The focus of service design: efficient operations
The good news: Service Design is a discipline that helps with managing complexity. As forward-thinking businesses embark on transformation, many are turning to this approach to help them envision their future.
In my view, the biggest opportunity that service design offers (you can find more about it here) is in exposing and clarifying the unseen inefficiencies in business transformation initiatives. It then draws connections (or lack thereof) between these inefficiencies, customer needs, and employee capabilities.
In recent years, business leaders have undertaken certain design initiatives hoping to improve the experiences of end customers or users. Yet often their efforts only affect the interface between business and customer. Their attempts don't bring about real change or improve the experience because they haven't altered the underlying business, processes, and systems. A slick user interaction simply can't do much to make a 30-year-old tech platform work better or improve a painfully inefficient back-office process.
The appeal of service design is that it gets to the heart of the matter. It builds on the work of process analysts and subject-matter experts to provide a creative and adaptive perspective. It overlaps and complements disciplines such as Lean Six Sigma, helping leaders better understand, communicate, and develop the future of their enterprises.
As well, it forms a dynamic, multi-threaded response to complexity by applying a wide set of tools and capabilities in the following ways:
- Service design helps leaders articulate an experience strategy that aligns people and organizations: Businesses rarely formulate an experience strategy – one based on their corporate strategy – that they communicate to their customers or workers. Using service design to express an experience strategy offers a massive opportunity to align internal teams and communicate transparency. Most importantly, it's also a way of engaging the people who can champion change and transformation.
- Service design derives analytics from data and turns the analytics into insights for measurable actions: An experience strategy is one tool. Another is a service blueprint that communicates the connections between customers, employees, processes, and systems. This blueprint can help companies make sense out of the mounds of otherwise often impenetrable data they collect.
- Service design reveals ways of using machine learning and automation to help people on the job: The best technology makes life easier. Yet most discussion about automation and AI incorrectly focuses on the displacement of humans. The fact is, tools that do things faster and more accurately make people capable of so much more – and that's a vision everyone can get behind.