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Service Design (MA)

Francesco Cagnola

In brief

I’m a passionate service designer with a BSc in Communication Design.
I worked as a filmmaker and between year 1 and year 2 at the college I joined the consultancy Fjord for an extended internship. I’m interested in working in companies looking at how to make the world a better place.

What I learnt

In my studies and work, I learnt that service designers ensure that different stakeholders can make the most of their interactions. We are famous for helping companies to understand end-users and employees better. We are also very good at facilitating collaboration among experts from different fields.

As a service designer, I’m curious when researching and empathetic when developing. I listen to both experts and users in order to frame the right problem. Then, I’m able to synthesize the collected insights into understandable formats. Which makes it easy to consider everyone’s needs while working on solutions.

What I'm interested in

Over the last two years, I developed an acumen for system design and business modelling. Thinking in systems is essentially what designers do when being interdisciplinary, being able to consider beyond the first circle of influence when designing the resulting system could be the most impactful skill for service designers interested in sustainability. The interest for business modelling comes from the understanding that they influence user experiences deeply: for example, the switch from ownership to access is a change in business model that revolutionises completely our way to experience certain things. 

Ultimately, I’m interested in developing services that empower people rather than serving them.
For this, I refer to the concept of prosumerism that sees consumers as an outdated economic concept and considers people as active agents and not passive ends.At the end of the day, Lao Tsu’s “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed them for a day, teach them how to fish and you’ll feed them for a lifetime” was the sentence that brought to the field in the first place.




To speak with me and Astha

Degree Details

School of Design

Service Design (MA)

Stepping into 2020 has been like opening Pandora’s box.

All the issues caused by our way of living (in particular if you live in the Western part of the world) have been brought up in a way that nobody could really ignore them. 

A global pandemic has brought up how much our society is disconnected from the natural system that it sustained its raise in the first place. We have ignored earth’s signals of breakdown and scientists appeals for too long, the new normal must be way different from our past of pollutant glory.
George Floyd’s murder has been the last straw for minority groups that have been treated like less since the fifteenth century. Pairing it with the other fights that regard gender and sexual orientation discriminations seems a bit simplistic but proves how toxic the leadership of white rich men has been. Reforming is needed to bring insights to which build on the future we need.

A tutor of ours once said to us: “Whatever you are doing right now is probably not as important as addressing global warming.”. To that, we must add systemic inclusion, of all kinds of people and of all kinds of life. Pandora’s box has been opened, we can’t look the other way. Not anymore. 

The context we explored — Francesco and Astha introduce the context they dived into prior designing LOT.
The Problem — Francesco and Astha describe LOT's problem area and the user pain points they encountered in their research.
The Solution — Watch how LOT's user experience addresses the outlined problems

LOT's benefit for London — The three main areas we see LOT contributing to London and Londoners' wellbeing.

HOW DOES IT WORK? — By working with landowners, we standardise the terms and conditions of use of land and provide a digital contract for meanwhile lease use. These patches are listed on the digital platform that can then be claimed by citizens as 'stewards', 'co-stewards' or 'volunteers' on providing a proposal plan.


Using Service Design methodologies, Astha and Francesco, explore the application of concepts like Urban Resilience and Food citizenship in shaping London’s green spaces.

Green spaces are an integral part of British culture. In the past, it was about Victory Gardens, today it is about a rising interest for biodiverse neighbourhoods.
However, urbanisation massively reduced the space for such endeavours and budget cuts obliged local authorities to give a lower priority to the maintenance of small patches across London, which are mostly enjoyed by locals.

Doctors and academics reaffirm the benefits that green spaces provide to the city in terms of resilience to climate change, food security and health and wellbeing for those who interact actively with them.

The growing interest of citizens in green spaces and biodiversity was evident in several citizen’s assemblies that led Councils across London to formally declare a Climate Emergency.

Through our interaction with grassroots initiatives like Think & Do, Company Drinks, Incredible Edible, we found that despite creating a high community engagement they still struggle to reach wider communities.

Using provocative exercises and future scenario mapping, in a multi-stakeholder workshop, that included Camden Council officers and initiative leaders, we narrowed our focus area to Repurposing of Land.

A range of experts from architects to data scientists helped build our vision of scaling the impact of grassroots initiatives by easing people’s legal access to land in their neighbourhood.


We saw how part of the population is very proactive in regards to public open spaces and their usage. From different voices we heard two main problems: lack of transparency in land ownership and management models and the absence of ways to meet and systematise the citizens' demand, causing conflictual views on use of such spaces. The outcomes are bitter relationships and neglected spaces.

Also, GLA's Environment Strategy reiterates the need for new ways to create and maintain green spaces.


LOT is a land management and co-maintenance platform that leads to de-centralized management and use of green infrastructure at neighbourhood level. We work with land owners (private,developers,council) to list tiny or big land patches on our platform that can be claimed by citizens as stewards, co-stewards or volunteers. A public digital platform fed with geo-data of claimable land brings transparency in ownership and land use, thereby improving accessibility and making it inclusive for all digital literates.

To speak to the designers follow this link:

In Collaboration with:

I worked with Asha to design this platform for the future of urban green spaces.
Introduced by Clive, our Head of programme, and supported by a talk by Carolyn Steel, the students will briefly take you through their projects. There will be the possibility to break into rooms, one per project, so you can know more about your favourite one!

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