24 Oct

Overview – Service Design Days 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017 around 250 design and business experts met at the inspiring old Estrella Damm beer factory to join the Service Design Days.

During two days, they learned that human-centricity is key in nowadays business. They gained insight in how customer centricity has become the new business culture and how context is one of the most critical variables in service design. Moreover, they experienced that making people more important than processes generates value and not only can change customers’ behaviour but also can solve cultural problems. A summary of the keynotes, case studies and masterclasses is provided here.

The theme of the Service Design Days 2017 was ‘delivering value and being valuable’. More than ever organisations need to focus on people, whether they are citizens, customers or employees. Offering successful services starts with putting people and their experiences first, and rounds up with delivering innovative solutions that are tailored to people’s needs. Which is easier said than done. That is why the 10 masterclasses were all related to a specific value added aspect. The keynotes and case studies offered additional inspiration and food for thought.

The keynotes

Erik Roscam Abbing kicked off by explaining that valuable services are the ones that take the service context into account. Like a carpenter who doesn’t have just one tool for all his tasks, services can only be valuable if their context is known and they anticipate on the situation. Therefore, services have many different faces.

Erik questioned whether it is always necessary to move higher on the design management staircase. Why not stay where you are, and offer the best service you can? He explained the use of four perspectives that are relevant to all services: Customer, Organisation, Business and Society. “Integration of the four perspectives is key”, he said.

Henry Mason talked about consumers’ needs to be understood and served as an individual, as a person, across every touchpoint. He calls that the ‘segment of one’. The traditional market segmentation, used by many marketers and communications expert is no longer valid. Many businesses are harnessing new technologies to provide personalized services to their customers. Have a look at Expedia.

Knowing the needs of customers is important to serve them well and one-on-one. Henry stressed that it is important to think about what customers want next. As he said: “Don’t look at people, look at their innovations.”

He also touched upon the IoT and AI. Technology is becoming an integrated part of our lives and the lives of our customers. One of the trends Henry has spotted is A-commerce, automated commerce, the new E-commerce. Shoppers will look to hand over every element of the sourcing, bargaining, purchasing, tailoring and picking up of products and services.

Another trend he mentioned is ‘Virtual companions’: virtual personalities that have the power to entertain, educate and heal. They will make the leap from assistants to companions. Think about intelligent chatbots that are able to emotionally connect with people. Have a look at Woebot.

Anna Piperal from e-Estonia was invited to show the audience the possibilities (and risks) to become truly human centric by building a well-connected and fully protected digital service ecosystem around each individual. It is amazing that nowadays governments are frontrunners in servicing ‘customers’ digitally. How many companies inform their customers when, how and to what end they have used their data? How many companies can offer a truly customer-centric digital service ecosystem in which other suppliers and service providers work together seamlessly? How many companies have a 100% digital service process in which, for instance, a digital signature is accepted? A great talk that led us think about our own companies, the services we provide, and the service ecosystems we’re part of.

Jon Rogers held a mirror up to the audience. Our aim shouldn’t be ‘being as digital as possible because our customers want that’. We should think about the impact we have, and the risks of our digital services. What value do we want to offer? Are we honest and truly user-centric? Or, are we only offering information that ‘sells’, just like Facebook?

Jon showed an example of CloudPets; fluffy teddy bears connected to an app in which young users tell who they are. Data of half a million users were leaked, including intimate and personal voice recordings due to the lack of a proper security process. He concluded that it is your responsibility to take care of data protection, privacy and security if you realize how easily your users engage with your service.

Now that ‘voice’ becomes leading, companies need to think how to contribute to a smooth voice-enabled internet. To let us think about our role, Jon showed an inspiring video ‘Our friends electric’, made by Superflux.

Melis Senova gave an experience-rich talk about empathy and challenging yourself to find value and become more valuable. “When you are committed to be human-centred, there is no space for trade-offs between business and people” she said. Melis led us feel, literally, how it is to change your perspective, open your mind, and use your creative brain in the most challenging way.

Oscar García Pañella‏ ended the keynote session, talking about an underestimated part of service design: gamification. When we hear ‘gamification’ we might think about the fun part or offering rewards, but Oscar explained that gamification is about immersion, engagement, experience and motivation. He showed the downsides of ratings and reviews about services. And he focused on an important aspects of individual customers: their motivation. He advised to do research on customers’ motivators. Motivators stimulate people to change their behaviour. There are four universal motivators: Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (RAMP). In addition, in general, there are four type of ‘gamers’: killers, achievers, explorers and socializers; archetypes that are applicable to customers as well. Oscar also focused on the value of storytelling, using eight dynamics or pleasures.

The case studies

Randy Hunt talked about Etsy and the importance of being design-driven. In the past months he has been doing research on the value of design and being design-driven. “Design is more than it appears to be”, he said. During the fast growth of start-up Etsy, design was valued for several reasons, such as ‘brand design’, ‘user research’, ‘market research’ and ‘UX strategy’. But the value lies in the triangle Customer, Organisation and Practitioner.

Randy explained that it is important to create understanding of the contribution of design. Many internal stakeholders trust designers to do a good job and contribute to the success of a company, but they don’t fully understand the value. Defining design roles, tasks and output will improve that situation. “Start with defining: What do we want to measure?, and How will we measure that?” Randy said.

Saswati Saha Mitra and Joanna Brassett talked about the challenge many companies are facing: to become global but stay local. An Uber-case in Egypt showed the importance of connecting local knowledge and global context. Many companies have the ambition to offer the same service experience in each country. Uber changed its strategy based on local research, conducted by studio INTO, now adding local cultural elements to its service experience. Saswati: “That is why it is extremely important to do local research before entering a market”. She also explained that the learnings from the Egyptian market are actively shared with other Uber country teams, to learn, understand, and – if needed – adapt to another country.

Maarten Pieters gave a glimpse behind the curtains of co-creation inside Philips Lighting. He explained the meaning of co-creation: It’s the transparent process of value creation in consequent, productive collaboration with all relevant parties, with end-users playing a central role. He explained that it isn’t always easy to let customers – B2B and B2C – join forces with internal experts. They might not talk the same language (jargon), or think and work differently. Maarten shared ten barriers to co-create and concluded his talk with five actions how to overcome them.

Markus Klopfer explained how within Adidas value is closely linked with purpose. He showed that Adidas’ brand strategy started years ago with a focus on ‘Brand leadership’, but now has evolved into ‘Consumer centricity’. “Customer centricity is the new business culture”, he said. For that, an internal data & insights system needs to be in place that takes into account three pillars: process, language and tools. Or, in other words: a customer-centric creation process, an actionable and hero-centric story line, and immersive and community-focused touchpoints.

Marta Rey Babarro told the audience the story behind the Google design sprints. She went back to the internal Google situation from a few years ago. Marta explained the importance of doing UX research when building products to delight people. Inside Google, she supported colleagues in doing so. Teams that knew very little about user experience now became experts on it. That is how she came up with the idea of doing UX sprints by including everyone in the design process of products. That is how the Design Sprint Academy at Google was born; aiming to spread innovative ways of working, putting the user first, and including all roles of a product to envision how it will turn out. Marta: “Moments of messiness might be an opportunity to change. Start small, then big”.

Rogier van Est talked about the importance of human interaction for Starbucks. Services are made in the interaction between a Starbucks employee (partner) and the customer. He showed the instore customer journey in nine steps: Engage, Shop & Learn, Food, Interact, Coffee Theatre, Beverage Connection, Personalise, Sit & Stay and Exit. A well designed journey in which interaction and connection is key. Rogier also showed the Starbucks brand Retail Pyramid and the differences between store types, all based on the same brand experience, but with additional experiences.

Valeria Adani and Flaminia del Conte invited the audience to dive into the world of luxury fashion. An interesting world, in which the purchase process and experience is well defined and designed, but the after-sales process lacks a truly customer-centric approach. They showed who are involved in this after-sales process, and why it is important to work together, and apply the tools that are designed to offer an efficient and customer-centric service. Luxury fashion is all about the products, so brands need to move from just selling products to delivering holistic services.

Craig Cisero and Chiara Diana didn’t talk about a commercial brand. They shared with the audience their social design project with the American Red Cross. The IoT can bring life changing services to places where infrastructure and access is still limited. So in urban slums in Africa, connected heat sensors can reduce the frequency and devastation of shack fires in those slums. But research showed that the technology itself, installed at an individual level, did not provide enough value against the threat of shack fires. The project shifted direction towards the design of a service that could provide value at a community level (groups of 50-100 adjacent shacks), through a group of partners coming together to provide a multi-sided value proposition in a difficult environment. This ultimately became a challenging service design challenge that intersected community politics, social norms, free rider problems, and a complicated operational model.

The masterclasses

The masterclass ‘Innovation through systems thinking’ led by Anna Carlson and Ross Breadmore, was designed to equip attendees with a general appetite for systems thinking along with a single practical skill. The team used the Causal Loop Diagram (CLD), a visual representation of any given system. Each group decided on a problem. Starting by drawing all the nodes of the problem space, then drawing connections, and for each connection deciding on the direction (i.e. what causes what) and whether the direction is the same (i.e. as one increases the other increases) or opposite (i.e. as one increases the other decreases). Within a CLD you’ll notice highly connected nodes and interesting causal loops. These will provide the levers for change in your system and therefore good starting points for research and design.

During the intimate masterclass ‘Designing a design organisationKristin Skinner explained the participants what it takes to build and lead design teams. First the participants were asked to look at their own organisation and department. Then they were asked to draw the ideal situation, based on purpose, value, and capacity to deliver across the entire customer journey. Together they discussed and shared opinions on topics such as team structure, internal culture, centralised partnership, fresh thinking, diversity of perspective & background, design being the driving force, and other organisation design related topics.

During ‘Impact the World Isn’t Ready For’ led by Chirryl-Lee Ryan and Oli Shaw, participants had to think on their feet, under time pressure to decide how to pivot their design vision over and over again – just like in the real world, with no set design methods or templates to guide them. The outcome was the experience of using impact thinking and being part of an exponential impact sprint that anyone can immediately apply to their team or project.

Elena Marengoni and Chiara Diana led the masterclass ‘Designing for social impact’, focused on understanding the challenges of planning social impact projects. Starting with a role-play exercise, participants were divided in teams and were asked to act as a small design agency. They were given a fictional brief, built upon a real case study: following a step-by-step process guided by worksheets and activities, they were asked to come up with a design approach and project plan to redesign an mHealth service focused on nutrition and targeted at pregnant women, mothers and families in Tanzania.

In a social impact project, defining which stakeholders can play a key role in promoting/supporting the service and facilitating behaviour change is the first essential step. Secondly, they were encouraged to apply a user-centered approach and allocate some time for user research in their project plan, while also defining which methodologies to apply and which users to interview, based on their hypotheses around user relations. Finally, to create a common ground of shared knowledge with all of the stakeholders, the teams were asked to define which deliverables would best help the client organisation and its partners to keep learning. The masterclass allowed participants to familiarise themselves with the challenges of conducting work in the social impact, and to explore the importance of different roles within project teams.

The masterclass ‘Driving value in communication’ led by Philip Reitsperger and Joanna Brassett started with a marshmallow challenge. The master class dealt with the questions of how to process research and findings visually in order to implement change effectively. Participants explored the questions of how different project stakeholders cope with complex information with local and global outcomes.

The masterclass ‘People who care: how to design an emphatic organisation’ led by Mark Gatenby and Stefan Cantore, addressed the vital subject of empathy, a theme which was echoed in several of the keynote talks across the two days. The masterclass was distinctive in being shaped around a live design process in a UK health care organization, with participants being invited to shape the design brief and prototype through an evolving service ‘screenplay’. The key takeaways were to use storytelling to imagine the process of empathy in organisations, identify boundaries and resistance to user empathy, and use co-design as a tool for building an emphatic organisation.

The first part of the session involved warm-ups in pairs to allow the participants to experience different dimensions of empathy. The second part of the workshop introduced the main case study, a ‘prototype screenplay’ in three episodes. Video personas, visualisations and supporting documentation were given to teams to help them to build up a picture of the design challenge. The teams worked through service design questions, considering how to use design tools to enhance service-led empathy. The final part of the masterclass involved an entertaining form of speculative co-design through ‘enacting’ the screenplay.

“It takes a village…” These were some of the words with which the masterclass ‘Creating long-term holistic value’, led by Adam Salter and Harald Lamberts, kicked off. It reflects the essence of #SDDBCN 2017 which brought together like minded people from across the globe, looking to make a difference. And it really is going to take a village to help evolve how leaders, teams and organisations create long term, holistic value. The purpose of the masterclass was to inspire participants on how to be more deliberate in their approach to designing value beyond that of financial capital, such as human, social and creative capital. The solutions generated (designing an experience to help on-board new citizens) were truly compelling and something the masterclass leaders intend to share with municipalities going forward to ignite action.

Itziar Pobes Gamarra and Marc Garcia Fortuny taught the participants of the masterclass ‘Diving into service ecosystems: from strategic opportunities to concrete services’ how to develop new strategies and services beyond the boundaries of a single organisation. In small groups, participants experienced how to create service ideas that can reshape a service ecosystem. They learned how to change perspectives. Instead of thinking about competitors or client-supplier frameworks, they practiced how to use service ecosystems as a key tool to spot strategic opportunities, and tested the approach of co-create new services based on mutual value to improve a common service ecosystem.

The ‘Rethink Your Thinking’ masterclass, led by Joost Holthuis and Jonne Kuyt, started with the announcement of the Radical Service Design Club. A Club that is breaking the rules with traditional methodologies and approaches by going back to the core of what service design is about: Creating innovative services. This needs radical ideation. The masterclass was facilitating a 3 hours high energy, high pace workshop which helped the audience not only to create ground-breaking ideas but also drilling them down to solid digital innovations and business cases with clear revenue streams. The sometimes hilarious outcomes and results sparked the love for bringing radical ideas to life.

During the masterclass ‘How to solve big problems and test new ideas quicklyBurgan Shealy and Marta Rey Babarro trained the participants how to apply the five-phase framework that helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing. With the use of the Google Design Sprints they reached clearly defined goals and deliverables and gain key learnings. They deep dived into the specific processes and exercises Googlers use to create better products faster and more efficiently. At the end of the workshop, the participants felt equipped with knowledge and resources to drive hi-impact innovation on their teams and inside their organisation.

Images are made by the #SDDBCN participants and previously shared on Twitter or made by @pau.mira.