EPISODE 19: Chris Ferguson from Bridgeable

Chris is a Service Design Strategist and the founder and CEO of the Canadian Design Agency Bridgeable. At Bridgeable they work with some of the largest organisations in sectors like healthcare, telecom and government. Together with their clients they deliver great customer experiences through designing organisational and service-system level changes inside these companies.  



Most surprising insight 

We asked Chris if there is something like the ‘wrong client’ to work for. His answer made us think! 

When we don’t have an internal champion in our clients organisation that is accountable and has decision making power, a project is doomed to fail.
— Chris Ferguson


We are often only for a couple of months in an organisation but then it is up to them. So it is crucial to bring them along a journey of customer insights and organisational change. It does not matter how good your solution is, if there is no-one to catch the baby once it is born and raise it it is not going to happen. Your job as an external consultant is to make your client successful, it is not to be the smartest person in the room. 


What we learned

Chris and his colleagues from Bridgeable gave a workshop on designing for diplomacy. In this workshop they show how we as service designers can learn from diplomates. More an more we have to deal with complex political structures inside organisations. As service designers we are often the ones to bring different stakeholders from different silos in the organisation together. But this can result in conflicts due to a difference in goals and expectations. 

Conflict is a necessary part of change.
— Chris Ferguson

These conflict are necessary and we need to put them on the table instead of avoiding them. As Service designers we don’t have great tools to deal with these political difficulties but the things that we are good at is prototyping and co-creation. And this active making is actually a really good way of negotiating between different parties.


A behind the scene story 

We wanted to have Chris on the show and when we heard he was coming to the Global Service Design conference in Madrid, we decided to do a live interview. It was great to meet in person and share our experiences. It turned out that Belgium and Canada are not that different at all!

The moment we interviewed Chris he did not know yet that he would win the Service Design award! The funny thing is that, just like last year we will interview all the award winners and have them on our show. So, this mean we’ll be having another interview with Chris about their award winning project with Telus soon!