We are
a service design firm,
designing your service
to be sustainable.

What is service design?

Service design differs from the classical domain of design in that it involves comprehensively integrating the various elements needed to experience a service. It could be described as a means of creating an ecosystem for developing continuous communication with customers.

Three key elements are generally considered instrumental to the design process. These are: 1) developing experiences that revolve around customers and actions they actually want to take (customer-centered approach); 2) incorporating all elements implicated in experiences in an integrative fashion (holistic); and 3) involving a wide range of professional and expert viewpoints beyond solely designers, emphasizing a shared creative process that tackles complex issues (co-creation).

For example, when developing new travel services, taking the above points into account allows for creating memorable experiences that customers will take home with them. In this case, the key is designing holistic services tailored closely to travelers’ needs, going beyond simply transportation and accommodations solutions, but incorporating dining while in transit, and all other activities that occur during the trip.

What we do

ACTANT is an independent design firm that was one of the first in Japan to implement service design methodologies ten years ago. Since that time, we have taken a multi-polar approach, developing new design methods, conducting design research, and performing branding and business design to aid our clients in revamping existing service experiences and develop new projects. We provide holistic and comprehensive support that spans from basic research to tangible output, assisting in the implementation of the final service in real-world society. Our team consists of a range of diverse professionals, from university researchers to visual communication designers, allowing us to design every aspect of your service with unstinting attention and care.

  • Service Design

    We conduct research and workshops in order to trigger innovation in your workflows and business models and improve the customer experience.

    • Ethnographic research
    • Quantitative research & data analysis
    • Customer journey
    • Service ecosystem
    • Storytelling
  • Visual Thinking

    We utilize visual expressions to elicit empathy with a particular use case and aid in visualizing your brand’s value, triggering behavioral changes, and streamlining the co-creation process.

    • Branding & visual identity
    • Graphic recording & illustration
    • Art direction
    • Data visualization
    • Editorial, UI & wayfinding design
  • Town Planning

    From utilization of facilities and public spaces to bottom-up town development through co-creation that involves local residents, we provide comprehensive support for the processes, strategies, and implementation of plans that connect places and people.

    • Conceptualization of town planning
    • Land use planning
    • Planning new projects utilizing land and buildings
    • Spatial design consulting
    • Support for local/regional vitalization
  • Co-creation

    Utilizing participatory design methods, as exemplified by the concept of the “living lab,” we facilitate your project through an agile design process that adapts to the changing needs of today’s complex society.

    • Open innovation
    • Support for living lab & co-creation process
    • Workshop design & facilitation
    • Operational support for dessign lab
    • Support for design training & organizational change

Our purpose

The foremost point that ACTANT emphasizes in its activities is developing designs that are resilient and sustainable. Given the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) ongoing in today’s world, it is become increasingly important to not only develop innovative services, but build an ecosystem for providing these in a stable and ongoing fashion. Businesses today must develop deep, long-term relationships with customers that are a page apart from the one-off, short-lived strategies of the past.

By supporting your business in creating long-lasting and viable approaches that continue to generate value, we in turn support the wellbeing of your customers, and the sustainability of society and the environment as a whole. That cycle in turn leads to making your business more long-lasting and viable. We use the power of design to realize this constructive feedback loop.

Our approach

ACTANT has developed four key approaches by leveraging the expertise we have cultivated through service design in practice. We customize these approaches and other standalone methods to offer a one-stop solution to the design of long-lasting and viable services in different areas.

01 Service Strategy

Through marketing research, fieldwork, co-creation workshops, and other multi-faceted research and analysis, we carefully formulate a strategy for the service to be designed. Developing a service that smoothly integrates with society at large requires not only clearly defining the business itself, but configuring what it is you want to provide through that service, its social significance, as well as the motivations of the business operator. This calls for incorporating ongoing social changes, sustainability of the ecosystem, and substantive shifts in aspects of business that have until now largely been taken for granted. If it is to realize the above, design today must be proactively used to visualize these transitions and design strategic solutions for them.

02 Service Branding

A perennial problem with new services is that, despite putting considerable effort into launching it, the appeal of the new service may fail to reach a wider audience and lead to actual adoption, or not translate into ongoing communication with the end-user. We offer complete and total management over the design process, from basic strategy of what it is you wish to convey, and to whom, on to the specific visual expressions to be used, and through to storytelling to create empathy with the service’s philosophy and brand purpose.

03 Service Experience

We incorporate a wide range of research modalities and design methods in order to provide a streamlined and smooth experience for even complex services, ensuring that customers will not bounce or migrate away from the service partway through. In addition to the customer experience, other key elements are the employee experience workflow and organizational design. We intuitively visualize these complex elements, engaging with stakeholders as necessary to design your service in a stress-free fashion throughout every step of the process.

04 Service Sustainability

Increasing sustainability is an essential part of delivering better service. We combine a range of methodologies, such as living labs, which are an effective means of penetrating innovative services throughout society, as well as NPS methods for continuously evaluating services and increasing customer satisfaction. This allows for growing your service in a stable fashion without undue growing pains on customers, employees, and society and the environment.

Our clients

ACTANT works with leading companies, startups, non-profit organizations and educational institutions on a wide variety of design projects.