“Service Design: From Insight to Implementation” by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Loevlie and Ben Reason (2013 Rosenfeld Media) is a positively different service design book, whereas this – rather loose – book review is written as an extra assignment of the course New Service Development by Tiia-Marina Tuominen de Sousa e Silva from SID Master Program ’12.
I must say, when I got the task to read yet another book on service design and write about it to this blog, I sighed. As a student of the subject I feel I have already covered all the angles the books can present. Service Design books seem to appear like mushrooms in the rain. However, the authors of this book think there are only a few of them – and they are right.
The books that I have come across are either about the (superb) philosophy and thinking behind service design, or listings of its various (trendy) methods. The merit of this book is that it aims at being the first real textbook on the subject, connecting the philosophy with the practicalities on grass root level. I can picture this book being learned in management studies everywhere.
“You will do yourself and the field of service design a great favour if you always include the definition of performance indicators in your proposals.”
The book is divided into nine chapters in addition to the intro that explains its existence. First, the basic difference between product and service is explained in the chapters 1-2. The following chapters 3-4 are about people, understanding their relationships, and how to capture the insights of the people’s everyday life into the design. Chapters 5-6 cover the defining and mapping of the service ecology and describe how service blueprint is used to view the service through the eyes of customers and users.
In today’s organization’s strategic or service development projects you hardly hear a word about foresight or futures research. If you do, you are probably dealing with professionals of the field. Typical scene in developing services or company strategies is that we tend to make our decisions based on current normative knowledge – and perhaps worse, with consensus driven mindset. We use too often “I know/I feel” -tool in critical points where instead we should useresearch material and insights about the topic in question. Organizations seem to lack knowledge on how to use foresight as part of development process. It is a powerful tool when used systematically, and when used efficiently it can give you the possibility to spot and develop new business innovations before competitors.
Service Jam is about designing and developing services. The goal is to develop a service in 48 hours. The time frame is surely a limitation, but the biggest challenge is to work as a team and to keep the ball rolling. Basically, the challenge is to keep rolling that ball together to the same direction.
This year’s theme was: grow^. Teams were formed with “blind date” type of conversations. Participants were asked to think about the service ideas or problems about the theme, grow. After a short period we were asked to start sharing these ideas in one-to-one short discussions. The point was that if you can find people with same type of ideas, you should be in the same team. It was obvious that the theme was challenging, too broad maybe. What does it stand for and should the service be precisely about “growing”. We did just the opposite!
After changing a group I ended up working with the concept about nutrition. The basic idea was that this nutrition service concept would help people to loose or gain weight or just to stay fit. Basically this would mean that most of the service users don’t want to grow. They want to get smaller.
I attended the public defence of Tiina Tuominen’s doctoral dissertation at Aalto University in Otaniemi, Espoo on 22nd February. Title of her thesis is Innovation and development activities in professional service firms- a role structure perspective. The thesis can be found here: http://otalib.aalto.fi/en/collections/e-publications/dissertations/
Figure 1. How to Fail in Service Design, Palmu 2012
The last Service Design Breakfast was not about digital design, but more human-centric services. Reima Rönnholm started his presentation by asking everyone if they have already failed in anything this week or this day. Failing isn’t really fun, but what can we learn from failing? Reima quoted Steve Blank saying that no business plan survives first contact with a customer. Making mistakes is inevitable and the key is how to do it successfully.
The first successful example of designing a service was service design process of Helsinki Airport. Making the most painful points a pleasant experience and suggesting it to customers as a service, not something they are forced to use. What really make any service are processes, people and customers. Places and materials are always there, but the service is not unless there are people using it. You have to do lots of modeling to make an intangible service concrete. You have to try and make errors to see how to make things work.
The growth of service business is projected to continue in EU. This trend touches all organizations. It also provides opportunities for Laurea, while systematic research and disciplined new business practices are sought in the field of service innovation and service design.
Traditionally European research on service has been strong. Thus, a joint research project with partners from various European countries is an excellent way to cooperate in this field.
Laurea SID is applying funds from EU to commence a joint research project. The funding scheme is FP7/ Marie Curie/ Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP).
Our academic partners in this project proposal are Politechnico Di Milano, Italy, and University of Dundee, Glasgow, UK. On the business side, three small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will participate.
Current trends that shape the western economies are the growing importance of services, the need for innovation, changes in consumer and business markets, and the advancements in information and communication technology. Technological developments like the digitalization of information, the increased processing capacity of computer chips, miniaturization and increased mobility of devices, the use of sensors and location technologies, increased interoperability between services, security, and natural interfaces (Brouwman, Van den Hooff, Van de Wijngaert, & Van Dijk, 2005) enable mature architectures and platforms for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and electronic commerce transactions, anywhere, anytime.
Nowadays development of the new innovative services is an important driver for economic growth. In the book Mobile Service Innovation and Business Models, the authors present a theoretically grounded yet practical approach to designing business models for electronic services, including mobile ones. The book consists of two parts.
“The effective service innovation happens if entrepreneurial innovation group with technical capabilities can unite material, service and experience to provide market accepted new service. “
The subsequent blog post peeks into the book “User-based innovation in Services” by Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen and takes you to insight concepts as to how and why these concepts are useful. The subsequent sections will discuss about the interesting concepts and topics from the literature.
Before we start it’s important to understand the term ‘Users’. Let’s quickly make our understanding, users or receivers of the services are generally termed as customers, clients or consumers. The customer is the One that buys goods or services and can still resale after processing. The consumer is the one that acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than resale. The client is a party for which professional services are rendered.. The “Users” is used as super set, has full blown ecosystem which is driven socially, culturally or individually. Now when we understand users’ as the driving force for service innovation and users’ various distinctions, let’s move towards various concepts.
“New service development: the process from idea to launch of a new service”
“New service development is a modification of current services and or adaptation of the service that is already offered in another geographical market.” (Edvardsson, Gustafsson, Johnson, Sanden 2000).
Why is new service development so important?
Today´s business life is all about competition and Innovative service is the means that companies differentiate themselves from the current intense competitive market. Companies are constantly trying to differentiate themselves from other players in market field. Previously markets have been really product/manufacturing oriented. Mainly all the tools are then developed towards this manufacturing idea so service innovation and new service development are poorly researched and understood areas. But today´s business needs to take these things into consideration in order to survive. In order to develop new ideas companies need new tools for their work.
“Brand Together – How co-creation generates innovation and re-energizes brands” Nicholas Ind, Charles Trevail and Clare Fuller
Have you ever listened to two women talking about brands? Sounds too trivial? Well, this conversation is different…
Such important first impression, and we are not judging the book by its cover
Tatjana: For me, brand is a ‘loud’ name that represents quality and value. Products and services with solid brand names will win over despite the price margin that I would be paying just for having that label on a product. The reputation that brand has, often comes with a history of quality level. When seeing book title “Brand together” among other very interesting books for the assignment, I immediately knew that this is something I can relate to naturally. The anticipation of something stylish, bright, lightweight and attractive, packaged into one nice word, was on in an instant. The book turned out to be a ‘heavy-reading’, but with interesting insights to compensate for the writing style.