Kathryn Richards

Kathryn’s started her career as a design and innovation strategist for the medical sector in a specialist design consultancy London in 2003. With a Bachelors in Product Design and a Masters in Design Strategy she was flung out into a world that was still focused on manufacturing products, and where service design was still emerging and not yet concreted as a discipline. Businesses (as well as mums and dads) still thought of design as interiors, drawing pictures, fashion, or the role of marketing. The iPhone was still some years off.

Kathryn’s first design strategy role helped find routes to market for medical innovations, linking scientists, technology, and policy with human and market needs. Grounded in research linking viability, feasibility and desirability, she delved into the context of people’s lives or work, identifying wicked problems and delving into what that meant in terms of opportunities. With a solid foundation in product design she was able to look at the intersection between the physical and non-physical, considering complete ecosystems that included the full depth of a service.

After a stint freelancing on projects ranging from the future state of medical oxygen, and ingestible sensors to help self-manage complex medical conditions, she moved to Designit, a Danish 360’ firm and then to Seren, an experience and service design consultancy. At Seren, Kathryn helped shape the service design proposition, running a number of international, ethnographic-based projects with clients such as Dell, Nokia, Vodafone and Visa, before becoming Head of Service Design. She continued to deliver digital transformation through customer centric methodologies at some of the UK’s leading banks as well as defining and growing design capability at Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia.

In 2015 Kathryn headed to Istanbul as Service Design Lead for Fjord, before transitioning to South Africa where she has lead research and service design projects across diverse sectors and in multiple markets across Africa. Her first collaboration here, with strategists, technologists, visual and UX designers helped win gold at the 2017 Loeries.