4 July 2014

From the ServDes2014 conference: The five editor’s picks

Besides experience design, we consider ourselves part of the service design community. As the experience and service industries grow, expertise in service design has become increasingly relevant for us. Some of our knowledge, insights and competencies are derived when companies and practitioners collaborate with academia, and those results are shared. At an event such as ServDes2014 (9-11 April, Lancaster UK), relevant and interesting research information is presented, discussed and shared. We picked five papers from the conference proceedings that we felt are especially relevant.

From the conference site (servdes.org): “Service design is closely following a transformation from being a peripheral activity in a manufacturing-centered economy, to an engine for growth and society driven innovation. Starting from its initial focus on service interactions and experiences, Service design research and practice have entered more strategic and transformational roles, dealing with issues of organizational change, system design, sustainability and social change, amongst others.

Increasingly (…) questions are emerging on the future of service design, considering the growing areas of application and the expansion of the concept of service itself. ServDes2014: Service futures has brought these recent discussions and transformations to the fore and offered an ideal place to collectively reflect on and imagine that future.

The conference attracted 175 participants from 24 nationalities, of which 60 percent were academics and 40 percent were practitioners.”

These are our picks.

Accessible self-service: A driver for innovation in service design? (Jenny S. Darzentas and John Darzentas)

ABSTRACT: “Increasingly, services are being delivered via self-services technologies, where customers interact with technology, rather than the service provider. If the technology is not accessible, these self-services are unusable. Frustration and dissatisfaction make vulnerable customers abandon tasks or refuse to use these services. This paper takes the view that such cases should not be regarded as unfortunate or irrecoverable situations, but as opportunities for inspiring new types of services, including hybrid ‘technology/person based’ ones. Such thinking moves beyond user interface and ergonomic design approaches for designing self-service technologies, to designing ‘smarter services’, supporting customers in their use of self-service technologies, as well as better quality access to people-delivered services. Paradoxically, the latter services, involving organizing visits to physical locations, present greater barriers for vulnerable customers. We argue that there is potential for greater engagement in the co-creation of services that, although inspired by vulnerable stakeholders, can be of value to all.”

Full paper (.pdf)

Design legacies: Why service designers are not able to embed design in the organization (Sabine Junginger)

ABSTRACT: “Much talk about service design has focused on how to bring design practices, design thinking and design methods into an organization in order to transform or change the way it is going about business. There is only one thing that researchers and practitioners have overlooked: Design principles, methods and practices are already deeply embedded in organizations. That is, in fact, the real problem: Organizations are full of design legacies, however flawed and poorly suited. If service designers want to effect real change in real organizations, they have to be able to articulate these organizational design practices. This paper explains the concept of design legacies and describes three elements of organizational design legacies: organizational purpose, organizational design approaches and organizational design practices. Using a matrix developed around designing for, with and by, the paper explains how we can make sense of existing organizational design practices.”

Full paper (.pdf)

Incorporating the customer experience along different iterative cycles of service design (Teresa Sarmento and Lia Patricio)

ABSTRACT: “The creative transition from understanding the customer experience to defining the service solution, from current situation to preferred future, is central to Service Design. However, the incorporation of customer experience factors can change along the different iterative cycles of service design. To address this challenge, this paper presents the results of a study of how the path of customer experience was followed, studied and incorporated along a mobile service development. Three iterative Service Design cycles enabled a holistic vision of the service and raised ‘customer experience’ awareness on the development team. (…). The research work contributes to Service Design by providing a global vision of the experiential changes, especially in mobile and technology based services. It describes the reframed situations working with experiences at each cycle of design, and making use of service design tools and methods at each moment.”

Full paper (.pdf)

The future of the Service Design category: Authentic adaptation as a way out? (Eva Kirchberger and Mark T. Kennedy)

ABSTRACT: “Service design as a new market category has emerged quite rapidly since the first pioneers (…) started offering service design commercially and claimed the label. Since then, a service design field has developed, which features institutions such as the Service Design Network, Master courses at universities, and academic conferences. Recently, the success of service design attracts management consultancies, which include service design as part of their core offering. This represents a challenge for the pioneers, as modifications of the practice might lead to ambiguous meanings and hence the category as a whole can suffer from devaluation by audiences. As a consequence, the entire category is likely to turn into a fad. In order to prevent this from happening, pioneers have several strategic options at their disposal. In the following, we propose a research design, which suggests the theory of ‘Authentic Adaptation’, pioneers might react in drawing from their heritage, while also adapting to the new context.”

Full paper (.pdf)

Customer journeys: Involving customers and internal resources in the design and management of services (Asbjørn Følstad, Knut Kvale, and Ragnhild Halvorsrud)

ABSTRACT: “The customer journey approach is increasingly being taken up by practitioners and researchers to support the design and management of services. As part of this approach, customers and internal resources are often involved as contributors of input in design and management processes. In the current literature on customer journeys, a broad variety of involvement practices has emerged. No coherent framework has been proposed to structure these practices. In this short paper, we provide an overview of the different purposes and implementations of emerging involvement practices with the customer journey approach. We then contribute a simple framework for these practices, where we classify involvement according to its purpose, implementation, and output. Finally, we point out future research needed to further develop the ways customers and internal resources are involved within the customer journey approach.”

Full paper (.pdf)

Full proceedings of ServDes2014 (.pdf)

Customer journey (11), Events (31), Service design (41), Touchpoints (3)