end users.

Perhaps innovators in the healthcare sector in Australia (and possibly elsewhere) should take particular note of this. Who are you as the healthcare service designers advocating for? The healthcare system? The government? The unions? Is it any wonder things are fraying at the seams for the unwell citizenry?

(Thought at the Innovation and Service Design conference, 29 Jan 2010, Malmö, Sweden.)