Is nature the ultimate provider of ‘Service design’?

Trees and Toes


Classroom Project
M.Des 2019
Strategic Design Management

project social︎︎︎

Are we forgetting the value of connecting with nature? Have we lost our harmony with it? Hectic schedules and modern concrete jungles create a lack of awareness that make people overlook interaction with nature. Trees & Toes is a service that allows people to reconnect with nature through an adventure. This service was designed around a series of nature-based activities curated into two types of journeys. The crux of the project revolved around 'Open Air Activity', 'Interaction with Nature' and 'Literacy'. Using service as our medium, users are enriched through nature-oriented activities that help them engage with, learn from, and become closer to nature. We conceptualized and prototyped the service and successfully ran nature journeys for 32 people.

Through the project’s process, we discovered that if and when facilitated and curated by external agents, people want to engage with nature. We learned that watching other people spending time in nature was also a good way to get others to follow suit. This helped us derive our solution. We initially introduced digital devices with the assumption that it would enhance the experience for users, but were proved wrong when our users opted for no digital interference. With proper motivation, most city dwellers found the technology-free service a welcome change.

As executors, we also became the beneficiaries. We became more sensitized towards nature, discovering elements that were always around us but were overlooked. Connecting with nature also resonated more with people during the pandemic, thus further supporting our mission.

If we were to undertake this project again, we would fine-tune the service to be less labor-intensive for our team. Some of our plans could not be taken forward for execution due to constraints on resources and budget. We would like to spend time brainstorming ways for generating revenue for more elaborate service offerings. It would also be ideal for this project to not be dependent on a physical space, thus making it scalable as a business and readily available for users.

Elements of this service could be applied in urban areas including workspaces, offices, institutes, etc. Some activities such as DIY projects can be done in schools or residential areas for children to sensitize themselves to nature from a young age.

This project taught us to be sensitive to our environment; nature can be incredibly calming and restorative. We mindfully experienced how sensitivity and creativity can blossom best when we give ourselves time to be in nature. We learned about 'Biomimicry' while curating the exhibition and it taught us how nature comes to the rescue of designers. The possibility of solving complex problems by taking inspiration from probing into nature was unraveled to us. This project will always be a reminder for us, as design practitioners, to be comfortable with ambiguity in anything we undertake.


  • ‘The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative’ by Florence Williams
  • ‘The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder’ by Richard Louv
  • ‘Sharing Nature with Children’ by Joseph Bharat Cornell
  • ‘Indestructibles: Let's Go Outside!’ by Amy Pixton
  • ‘The Healing Landscape: Therapeutic Outdoor Environments’ by Martha M. Tyson
  • ‘The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • ‘Adventure Therapy’
  • ‘Therapeutic Adventure’