Fusing game design with service design thinking

Get your new, free downloadable Game Service Journey map – perfect for anyone working in health tech, gaming, service design, UX, innovation – read on…


[Download hi res template here]

A year ago we set out to explore if we could provide early support to children and young people suffering from anxiety using gaming. After several months of research, conversations with parents, children, clinicians, teachers and game experts we started creating prototypes and testing them with children, parents and clinicians.

Our mission was to create ‘a low cost health tech intervention in the form of a digital game for children aged 7-12 years that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a therapeutic basis.’

This ambitious and potentially high impact project has involved working with a number of experts and user groups to address several interconnected challenges. These challenges fall into 3 main areas:

  • Providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy through a digital game
  • Creating a high quality and engaging game for a wide age range (7-12 years)
  • Evaluating the clinical effectiveness of the game

We’ve been using a variety of tools and methods to help us answer these challenges. One of them is the Game Service Journey map.

What is it:

A collaborative mapping exercise to understand the key steps in a digital service experience and the relationships between these steps.

Who is this for:

Anyone working in healthtech, gaming, service design, UX, innovation.

How to use it:

Here are a few points to consider in using this mapping technique:

  • Keep it collaborative: involve people who can cover each of the layers of content (usually half a day is a good amount of time to do this)
  • Identify challenges: this isn’t about getting the service system right, but more about identify unforeseen challenges (use emojis to liven up the map)
  • Keep evolving it: this map can cover the service experience during a single session of play, you can do another one for 3rd or 4th play session or to look at a more specific play session around a new feature or development
  • Create the map in a collaborative session using post its then create a cleaner digital version afterwards (stakeholders find this extremely helpful) using software like Realtime Board


  • Invite everyone you think should be in the session
  • Secure a room a with a lot of wall space
  • Get post-its and pens
  • Re-create the attached template using labelled sheets of paper or print it out large format
  • Make a plan of how you will set the context for the session
  • Finally, this exercise will reveal a lot about your service – take note of any questions, concerns, ideas or thoughts that arise during the process (in the long run you’ll be grateful you did).

To find out more about our Game to tackle anxiety email manjul.rathee@shiftdesign.org.uk