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Service Design Global Conference take-aways #3

Service Design Global Conference take-aways #3

Flanders Inshape stuurde begin oktober drie coaches naar de Service Design Global Conference in New York om de nieuwste inzichten op het vlak van service design te capteren. We geven heel graag mee wat we van twee dagen boordevol keynotes en workshops hebben geleerd. Vandaag deel 3.

De takeaways van Brian Legein

5 things service designers can do that most organisations can’t

This years Service Design Global Conference proved to be an exiting event where more than 500 service designers from all over the world gathered to exchange the latest experiences and key findings on service design.
Although it was not explicetly stated, I found that the more than 100 leading service designers who spoke at the conference all in one way or antother tried to answer the following question: “What can design thinking do for non-design thinking organisations?” 

I analysed the most interesting, inspiring and practicable takeaways and present them to you in a framework that is based on the talk by Christian Bason, the CEO of the Danish Design Centre.

1. Challenging assumptions

Design thinkers ask you whether your decison making or future making is based on assumptions or on facts. They will help you to detect the aspects of your idea that you have to get right before you start to develop the new product or service, and defenitely, before you launch the new solution. In his presentation Christian Bason quotes Bolland & Collopy (2004): “A design attitude views each project as an opportunity for invention that includes a questioning of basic assumptions and a resolve to leave the world a better place than we found it.”. The most risky assumption of all, is whether we are solving a problem worth solving. As Christian Bason, points out: “we have made a shift from ‘which decision should I make’ to ‘what should I make a decision about’.”

2. Leveraging empathy, understanding users

Design thinkers ask you to be more empathic with the stakeholders in the ecosystem who you are creating value for. They ask you to get close, to get personal. Know what their problems worth solving are and gather deep insights in what causes their problem to happen.
Dr Nick de Leon, Royal College of Art, London: “You will get empathy if you find out what people really care about. What keeps them up at night. Not (only) by looking at a spreadsheet. You should bring the big data together with the little data.”
Jon Campbell, Continuum and Munib Karavdoc, AMP: “In the beginning of a product or service development project, we should build a customer case, instead of a business case. If we don’t do this we will build the product or service right, but we won’t build the right product. There will be a nice landing, but we will be at the wrong airport.”
Ken Savin, from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, illustrates this with a project in which design thinkers took the lead in solving the problem of non-adherence. “Adherence is the extend to which a patient’s behavior coincides with medical or heath advice. The design thinkers got a deep understanding in the multiple causes of non-adherence by listening closely to customers stories. They detected causes such as ‘feeling better so top taking the drug’, ‘feeling worse so stop taking the drug’, ‘dosen regimen is compicated and confusing’, ‘inability to afford medications’, … Only after this empathic phase, design thinkers will explore the solution space “

Xavi Cortadellas, Gatorade and Fort Tucker, Smart Design illustrate this principle with a project where they had to figure out what the next step would be for Gatorade, the famous sports drink company. “The obvious step would have been moving towards bars, etc. Instead of this they talked and observed their users in order to get deep insight in their unmet needs and desires. They found that despite the fact that every athlete is unique and athletes are seeking every competitive advantage through personalisation and specialisation; every athlete is still drinking the same sports drink. They asked themselves “what if we could customise the sports fuel for every athlete in the world?” This insight was the beginning of a whole new product range that is currently been implemented all over the world.”

3. Generating alternative scenarios

Design thinkers will invite you to open up the opportunity space, be open for crazy ideas. However this does not mean that a new product or service should be revolutionary. In fact most innovations, such as Amazon and Apple, are evolutionary. Design thinkers will ask you to create a portfolio of ideas, instead of pushing one idea. They manage the unmanageable. They have trust in the process: I don’t know where I am going but we will get there. We will lose control, but it is ok. It’s a positive loss of control.

In the example of trying to tackle non-adherence, Ken Savin, Lilly, states: “design thinkers understood really well that it would take more than one solution (customer support systems, show up with a spouse, …) to solve the problem because there are many reasons why people are not adherent. “

4. Making the future concrete

Design thinkers will help you to choose the best ideas and will make the future concrete. In this way, we will be able to test the minimum viable version of our solution. In these phases we will measure the Return on Learning (ROL) instead of the return on investment (ROI).

In the example of the customised sports drink, described by Xavi Cortadellas, Gatorade and Fort Tucker, Smart Design, the development team built a prototype and went out to test it as quickly as they could. They got a contract with the Brazilian national football team and developed specific sports fuel formulas for each player. By doing this they learned in real time what they should and should not do. There were lot of faults, of course, but the actual intend of the pilot was for it to fail. You will always see things that you never would have thought. The Brazilian players for example kicked the box that stacked the drinking bottles in order to activate the sports fuell. That insight was designed in the final product. Piloting is serendipituous, you will find stuff you weren’t even looking for. Furthermore, piloting can be a brand building activity, since customers want their brand to be innovative.

5. Insisting on value creation

Throughout this entire development process, design thinkers will ask you to focus on creating value. Not only for the end user, but also for all the stakeholders employees, shareholders, … This phase is crucial both because it will prove the impact design thinking has had on the organisation, and because, as Jon Campbell from Continuum states, “organisations underestimate their capability to generate new ideas and they overestimate their capabilities to implement them.”

For more information about how to design a product, service or experience customers will love, please contact Brian Legein.

Links to the presentations of quoted authors:

Design for Systemic Change: Towards a Design Society - Christian Bason, Danish Design Center

Design as a Key Tool in Product Development: A Perspective on Transformation in Pharma - Ken Savin, Eli Lilly

Videos of the keynotes at the Service Design Global Conference