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Service Design (MA)

Saumya Singhal

Hello there! I'm a service designer, researcher, and earthling; currently living in London, originally from Mumbai, and happy to have called many other places in between, home. With a background in Industrial Design and experience in social innovation, I spent my two years at the RCA specialising in Public Service and Policy Innovation. I used this time as a deep dive into systems thinking and research to inform policies, programmes, systems and services. Through my work, I strive to create sustainable impact, and I am passionate about human-centred and evidence-based design to drive change, empower people, and shape better futures.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern at the United Nations Development Programme in New York which was a fantastic experience, strengthening my abilities, and aspirations of working towards sustainable development. It gave me an intergovernmental perspective on social impact, and developing policies grounded in research and experiential evidence. The best part though, was the free pass to the gazillion events and talks at the UN, and the mind-blowing conversations with some of the most inspiring people!

My final project has been with the Barking and Dagenham Council with a close knit team of data scientists and behavioural scientists, and has really taught me how our three disciplines produce completely different insights but can foster magic when working collaboratively. Along with piloting the work I did with the Council, I am currently volunteering my time to do a short research project with an NHS Trust to improve the virtual clinic experience of both patients and professionals given the sudden and dramatic shift due to Covid-19.

Lastly, as an RCA scholar, I’ve been privileged with the ability to use my practice to drive change, and I am keen on continuing to create meaningful impact in the world, moving forward.




Degree Details

School of Design

Service Design (MA)

How do I create impact that can scale?
What are the unintended consequences of my work? 
How do I create evidence that is robust enough to drive change? 
How do I define a problem which is not a problem but a multitude of problems? 
Is it even the right problem? 
How do I make sure my practice and my work are as inclusive as they could be? 
How do I break out of service design echo chambers? 
How do I speak less and do more?

These are some of my recent enquiries, which have partly been answered and will partly be accompanying me on my journey forward, with high chances that they will stick around...forever?

With a brain wired to think in systems, eyes that light up to surprising findings, and a childhood obsession to make things, my practice combines them to create insightful work. A big influence has been this idea of interconnectedness in our world. We all live in an ecosystem of dependence and a small trigger can cause a radical shift, which is the essence of understanding our responsibility in the ecosystem, and the impact we are making by our actions.

My practice has evolved to be quite research focused as I’ve found creating evidence to be one of the most effective things to create change, by rethinking the problems we are trying to solve, and speaking the language of change-makers. Co-creation and collaboration are intrinsic to me, giving ownership to the people I am working with, and establishing the fact that I don’t know the answers, but I can ask the right questions. My practice also builds a consciousness of assumptions often overlooked, which allows space to be wrong, fail, and therefore eventually find the right way forward.

The project in a snapshot — A short video of Emilia and I explaining the project
AcrosSilos Pattern Library
Launch Project

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 and prevent complex social issues

Patterns into action in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Patterns into action in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham — 3 interventions that allow public services, primary schools, and the Council to identify and support children at risk of neglect much earlier, quicker, and more effectively

Process and Methodologies — Low tech to cater to a wide range of audiences; quick wins to create a precedent and get buy-in for longer-term interventions; hypotheses-driven approach 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 pattern library that provides a set of guidance and standards 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 to 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 used a hypotheses led approach that started from quick wins to create a precedent and went on to create buy-in for longer-term interventions.

Find further information, and say hello!

In Collaboration with:

Local GovernmentOrganisational SilosPublic SectorSocial innovationTransformation

Liu Ling Scholarship - RCA Service Design

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