I’m in Service Design Heaven!

Yes, of course. This makes sense. I want to test this asap.
SID program’s Design Thinking session in September 2014 by Katja Tschimmel and Gijs van Wulfen made me realize something I had unconsciously incubated – and to desire further information. Think if we could learn to love our challenges and transform them into innovation opportunities by design thinking and its systematic approach to problem solving.

Why not ask the customers?

Effortless customer journey and second to none customer experience are key topics for me in my daily job. We scrutinize our customers’ feedback, we evaluate our process steps and customer touch points, we think of new service offerings. And yet, do we really know what our customers think and feel during their journey? Could we ask them? Should we invite them to join us in developing our services? How about observing them in each process step in natural environment?

Design thinking is a human-centered, culturally sensitive, experimental and iterative process. It offers an empathetic and visual approach to get closer to our customers and at the same time learn a lot. How to begin? Tim Brown’s advice is to start by asking right questions. One of them might be: What are the real customer frictions?

Let’s collaborate

Who should be involved when developing customer journey? Could design thinking help in enhancing service and innovation culture amongst employees? Inventing can be done alone, innovating not. In order to create ownership it’s wise to do it together. As Gijs van Wulfen put it: you tend to like – even love – your own ideas, but not necessarily the neighbor’s. So let’s invite our co-workers to join our design process. The more different people we have, the better the outcome.

Business model canvasFail fast in order to succeed sooner

Design thinking offers tools that help turn ideas into practical applications. In her article Katja Tschimmel describes the background, characteristics and tools for Design thinking. During the class we tested ten tools. Mind mapping, photo safari, visual research and image interview are useful when finding out current reality. Mood board, personas, brain writing and semantic confrontation help in idea generating. Concept development is aided by rapid prototyping, desktop walkthrough, business model canvas and storytelling. It’s wise to work with multiple ideas. Evaluating the ideas (prototypes) is easy as the criteria have been described in the beginning of the design process.

In Jeanne Liedtka’s and Tim Ogilvie’s book Designing for growth a four-phase design model with diverging and converging phases is described: What is? What if? What wows? What works? Each step includes practical Project Management Aids such as Design brief, Design criteria, Napkin pitch and Learning guide. In Evolution 62 model by ESAD and Na’Mente the whole service design process is summarized in a compact format.

Thank you

I really have seen the light. Katja, Gijs and my fellow students, thank you for a very inspiring co-learning session. The journey has now begun.

Written by Maarit Lepistö, a SID master program student


Brown, Tim: Design Thinking in Harvard Business Review
ESAD and Na’Mente: Evolution 62
Liedtka, Jeanne and Ogilvie, Tim: Designing for growth
Tschimmel, Katja: Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation
van Wulfen, Gijs: The Innovation Expedition

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