Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With David Berigny, Service Design Professional

David Berigny is a designer and design educator, working as Service Design Professional helping organisations improve their day-to-day services.

Balance the Grind spoke to David about the typical day in the life of a service design professional, surfing to find balance, his favourite and plenty more.

This conversation is brought to you by Teachable, a powerful yet simple all-in-one platform to create and sell beautiful online courses.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I design for services, it’s called Service Design.

All businesses offer some kind of service to meet people’s needs. The better you meet those needs, the better the service.

When we go to a cafe for a coffee, we’re there to meet a need and often more than one need at one time. It could be we’re tired and want a pick me up.

It could be we go for social reasons to be there with others. It could be that it’s a feeling we’re after – a feeling of relaxation, of belonging, of alertness and much much more.

The aim is to improve how those needs are being met.

I used to teach fine art at high schools, then I designed and built websites, after that I got into and more strategic design jobs.

I’ve always been passionate about taking a step back, looking more at the root-cause of problems and finding new ways to solve them.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

One of the first jobs of a service designer is to understand the full journey of the customer and the business.

That usually means talking to lots of people, going out to where they are, being in their environment. Tends to be a lot of travel during those times.

Later, we’ll come back to the office and do a lot of analysis. We use technology but we also spend a lot of time drawing maps and models with plenty of post-it notes and sharpies.

It’s a team effort which includes other designers, developers, writers and other experts. It depends on the project who will be in the mix.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

There’s not a typical day to be honest. One day I could be helping to write a report or preparing a presentation.

Another day I could be facilitating a test of a prototype for a new product. Another might be out at a different city or remote town doing research talking to various people all day.

Another day might be hosting a workshop with people from the business and customers.

4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

I do my best to complete something that balances life for me outside of work. That’s something for my relationship, my family, my personal interests and passions.

I try to get to the gym at least 3 days a week, do something small and special for my wife as examples. I’m still work-in-progress, so I don’t always manage it.

I also try not to bury negative feelings for too long. So if something pisses me off, I’ll go into the car and scream it out, cry if need be. Afterwards I’m much less driven by those feelings and then feel more grounded and centered.

5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

I love to go for a surf. I don’t enjoy the crowds, so I’d go surf a shore break if need be to have that feeling of only me the ocean and the waves. I’d play guitar, write some songs, play covers and practice singing.

6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products that you can’t live without?

I’m a bit addicted to my phone, reading lots of things online. I read news but I also tend to look for obscure topics, such as old books. I found an online book from an early founder of the spiritualist movement in the States – Andrew Jackson Davis.

7) Do you have any books that you love and would like to recommend?

There’s a book called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg I like. It’s a simple story about changing our mindset from “getting” to “giving.”

This shift also brings about real success in all areas of life. It’s also about real service. I see that as service to all rather than a limited service to self.

Service to all includes ourselves, so it’s not about self-sacrifice or martyrdom. The protagonist learns to shift his focus towards service.

He is first over-confident and arrogant. Later through trials and tribulations, he learns humility and the value helping others.

It’s about finding that win-win situation for everyone to thrive and find success. So he finds the success he was seeking all along by being authentic with giving.

That included him finding stratospheric financial success. It’s a great story and life metaphor.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Try to stay humble and feel grateful for my life.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.