Both service designers and therapists
- are neutral and problem and system oriented
- focus on communication, empathy, common goals, and tangible next steps
- want people to internalize and sustain change, so they themselves become redundant
The concept of culture or organizational change is quite complex, but Lisa and I feel that professionals who do service design are the ones who are best primed to effect change.
Future Service Design: Empowering Service Design to Improve Outcomes
Cybelle Buursink, Director for Future Service Design for the Australian Government Department of Human Services, is applying design-thinking approaches to the country’s civil services. She and her team are creating new, people-centered service concepts that will ensure all Australians can access the vital government services they need, in a timely and effective manner. Through her work, Cybelle has learned the following lessons:
- It’s critical for service designers to quickly move on from initial exploratory phases to tangible outcomes, especially in government work where change inherently takes longer.
- It’s necessary to balance the integrity of the design process with the reality of the bureaucracy and know when it’s important to be a purist and when to change an approach to meet the unique needs of a culture.
- Leadership must understand that a specific change won’t be perfect at its first rollout. This is a significant mindshift for organizations who expect to encounter no problems when doing something new.
Meaning Plus Metrics = Magic
Another highlight of the conference was the idea of demonstrating the value of service design to a business. While numbers and math are typically frightening words to designers, Zilver Innovation’s Erik Roscam Abbing did a fantastic job of removing fear and anxiety from these topics in his presentation “Meaning Plus Metrics = Magic.” He outlined the role of a service designer in ensuring the business value of their work, as follows:
- Marry a service’s value to the business with its value to customers.
- Focus on parts of the service experience that really matter.
- Set clear service goals and measure their effects and impact.
Erik then detailed how to measure the impact of service design on a company, as follows:
- Happier customers help promote a company’s services to others, buy more and linger longer, and become easier to serve. You can measure the success of happier customers through metrics such as net promoter scores, brand preference, cross-sells and up-sells, and churn.
- Efficient processes enable companies to sustain low costs, keep current customers and gain new customers, lead to fewer customer complaints, and leave room for personalized customer care. You can measure efficiency through call resolution rates and times, employee satisfaction, and case times.
- Aligned internal organizations allow cooperation between departments, increase creativity and efficiency in solving issues, and integrate better with partners and suppliers. You can measure alignment through supplier satisfaction and the numbers of cross-departmental initiatives, internal or external complaints, and innovations.
The Importance of Redefining Service Design
The last conference presentation that I think is important to summarize is that of the SDN’s founder, Birgit Mager. She recapped the conference talks by defining themes that she believes the organization and the service design community will need to explore in the future.
She began by explaining that, when she first started defining the concept of service design years ago, she searched on Google for service design and garnered zero results. Now, there are almost 1.5 million results. However, these include a mixed bag of IT companies, marketers, and architects who all claim to do service design. Therefore, Birgit believes that the edges of the current definition of service design are fuzzy, so the SDN and the service design community need to begin fine-tuning its definition. One critical first step in this process is reassessing the value that service design brings to an organization.
Historically, the focus of service design has been on the customer. However, in many of the conference presentations, Birgit saw the need to shift our focus to the value service design brings to a business.
Another theme Birgit noticed throughout the presentations was that the interface level of service design is becoming a commodity—for example, a car-sharing digital service. The strategic level of service design is the level at which the service design community needs to function to illustrate its true value.