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Service Design (MA)

Emilia D'Orazio

Emilia is a service designer and human-centred researcher with professional and university experience in public sector organisations, academic institutions and consultancies. She is passionate about using system and service design practices to unpack complex social problems and develop shared and sustainable solutions.

Currently in London, she had the opportunity to study and work across Italy, UK, Belgium and Uganda. Her background is in Product Design and Visual Communication and she gradually evolved into service design thanks to her bachelor thesis that focused on food accessibility for homeless people. She then worked for an European project aimed to co-design the homeless service-system in the City of Torino. While working closely with policy makers, anthropologists, beneficiaries and key stakeholders, she got a glimpse of the value that design can bring to policy innovation, public organisations and citizens.

As a Service Design student at the RCA she spent 2 intense years practicing evidence-based and collaborative design in the public health and social innovation sectors. Last summer she joined a Belgian design studio to develop a capacity building strategy for a non-profit organisation in Uganda. As her final project here at the RCA, she decided to collaborate with one of the most deprived boroughs in London. Her aim was to trigger collaboration across multiple agencies and organisational silos in order to prevent child neglect. She worked alongside a team of data scientists and behavioural scientists, experiencing how to strategically and meaningfully use design practices within a complex ecosystem of actors and disciplines. Practicing agile ways of working, she is now excited to follow the implementation stage of the project.

Given the dramatic situation faced by NHS with Covid-19, she is also volunteering as a service designer and user researcher for a NHS Trust, looking at improving their virtual clinic’s experience for both patients and clinicians.

Partners and Clients

NHS, Telefónica, Ministry of Justice, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Ernst and Young, InHouse Records, Comune di Torino, Quest Impact Design Studio

Publications and Awards

Roles and Places for Service Designers within Government Innovation - RCA Dissertation 2019, awarded with Distinction

Strategies for food accessibility within actions to address homelessness - Adi Design Index 2018, The best of Italian Design put into production




Speak to the designers and join the Service Design Festival

Final Project Outcomes

Degree Details

School of Design

Service Design (MA)

What are the best places to build, test, learn and seed change within the complex public systems facing the wicked problems of our age?

A global pandemic, that is widening economic and social disparities, and the Black Lives Matter movement (to mention few) are highlighting the need to rethink public systems with fundamentally different responses. I believe that design practices can definitely play an humble but valuable role within this challenge and I am keen on exploring how and where this could happen.

What I know for now is that collaborative and iterative design practices are my way to contribute to public health and to an equal and sustainable world. I thrive in interdisciplinary environments and I believe that design can have a transformative effect on people and organisations in ways that can contribute to complex problems and improve lives. That’s what motivates me and what I want my professional life to focus on.

The project in a snapshot — A short video of Saumya and I explaining our project
The Problem — Information deficit and lack of communication between public agencies is leading to child protection issues in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
The Solution: AcrosSilos Pattern Library
Launch Project

The Solution: AcrosSilos Pattern Library — A set of tested tools and guidance that enable joined-up approaches and information sharing between public agencies in order to tackle complex social issues

The solution into action

The solution into action — 3 interventions that allow public services, primary schools and the Council to identify and support children at risk of neglect much earlier and effectively

Co-design in the middle of a pandemic — Low tech to cater a wide range of audiences; quick wins to create a precedent and get buy-in for longer term interventions; hypothesis driven design to test things quickly and build evidence

Straight from the horse’s mouth — Feedback and reflections from the people engaged in the process

Project in partnership with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham


Public bodies and services within local governments often work in silos, resulting in a lot of systemic flaws that leave citizens facing the brunt of it. While working with the Barking and Dagenham Council, we observed patterns of information deficit and lack of communication, leading to late interventions and poor outcomes for citizens, especially when dealing with complex and multifaceted issues.


AcrosSilos is a service pattern library that provides a set of tested tools and guidance to enable effective horizontal collaboration within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and which has the potential to trigger joined-up approaches in any local government. AcrosSilos can be used by service development teams for improving and re-imagining internal interactions between agencies and practitioners. Patterns are organised into different categories of action, they can be used and combined as per the need, and each pattern comes with instructions and templates that bring it to life. The library is designed to be an open source tool that can grow with the experience of professionals working with/for local governments across the UK.

To explore the library follow this link:


The patterns collected into AcrosSilos are the result of a collaborative and iterative process, to develop local strategies to prevent child neglect in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The patterns are being tested and implemented through 3 interventions that allow public services, primary schools and the Council to identify and support children and families at risk early, quickly and more effectively. They are:

"The Partner Information Portal", which allows the Council to share crucial information on children and families at risk to schools, so they can better identify and support them.

"Interactive Service Guidance", which enables schools to quickly navigate services available in the borough to find appropriate services for families.

"A New Feedback and Handover Process", which enables services to give feedback to schools for referrals made, and redirects them to other, more appropriate services.


The project brought together more than 25 key stakeholders including safeguarding leads in 3 primary schools, front-line workers, service managers, the metropolitan police, data scientists and behavioural scientists. We adopted a hypotheses led approach that started from quick wins to create a precedent and went on to create buy-in for longer term interventions.

To speak to the designers follow this link:

In Collaboration with:

Co-designDesign for social impactLocal GovernmentOrganisational SilosPublic SectorSocial innovationSustainable Development Goals

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