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Service Design (MA)

Mingji Liu

WOM is an interdisciplinary project being carried out by Mingji Liu from MA1 Service Design and Zeyi Li from MA1 Design Product. They started working together because of the same goal of promoting insect-based food globally.

Because of the foreseeable future food shortage, the United Nations is calling for the consumption of insects, an alternative protein that consumes fewer resources and has less impact on the environment. But in many countries, there is no culture of eating insects which is a large barrier to promoting edible insects. 

Through their local interviews in London, most people refused to add insects to their daily consumption because they think insects are disgusting. However, some interviewees said they would try to eat insects if they knew more about how can entomophagy save the planet and what food and drink pair insects best.

By getting into the insect farming and cooking process and interviewing stakeholders in the industry, they learned that there are quite many people farming insects and the number of interest is growing. On the back end side, there are many roasted whole insects and insect powder products on the current market such as puffed food, energy bars and cookies.

How Might We integrate insect-based food into people’s natural daily food choices by engaging people more in the whole journey of novel food application?

They make an assumption that people need to be engaged in every stage from the insects being farmed to being served. Community farms might be a good direction to explore, as insect farms occupy a similar area to plant verticals and are simple and efficient to process, making them suitable for communities. This led them to explore the practical possibilities of ecofarm in two ways.

Mingji focused on how to increase the engagement of consumers through innovative services. He has shared his initial ideas with various industry players and is gradually refining the service offering. There will be workshops and events to showcase their prototypes of the service in July.


Mingji Liu is an interdisciplinary service designer practising rapid service prototyping and iteration & hybrid UI/UX design in multi-sectors. He has rich experience in research & development and is skilled in responding to mobility and sustainability challenges by co-creating and prototyping.

Inspired by culinary & music, he is creative to apply different paths to practical projects, contributing to various complicated social issues, public services & people-oriented designs.

He is passionate about harnessing the power of design thinking for the planet's sustainable development. He believes this is a designer’s mission and hope.


MA Service Design | Royal College of Art, London, UK

BE Automotive Engineering | Tongji University, Shanghai, China

RCA Projects:

Entrepreneurial Project with ICBS: Motorcycle Hailing Service—— pitch deck

Research & Service Design Project: Intervention for financial, benefit and debt service in probation journey——Good Fortune

Speculative & Interdisciplinary Design Project: Post-Food Journal


Key Insights from consumers:

  • Consumers face difficulty sustaining their motivations for eating insects over time.
  • Consumers are not aware of the actual benefits and impact of eating insects and how this can change their lives.
  • Consumers cannot imagine how insects are farmed and think they are dirty.
  • Consumers cannot imagine how to cook insects and do not think it can turn out to be tasty.

Key Insights from the industry:

  • Huge interest is being fostered among current farming communities, especially in beekeepers and vertical farms.
  • The retailing side of the edible industry is gradually maturing but not much work in cooperating with chefs in restaurants.
  • Whether they are farms, factories or retailers, their social exposure is limited and at best fleeting rather than long-lasting.

customer group
user journey map
make decisions invisible


Adding insect impacts to existing eco-friendly initiatives provides the audience with an insight into how the insect industry will benefit human life.

  • Use mealworm waste as fertilizer in the plant vertical farms
  • Offer bio-plastic-bags made from mealworm skin
  • Collect fresh fruit & vegetable waste to farm mealworms

Multi-sensory exposure to the mealworm farm allows for an indirect but proactive exploration of the future underground farm.

  • Hear the sound of the mealworm farm underground
  • Watch how mealworm grows on farms through the lens
  • Feed mealworms on the farm through on-ground interactive pipes

A bundle of permanent memorable POAP Badges motivates the audience to explore more about insects as a novel food.

  • Non-Fungible Tokens will be delivered by NFC cards from WOM
  • Customers’ digital records will be stored on the blockchain

Bringing farmers, retailers and restaurants together can co-create a proactive way of promoting edible insects.

These approaches have been prototyped as the “In-Service” phase. More approaches and stakeholders will be brought into the “Post-Service” phase.

service blueprint

The "In-Service" prototype testing is being carried out during the show.

In collaboration with:

Zeyi Li

More feature designs are available on her individual page.