Skip to main content
Service Design (MA)

Monica Henderson

For 15 years, I've worked at leading design agencies and consultancies across the globe. I use design interventions to solve wicked problems for executive clients by leading multidisciplinary teams. We do this together.

I start by asking, ‘Why’ and then design solutions that propose, ‘Why not’. I mine new customer insights based on quantitative and qualitative research and synthesise human-centred design solutions with short, mid and long-term strategic interventions - all supported with realistic implementation methodologies.

In order to design the future, you need to know how to challenge the norm and convert big ideas into reality. An idea is simply not enough. You need to know how to make it happen.

Areas of expertise: transformation, innovation, strategic design, inclusive design, wicked problems, design ops


  • MA Service Design | Royal College of Art
  • MBA Elective | Behavioural Economics | London Business School

Core Curriculum

  • Service Design Foundations
  • Advanced Methods & Materials
  • Designing Businesses
  • Managing Design & Operational Strategy
  • Social Innovation & Future Services
  • Implementing & Deploying Services at Scale
  • Dissertation: Critical Historial Studies

Extra Curricular

  • RCA Futures Lab Research Associate
  • UN Women CSW 67 Official Delegate
  • Hope Feeds Hackathon
  • Future of Finance Hackathon
  • RCA Service Design Executive Education Facilitator
  • IBM + Philips Service Design Challenge
Headshot of Monica Henderson postgraduate student Royal College of Art.

What a time to be a designer. I've lived through a lot of change throughout my years in the industry. The continued advent of technology has enabled the creation of new experiences limited only by one's capacity to imagine. No one can really fathom what's coming next. And isn't that precisely what makes it all so captivating.

In recent years, I've seen a new shift emerge. While UX was once the space to differentiate, it's now become service design. (Or perhaps, it was service design all along.) Regardless, we now we have an official designation for this sort of design that operates as an invisible thread seaming society together and making it function.

What I've also noticed, is that many senior service design practitioners are self-designated. To ensure I stay at the peak of my craft, I opted to secure the best credentials in the industry; an MA in Service Design from the Royal College of Art. Graduating this programme authenticates my service design capabilities, provides a relevant adjacent skillset and gives me a robust offering to bring to the market.

I could never have anticipated the result of my postgraduate experience, it’s been quite profound. I've had a complete shift in my mental model about what it means to be a service designer. We are more than people who produce invisible design outputs and our role is far more important than I once realised.

We are designers who are in the service of others. Service design, at its core, is equal parts hearing and responding. We mine needs through people, speak for those who have not yet been heard and enable connection through design interventions.

And what an important responsibility that is in society.

How Might We statement
HMWHOW MIGHT WE establish social belonging BETWEEN women and financial experts SO THAT we may enable conversations about financial circumstances IN ORDER TO future proof long term financial independence.
Theory of Change
TOCIF we relieve the financial shame experienced by women THEN we can resolve financial aversion SO THAT we create an alternative path of entry into the financial system and ignite long-term financial planning.
Persona for the Struggling Survivor
PERSONAThrough my research 4 distinct personas presented. I decided to focus in on the most challenging - the Struggling Survivor. The key differentiator for these women is trauma. Something has happened that has broken the family unit such as death, divorce or separation. As a result, these women become financially responsible for their entire household, single-handedly. They most often suffer in silence and are at risk of entering into poverty in their senior years.
Lifecycle journey of a Struggling Survivor
JOURNEYDuring my analysis, it became clear, that gender based income inequalities initiated as soon as a woman became financially independent. As these financial inequities are introduced into a woman's life, they become inextricably shackled to them. These women are resourceful and pivot repeatedly in an attempt to maintain their independence. However, they ultimately exhaust all financial reserves and are left with no option but to become dependent on social financial aid.
Ideation Round #1
IDEATION #1My project was selected to present at and participate in a day long hackathon hosted by EY Seren in collaboration with the UN. Attendees included representatives from UN, EY Seren, Social Innovation Enterprises and the top design students from across the UK.
Ideation Round #2 at the Royal College of Art
IDEATION #2Attendees were asked to design personas and create a lifecycle in their very own scrapbook. Moments of celebration and moments of despair were delivered to each persona in personalised cards to be refactored into their journey. This workshop helped identify alternative lifecycles, the importance of community, communication and celebration throughout life.
SERVICE PROPOSITIONWhich brings me to my service proposition. I'll let our persona Mia, tell you all about it.
Business Model System for Year 1 Pilot
BUSINESS MODEL SYSTEMVALOURi is a 3 pronged service system with multiple revenue streams integrated throughout. When we pull this all these revenue streams together, a Year 1 pilot is projected to generate over £823,000 in revenue.
Value of Market
VALUE OF MARKETWhen we take the serviceable obtainable market and multiply it by the average transfer of wealth of £350,000 we can safely estimate the value of assets under management to be transferred at over £60 Billion
Validation #1
VALIDATION #1Sue Griffin, Director and Board Member, London Stock Exchange
Validation #2
VALIDATION #2Julian Colman, Innovation and GTM Manager, Temenos
SPECULATIVE PROPOSITIONGrand Challenge speculative, multidisciplinary proposition, shortlisted.
Grand Challenge
Experience design
System Design
Engineering & Textile Design
Fashion Aesthetic & Product Design
DISSERTATION - CRITICAL & HISTORICAL STUDIESFrom Rhetoric to Reality: The role of stories in designing the future What role do stories play in our most successful innovations? Would innovation be successful without story? This critically reflective essay seeks to explore the hypothesis that stories have as much to do with the success of innovation as engineering.