On 26th June, 2020, Bodh (Clearly Blue’s learning vertical), organised an insightful webinar on “Introduction to Service Design Thinking”.
The informative session packed with industry case studies was presented by Ms. Chitra Gurjar, a coach and senior consultant in Product Development and Strategy. A firm believer in continuous learning, constant experimentation and idea-sharing, Chitra has poured her two decades of experience into driving innovation creatively to find efficient solutions.
She started the session with an example of how people buy and consume music. Rewind to a few years ago, music lovers visited stores to buy music tapes/ CDs. Today, they can listen to any music at the touch of our fingertips through apps such as Spotify and Gaana. Startlingly, music as a product has been converted into a service now.
What is Service Design?
As Chitra explained, Service Design is a combination of user experience (UX), customer experience (CX) and ecosystem experience (EX).
SD = UX + CX + EX*
The People, Assets, Process & Policy, Culture of an Organization
EX* = Ecosystem experience (Employees, Contractors, Stakeholders)
Service Design is mainly influenced by:
Service Design can be applied to almost any dimension; it helps create new business models. Cases in point are RedBus and Uber. Service design also helps monitor the way businesses are being run, .e.g., monitoring logistics services in transportation. Further, service design aids in reducing inefficiencies. It helps identify optimisations and creates ways to enable more efficient services.
One key point Chitra underscored was the importance of Service Design in producing impactful solutions: products may just be a part of the solution; most products need services to succeed. Microsoft is a great example of service-driven organisation – it has a wonderful platform ecosystem of services and service lines supporting billion-dollar products.
A Case Study from the Field
Chitra also took us through a case study of a recent public-private-NGO partnership project that she took part in. A combination of technology and feet-on-the-ground was used to deliver essentials to those in need within an area of 18 sq km in Bengaluru during the lockdown period necessitated to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As a result, about 95% of people in the target zone critically affected by the lockdown – folks below the poverty line, construction workers, security guards and others – were covered through this system.
The case study brilliantly captured the basic tenets of Service Design, which are:
Basically, it follows the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy .
What’s in it for You?
Service Design helps increase efficiencies and opportunities even within the business. It helps examine if processes and policies are friendly towards the delivery of a design.
The term “Service Design” has been used since 1982, a time when products and services were looked at separately. Now, there is a power shift from producer to consumer. Hence, service design becomes a very essential element in how companies and organisations can deliver value-added services to the end users.
“There’s no longer any real distinction between business strategy and the design of the user experience. The last best experience that anyone has anywhere becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want anywhere. “ – Paul Boag
When we drop by at Starbucks or Café Coffee Day, we don’t simply get a cuppa; we carry back an experience with us. Don’t we expect a similar experience on our next visit? This is why having a design thinking mindset is important. Having the ability to envision what kind of services are required to enhance user experience is essential for every organisation to be successful.
The Q&A Session gave us an opportunity to derive more understanding of Service Design. Here are some of the questions answered.
How does a product person approach this? How does one look at the services allied to the product and how to get started?
No product exists in isolation. It exists amidst an ecosystem. This ecosystem lies in the minds of customers. This is where the people working with the product should start their journey of understanding the product. You should actually start conversing with the target audience to identify the pain points and their expectations. For example, the advent of the iPod changed the perspective of music as a service rather than a product.
The product manager should be an empath of the user.
The true creators of products are indigenous people. For instance, during the lockdown, farmers grabbed the opportunity of delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to people’s doorsteps.
How do you decide what parties need to be involved? Is there a process?
Yes, there is. It involves considering all the stakeholders in the whole process chain, both internal and external. For example, Toyota is a caring/empathetic organisation as they consider everyone involved.
What are the typical tools used in service design?
There are many of them, depending on the stage you are at.
What are the key points which help a product manager to discover how to deliver the functionality, be it a service or product?
Start with engaging people together to figure out what you need to create, be it a service or a product. If you’re in a large organisation, ensure that everyone (business team, finance team, customer support team, engineer, marketing team, sales team) is present in the initial discussions, from Day One. All these people have an influence on the result. In this way, you can prioritise the deliverable and get quick feedback. Eric Ries, the author of “Lean Startup”, describes this in a very interesting way.
What is the scope of service design? Where does service design start and end?
Service design encompasses a very wide ecosystem. We should all cultivate a more systematic way of thinking. Look at the internet of things – IoT. The Internet has changed the world so dramatically. A digital Indian platform enables millions of ideas to thrive on it. Anything you create – a service or a product – think of it beyond itself; what is the ecosystem present around it? In a Starbucks, more than people ordering a beverage, you see that there are many people having discussions and working together. It is more like a working space for exchanging ideas and meeting new people. It also has a dropbox for visiting cards. So, service design enables you to think systemically and think of a wide ecosystem around you.
How do you make sure that the attention span of a customer does not reduce?
Be very interested in the customer. Understand the individual. Be curious and empathetic. When the person understands your interest in them, they will give you their full attention; just like how lovers give attention to each other on a date.
These are one of the tools involved in the process of service design.
Interested in kickstarting the Design Thinking journey with your service delivery or product teams? Talk to Clearly Blue for a range of design thinking services including Service Design Thinking workshops, consulting and coaching with experts and industry practitioners.