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How does service design work?

Service design

Is an iterative process in four steps

Fundamentally and in reality, it is not a linear process and certainly not a standard process. But as service design is a complex process, we work in four different steps to structure the approach.  The basic service design approach consists of exploration, creation, reflection, and implementation.

It is also an iterative process. That means that it must be able to return to the previous step regularly, or even start all over again from scratch. It is necessary to be critical and courageous to step back, start all over again, or even stop the design process. The benefit of structuring the design process is that it enables a greater degree of reflection upon all activities, outcomes and influences of the design team.

Keep always the entire process in mind (from a helicopter view), especially when you put a lot of energy in the improvement of a concrete activity with lots of details.  E.g. if you are redesigning employee interactions between sales and marketing staff, it is also important to consider the organizational level and structure as a whole. In other words, it is not a success to work on interactions between two people respectively from the marketing and sales department, as these departments themselves need to improve cooperation and interaction.

Four steps

The starting point in the exploration phase is the customer. Whether it is for current customers or potential customers, it is essential to properly understand the situations, interactions, customer journeys, attitudes and expectations of the (potential) customers. Ways of researching are for example by going on an exploratory manner in conversation with the customer, customer panels, or by observing customers. The ways in which this information is obtained, and the attention to details are keys to future success.

During the creation stage, it is all about designing, testing and retesting ideas and concepts. It is a co-creative ideation process, where it is important to involve all main stakeholders and to work with interdisciplinary teams that include customers, managers, employees, engineers, designers, sales, marketing and other stakeholders. In this stage it is important to stimulate co-creativity as much as possible, and to work user-centred. Using sticky notes for visualizing the process is another key to success. The creation stage is closely related to the reflection stage. Practically, there are a variety of methods and tools which can be used in the creation stage. E.g. designing hypothetical stories, drawing storyboards (sequence of events), or even using Lego materials to express a service environment ,can all be interesting to use during the creation stage.

As already told, the reflection stage is closely related to the creation stage. However, in the reflection stage it is important to build or prototype service concepts in reality or circumstances close to reality. But the main challenge at this stage in the process is dealing with the intangibility of services. Therefore it will be very helpful to consider carefully how to provide customers with a good mental image about the future service. That is the main goal at this stage. In order to obtain emotional engagement for the new service, the way in which this is proposed will be of great importance. Methods which are useful for this purpose and help visualize the new service are again methods like  storyboards, a comic strip, video, photos, simulations and co-creation. Feedback needs to be collected in a thorough way through interviews, observation, surveys.

A design process is not successful, if the new service isn’t implemented properly. The implementation stage may be considered as a real change or transformation stage, with lots of obstacles and resistances. Therefore it is very important to work with ‘ambassadors’, who were already involved and contributed already in earlier stages. If they have a clear vision of the concept, and if they were already involved in developing and testing the prototype of the new service in interaction with real customers, there is a high probability of a successful implementation. Successful methods we use in this stage are storytelling, service blueprints, testing with real customers or role plays, business model canvas and action plans.

In every stage we have several workshops with main stakeholders, but with different goals, perspectives  and approaches.

If you want more information about service design thinking and  to evaluate if this approach could be interesting for your organization, contact THRUST

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The new rules of innovation

Innovation is taking risks

Interesting and inspiring TEDxBerkeley -talk about innovation. Uploaded on Feb 25, 2012

From Carl Bass , President and CEO of autodesk, Inc. Autodesk is the leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Formerly he was Autodesk's chief operating officer, responsible for worldwide sales, marketing, and product development. Earlier roles included CTO and EVP of product development.

His key message is that innovation is happening at an unprecedented pace and will continue to accelerate because of 5 trends:

1. The age of Access and Experience

2. Business Un-Usual

3. Digital fabrication

4. Rise of information

5. Infinte Computing

Watch now

For more information on commercial innovation methodologies and approaches click here, or contact THRUST 

What is commercial innovation?

Innovation or invention?

Innovation is often mixed with invention. Invention is typically linked to product or technology development (R&D). Innovation however, includes all non-product (or technology) innovation. 

What is commercial innovation?

The core of innovation is the commercial use of an invention. Commercial innovation includes all forms of innovation aimed at increasing customer value. Especially, it is about new business or market entry models, whole new service offers, better aligned and redesigned processes, improved customer experiences, transformed customer relationships, new distribution channels, extra customer tools and apps. It could also be about new visions on business potential, innovative value propositions, a different perspective on market segmentation and all other non-product innovations which provide more customer value.

The internet is one of the best examples of commercial innovation. In less than a decade, the internet went from being connected networks used by universities and the military to the very powerful commercial engine it is today. (Greenstein Shane, How the internet became commercial: innovation, privatization, and the Birth of a new network, Princeton University Press, 2015)

Increasing customer value?

Increasing customer value may be realized by either increasing the benefits as perceived by target customers or by reducing their experienced sacrifices.

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Welcome to our new website!

Welcome to our new website!

The importance of commercial innovation

Hello world, this blog is about commercial innovation, customer relationships and service design thinking, but also about personal and team coaching.

Digitization gives new possibilities but is also responsible for the current disruptive economy. In this disruptive economy, new powerhouses emerge as Google, Apple, Facebook and others. They ensure that even very old, large companies shake to their foundations and begin to question their existence. For example, banks and insurance companies, but also the automotive industry are all threatened by new entrants who use often IT and digital solutions and have often a fresh look at traditional challenges. Why doesn't drive a car independently? Why does a surgeon operate still manually? Why do we still use physical (paper) money to pay?  Therefore, it is important that any organization continues to innovate. Certainly 'commercial innovation' has become even more important. It is not just about product innovation, but also about everything we do in order to service the customer better and the added customer value we create in this way.  Read more about it next time.

Personal coaching to activate individual potential

In this blog and website, however, we will also write about the importance of human interaction, personal coaching and building teams. Especially in times of rapid change, the quality of human contact, personal performance and team functioning is more important than ever. Also striving for a better balance and to more happiness, both at work and in private life, deserve more attention. The demand for personal and team coaching is therefore rising.

Next time we continue with commercial innovation and different approaches.

For more information about  our services, click here, or contact THRUST

See you again!