Archive by Author | martagrochowska

Service Experience Camp 2015

In the middle of November I’ve attended the Service Experience Camp in Berlin – a service design event that is a mixture of keynotes and bar camp sessions. It’s one of those few events that are truly holistically designed – with great attention paid to the speakers diversity, space that allows for meaningful conversation, tasty food and participants wellbeing ( yoga stretching was involved) . Body, mind and soul are being well cared for during the 48 hours. So if you are a service designer or service design student – you should definitely experience it.

 

This year’s camp was focused around the theme “Struggling for change”. Here are my main takeaways:

Designing “un-sexy “ services 

A lot of services that we use everyday such as energy, water or waste management are with time becoming invisible to us. Most of us probably don’t even think of them in terms of “services”. Nowadays when the cost of switching for e.g. energy provider has been radically reduced, providers of those services are facing a challenge of making their services memorable and valuable to the customer. Trying to create differentiators other than price. In her keynote, dr. Kristina Rodig, Head of Customer Insight & Innovation at E.ON discussed the difficulty of delivering delightful customer journey for gas and electricity customers. After discovering that customers only contact E.ON every half of year with questions related either to the end of the year bill or contract, the company has embarked on the mission to create innovative concept that will keep customers engaged during the whole year. The ideas developed through out the project included: an early warning system helping customers to check the balance of their energy consumption, new bill layout and payment reminders with storyline. Slide deck is available here

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Foto credits: E.ON

Service design in the corporation –  how to effectively bring service design in house

 This is not a new topic, what I however found interesting was the visible change of the corporations’ commitment to the service design. It looks like we are approaching another level of service design maturity – the numbers of in house service designers has rapidly increased and organizations have started providing service design training for their employees. Companies that contract service design agencies no longer asked for just a solution, more often they want to use this opportunity to train their employees in service design. As a repercussion this change pushes service designers to become better facilitators and effectively teach project members throughout the length of the project.

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Importance of visualization in design thinking.

Most of the books that discuss the design thinking process, among which Change by Design by Tim Brown, highlight the value brought by use of visual thinking. With some authors even calling visualization tools “the mother of all design tools”, because they are used in every stage of a DT process (Liedtka & Ogilvie, 2011: 49). On one hand, the advocacy for visual thinking, hardly comes as a surprise when we take into account that a large group of design thinking pioneers has a product design background. On another, the concept of drawing, building prototypes and creating a mind map with research insights is new to the business world. With business professionals often scared of sketching and creating with their hands.

The question therefore is: how visualization tools help you create better-designed solutions?

Understand the problem

In order to design the solution, first we have to build a good understanding of the problem that we are trying to solve. Interviews, observations, desk research and other research techniques that are applied during this phase generate huge amount of data – data that has to be grouped and analyze. Creating a research wall is a great way to display insights, photos, and artifacts – all the relevant research outputs in one place. This approach helps us build connections between different findings and understand the bigger picture. The visual aspect of the wall triggers idea generation and enables project members to better understand research insights. For this reason design thinkers often use tools such as persona which give a face to the customer/interviewee.

Visual tools that can be used for understanding the problem are for e.g. personas, mind map, customer journey maps, moodboard, foto safari.

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