Service design: Where empathy meets health and human services delivery

Agencies develop services with an outside in approach—getting people what they need, how they need it.


Health and human services organizations are in the business of providing social and wellness services to people in need. But how can services for people be truly effective if they are not designed together with people?

This is the essence of service design. It is a collaborative, iterative approach that involves all of the people who are part of a service—caseworkers, customers, partners and individuals. It puts people at the heart of design, bringing their voices into the process from the very beginning. Service designers immerse themselves in all aspects of a service—from who will use it to what problems it must solve. They create prototypes. They solicit feedback. They course correct.

Service design is a dynamic and adaptive process that can create elegant and effective health and human services solutions, without huge investments of time or money. Organizations—and the people they serve—are already seeing exciting results.


Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) worked with service design pioneer Fjord, Design and Innovation from Accenture Interactive, to explore how design and digital innovation could transform care coordination across a network of health and human service providers. The team developed the Whole Person Care Journey tool through a collaborative service design process.

New tool, new understanding

The story of how service design helped LSSI case managers better coordinate care for clients

Voices of the experience

A talk with Tim Sheehan (LSSI) and Linda Pulk (Fjord) exploring the service design process

A Whole New View for Caseworkers
Service design approaches bring new information that caseworkers desperately need.



Working with Fjord, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services redesigned its child support calculator in a clear, transparent and human way. The co-design process was not “build it and they will come” development in which technology solutions are built in isolation. Instead of creating something for caseworkers, the department created it with them, using service design methods.

Toward transparency

The story of how service design increased transparency in establishing child support obligations

Adding up to success

Exploration of how service design reduced caseworker stress and helped build parental confidence


Hear from Shelley Evenson, Managing Director, Fjord Evolution

Changing misperceptions about service design
Service design approaches do not have to take an overwhelming investment of time.

Try and try again—together
Service design is inherently interactive, prototype driven and collaborative.




Shelly Evenson
“Service design brings voice to people, creating the empathy to quickly and efficiently overturn old systems so people get what they need.”

Managing Director, Fjord Evolution