Merging Service Design with User Experience Design – Pt. 2: The Why

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An external agency that offers everything from strategy to finished solutions is imperative to help silo-based companies close the gaps in their development processes and deliver great user experiences.

Service design has taken a great leap forward during the last three years. As a direct result of a sudden and rapid development of new technology and self-service solutions as well as a strong trend in customer insight-driven development, digital disruptors have put many established companies in a vulnerable position. On the flip side, some companies have found themselves in a position where they can save great amounts of money and create more efficient processes.

Outside in, not inside in

As a result of previous, failed attempts to innovate based on quantified data in the internal development process of services and products, companies have finally realized that they need to understand the end user’s real needs and his or hers journey throughout the entire service in order to innovate, prioritize and make the correct improvements. The customer’s journey through the entire service equals the customer experience of the service.

”The customer’s journey through the entire service equals the CX of the service.” – @erikwesterdahl

An outside point of view is required for companies to avoid the internal politics and silo-isolated development process experienced in most large corporations. Many have therefore turned to external service design consultancies to advise them. Companies that have had previous, negative experiences in the handover process between different consulting agencies and/or internal departments have seen the benefits of collaborating with an agency that can guide them through the entire process from strategy to finished product or service.

The handover process

Today, there are a select, few agencies that offer services from strategy to solution. Service design can discover genuine customer needs through the entire process, but to build outstanding customer experiences in the digital field, most companies need the services of user experience designers and developers. Because of the growing service design market in a field of tough competition, many design agencies have suddenly started to offer service design packages as a part of their businesses. Designers have changed their titles overnight to ”Service Designer” or even ”Senior Service Designer”. Even though many design companies claim to offer both service design and user experience design as a part of their businesses, they still offer them as isolated projects that can cause problems in the handover process for their clients. They also generally don’t have the developers on hand, which creates an even more complicated transition where a lot of private information about the customers can get lost.

A partner from strategy to solution

Screen Interaction detected these issues and expanded into the area of service design with the ambition of merging it with their user experience designers and developers already on hand. Since then, several successful projects from strategy to final service or product have been developed in close cross-silo collaboration with the client. These are solutions that will soon be released to a new and demanding digital market.

The process of merging service design with user experience design and development is a challenging and ongoing process at Screen Interaction. In order to avoid the problems caused by the handover process the client needs to be challenged with a new type of collaboration project that stretches through a longer period of time and through the many different company-silos, a process that today can be difficult at larger companies.

In my next blog post, I’ll describe the differences and similarities between service design and user experience design and how they can work in symbiosis to generate exceptional services, products, business models and customer experiences.

// Erik Westerdahl
Digital Service Designer @ Screen Interaction

Merging Service Design with User Experience Design – Pt. 1: The Idea

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A new design process is required to meet human needs in a world of exponential technological growth and a constant increase in customer expectations.

The behavior of customers is changing fast as new products and services are being released to the market at an ever-accelerating pace. We’re becoming more and more digital in everyday life, and our expectations are constantly increasing. Mobile browsing is bypassing desktop computing, and omni-channel experiences are becoming a ”hygiene factor”. Big data is the new “black,” and the Internet of Things is on the verge of breakthrough. New services, connections and products that we could previously only dream about will be created and brought to market within the coming years. In the midst of all this, established companies are fighting hard to stay relevant with old products, services and business models. Companies that decided early on to follow the latest technology trends are suddenly stuck with old, silo-based solutions that are becoming obsolete and costly to maintain.

Digital disruption

Despite all of this, there’s a new generation of entrepreneurs who see the possibility to create better digital services and solutions. Not chiefly driven by an economical perspective, they feel the urge to satisfy human needs. A true incentive that creates a true need. These entrepreneurs create new economical structures and business models, and they take advantage of free online software and crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter to elicit the funding they require to turn their ideas into reality. This gives them unexpected power to threaten old markets. The phenomenon is called “digital disruption”, and this new generation of entrepreneurs is sometimes referred to as “digital disruptors”.

The main principles of digital disruption are nothing new; it’s about satisfying human needs and using technology to accomplish that. It’s not about technological innovations; digital disruption simply uses the technology already available to create innovations. The potential effects of digital disruption are interesting, because in the long run, it can become a form of “creative destruction”.

Creative destruction

Creative destruction is a hallmark of both capitalist and anarchist thought. It describes the ”process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.

Today, we can see several of these digital disruptors challenging the old markets, such as Spotify, AirBnb, Uber and Netflix. Long-standing companies are threatened by this quick development and can no longer afford long research and development processes (which usually, once started, can’t be altered or stopped because the result was predetermined.) This kind of process is not equivalent to innovation. There is, however, a design practice which can be applied to services, processes, business models and products in order to alter them and make them relevant again, and it’s called ”Design Thinking”.

Design Thinking

In this new digital market, it’s obvious that we need new processes to keep up. We need to combine holistic thinking with hands-on development to see the technology patterns and human needs in everyday life and quickly translate them into early concepts and prototypes for user testing and business development. Service Design and User Experience Design are a potent mix of both. Each of them has its drawbacks and advantages, but together they complement each other. A successful holistic thinking model that can combine these design processes into a new design process is called Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is an open-minded approach to any given multi-dimensional problem that uses innovative methods to solve existing challenges and create new solutions. In the coming series of blog posts, I will describe the development process of merging Service Design with User Experience Design using Design Thinking at Screen Interaction, creating a new design process for a world in constant change.

// Erik Westerdahl
Digital Service Designer @ Screen Interaction


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