Service Design as a Tool for Strategy Creation

In the Service Design Breakfast event at Startup Sauna on November 13th, Laura Invenius from ABB Drivers and Lotta Buss rom N2 Nolla have presented the case of strategy creation using the service design as a tool.

ABB and  N2 Nolla - Service design as a tool for strategy creation

ABB and N2 Nolla – Service design as a tool for strategy creation

ABB Drivers, who produce devices that are used for speed control of electrical motors, needed to develop a new strategy in order to create better customer experiences in digital touch points. N2 Nolla was chosen because of their service design approach in strategy creation.

Believing that co-creation is the most powerful way to build internal commitment, they started with putting together right team for the job. From ABB, team joined people from sales, product management, and marketing coms. From N2 Nolla came service designers, market researcher and digital strategist.

Strategy development process started with creation of clear brief. Next phase was about obtaining insights, both internal and external. Regarding external stakeholders, early decision was made to focus on customers, while investors and those looking for jobs were left aside. Internal insights were obtained from the factory tour and discussions with sales and product management. External insights were collected from 8 countries in discussions with end-customers, partners and OEMs.

Strategy development process

Strategy development process

Additionally, they have collected business and project goals, brand guidelines, and a lot of background information like: competitor analysis and benchmarking, customer research, NPS, and market outlook.

Co-creation workshops were the most important events. First one was dedicated to current state analysis; second one was two days co-creation workshop with country organizations, and the last one with the core team was done to finalize the work.


  • Personas used to cluster information about customers and partners
  • Buyer’s journeys and gap analysis used to identify problems and challenges in interactions.

Design driver was “reduced customer effort is the most significant value creator“.

Outcome was ABB Drives Digital Strategy depicting Contents and Channels. Contents had 12 topics spread across three levels: 1) must have info, 2) educational and additional info and 3) forward looking info. Channels were mapped across digital ecosystem (social, desktop, mobile) and grouped to paid, owned and earned.

Utilizing input from contents and channels, they have created 11 prototypes of tools and services. Digital roadmap was also created that included both content topics and tools. Web site and internal newsletter for ABB Drives were renewed. Change process followed building on latent need that had already existed in the organization.

The outcome was, as ABB concluded “We now know who our customers are, we have hard facts about them (personas), we know what they are looking for, we understand buyer’s journey, we have different channels identified and content plans created for those. Most importantly, we are all now talking about the same things, based on the facts we have learned directly from our customers.”

Key learnings:

  • Co-creative nature of the project has resulted in very little internal change resistance.
  • Customer centricity enabled common ground and clear direction to internal stakeholders.
  • Solution design was successful by focusing on customers’ image of the brand, instead thinking from organizational silos perspective
  • Minor changes and redesigns can also lead to important improvements that add customer value.

The main message from this case, as both Lotta and Laura agreed, is that learning and co-creating together with customer focus is the way to work.

The video and slides of the presentation are here.

Written by Predrag Miskeljin

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