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What is Service Design?

We often get questions about what service design is and in which conditions the approach can be utilized. It is not the easiest question to answer in brief, but in this blog post, we discuss about the basics of service design.

Customer Centricity

You might be familiar with or have heard about design thinking before. Design thinking provides the foundational mindset and process for solving problems through empathy, ideation, and iteration. Service design applies these principles specifically to create and improve user and customer centered services.

Service design provides a customer-centric process for development work. It focuses on customer experience, on creating and improving services solutions and optimal experiences for both customers and users. Service Design involves understanding customer needs, designing efficient processes, and creating engaging interactions.

Service design is about understanding what customers are missing (without asking it), designing concepts, and ensuring everything runs smoothly when the service is implement. Whether it’s a mobile app, a coffee shop, or a healthcare system, service design helps make things more clear and helps to create value for everyone involved in the service.

Initiating Service Design

Design thinking is a way to team up, organize work, define, and solve challenges. When a company adopts design thinking, it often becomes a permanent way of operating rather than a quick fix, which is crucial for initiating a service design project.

A service design project can be initiated from an idea, operational challenges, strategic changes, or a feeling that something should be done without knowing why or how. Some common identified drivers for service design projects are:

  • Customer Insights: Gain and understand customer feedback, needs and pain points through research.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze market trends and identify opportunities for differentiation.
  • Business Goals: Align with strategic objectives to improve performance indicators.
  • Current Service Evaluation: Assess and gather feedback on existing services for improvement.
  • Technological Opportunities: Explore new technologies to enhance service efficiency and personalization.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Engage with stakeholders for diverse perspectives and co-creation.

Design Process

Service design is a collaborative approach to development work, where the project size, goals, and complexity of the problem shape the framework of the design process.

The design process typically involves several stages, such as discovery, definition, development and delivery. Iteration plays a critical role in this process by providing a structured method for continuous improvement.

Service Design often follows the four-stage double diamond model, which is a powerful model that helps to structure the design process. It aims to ensure that the final design is user-friendly, functional, and meets the needs of the user.

In the design process iteration involves a repetitive cycle of prototyping, testing, analyzing feedback, and refining the design accordingly. This iterative cycle is repeated until the design meets the desired criteria.

  • 0. Situation. Understand the project’s starting point. Its reasons, wishes and goals.

A design process must be enabled to benefit the organization. Amidst the rush, it’s important to assess how significant the identified problem is for the organization, and then focus on enabling the process: how time is allocated, how skills are developed as needed, and how the process is managed.

Service Designer

The work of a service designer often includes co-creation, customer research, workshops, facilitation, conceptualization and visualization.

Service Designers steer the design process and own it together with customers and their stakeholders. Service designers are often told to make clarity out of complexity, which describers the designers role quite well. Service Designers clarify communication and ideas among stakeholders and by facilitating collaboration and easier modifications and innovation.

Remember, the service design isn’t just for designers – it’s a compass for anyone navigating a development process!

Service design is based on understanding the purpose of the service, its demand, and the provider’s ability to deliver it. By using service design methods, we help your organization develop services tailored to the needs of your customers.