“This year, we not only explore deeper clarity as to the definition of Service Design but take a step back and evaluate what differentiates Service Design, areas of priority, and aspects that remain continuous across all avenues of HCD, human-centered design.”
“While the focus will be the native principles of Service Design—backstage players, service strategy, blueprinting, co-creation, customer centricity—we also acknowledge a singular definition may not be appropriate as the market transforms.”
“The more interesting pieces of Service Design include the narrative as organizations evolve in the experience economy, heavily reflected in our theme: Vision to Transformation.”
“From first hearing about this “HCD thing” to garnering buy-in and quick wins, scaling, getting C-Suite support, redesigning services & infrastructure, and design transformation all the way to the goal of futures design.”
Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2019.
Desing & Innovation Advisory Board.
Thankful and proud to be part of the Design & Innovation Board, a think tank supporting the following conference series: Design Thinking, Digital Product by Design, Experience Design and Service Design, which have become premiere events for those passionate about know-how sharing, quality design and networking.
Early small success or lengthier big bang?
Service Design 2019 took place this week in Chicago. I facilitated a session on how to spot design intervention opportunities for the purpose of lining up early wins as proof points that demonstrate the value of good design.
See my faciliation deck above in the embeded SlideShare. Note that the visuals are not necessarily self-explanatory. They were crafted as the backdrop for our discussions.
In any case, I am happy to re-engage to further discuss. Please feel free to follow up on LinkedIn. We can schedule calls or just meet if we happen to be in the same area.
We explored how to scout and identify opportunities for early-small-wins, and how to purposely convert those into success stories: tactical building blocks that generate traction and momentum across organizations. That is also known as the “string of small pearls” strategy.
The end goal is to roll them up to build the case for Service Design. Each one alone might not be significant enough to suffice. But, in aggregate, they define a pattern that would amount to compelling evidence.
The chain reaction can activate a larger movement down the road. This is an agile and scalable path, which is different from confronting a “big bang” approach from the get go.
Scenario planning around how the “string of small pearls” and the “big bang” would play out (and which one applies) takes an understanding of market conditions, sought-after outcomes, resource levels, organizational behaviors and strategic thinking.
Let’s follow up.
Once again, thanks to those of you joining and actively participating in my session. I am also grateful for all of the positive and encouraging feedback that followed, which keeps one motivated to be further involved.
I would also take this chance to acknowledge the hallway discussions and this week’s messages over LinkedIn, which I will take the time to address as soon as possible.
Design and Innovation.
Marisa White, Principal Analyst for Design & Innovation, kicked off the conference by making us think about the degree to which “design” has become the new word for “innovation.”
That thought also leads to the difference between incremental and breakthrough innovations. The former delivers a performance improvement that is anchored by a known paradigm and benchmark, e.g. something just got significantly better.
The later entails a game-changing paradigm brought about by true new capabilities, e.g. “I-didn’t-know-I-could-do-that.” Good design can evoke either or both effects.
Raising beyond customer satisfaction.
In any case, as Vince Kadlubek, Meow Wolf CEO, put it in his thought provoking keynote, there is a need for exploring experiences that go from…
… (a) the expected “satisfaction” level that comes from dealing with “the familiar” and by operating whthin one’s comfort zone, core competency, or under what you would come to expect…
… to superior satisfaction surfacing as (b) the sort of “delight” that participatory empowerment, personalization, excitement, and going beyond the obvious deliver while invoking the unexpected.
Surprise-factors (or X-factors) and purposeful “wow-effects” happen to be part of the design mix in the appropriate size and context. Emotional Intelligence (affectivity value, behavioral response and engagement levels being some examples) becomes part of the basket of things making Human Centered Design different from other professional disciplines also involved in design matters.
This is not an endorsement of the capricious, smoke-&-mirrors, whimsical, vaporware, hype, bells and whistles, and/or pretentious shiny objects… but the realization that effective design integrates cognition and emotion to better serve, engage and delight.
Last but not least, there is a need for acknowledging the long road, good work and efforts of the Service Design 2019 team for what turned out to be an excellent conference. Thanks again to: Marisa White, Principal Analyst; Max Ribitzky, VP Partnerships; Aubrey Wells, Partnerships Director; Montana Byrd, Senior Event Coordinator; Michael Mechaly, Audience Development Manager; and Regina Vargas, Marketing Associate.
Exploring Other Methods. November 7, 4:00 PM Understanding How Design Thinking, Lean and Agile Play within Service Design.
“Since service design serves as the umbrella discipline for delivering service experiences, there are many sub methods to address different types of problems. For example, Design Thinking is helpful on the front end to empathize and identify customer needs where Agile is helpful in software development and digital experience design. This group explores well-known methods and how they play a role in the service design universe.”
I’m back in Chicago and I would first like to thank everyone who joined my session about “Exploring Other Methods” for your participation (full house) and encouraging feedback. I hope to cross paths again in the near future. In the meantime, we can take advantage of LinkedIn to stay in touch. I would also like to express my gratitude to Michael DeJager and Tyler Peterson for all of their tireless help.
Here are the links for a couple of the items that I briefly discussed when providing context for Exploring Other Methods: a photo album of where I work, Nokia’s Chicago Technology Center, and the first version of the Human Factors Engineering Manifesto. Regarding requests about the slideware for my talk… I ran an interactive whiteboarding session with my iPad connected to the projector and I did not produce formal slides.
The discussion’s narrative was centered on how to best approach HSM, Human-Machine-Systems, to craft a compelling Service Experience. In that context, “Human” refers to relevant stakeholders and “Machine” to any technology involved. The “Systems” approach prompts a holistic undertaking which includes Front Stage, Back Stage factors and the continuum across the too.
Service Design is about innovation, whether capability-wise that qualifies as incremental, breakthrough and/or disruptive innovation. Today’s Service Design also entails a wide range of low and high-tech at any point in the process. While this is just anecdotal evidence, when I asked everyone about who can do away without any technology, there was an implicit understanding of the rhetorical nature of my question and, therefore, the obvious pervasiveness of digital experiences.
We are a technological society. Good design is concerned with human factors and crafts technological solutions to enable human experiences that contribute to our quality of life and the quality of the work we do. That is Human Factors Engineering (HFE) reason for being, a field pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs in 1947.
From that perspective, it pays to intertwine any relevant practices and tools for the healthy purpose of figuring out what combination works best for any given Service Design project. While process repeatability is a desired outcome, what makes an interdisciplinary team smart is the ability to mix, match and blend what’s needed for each undertaking.
We can think of it as an a-la-carte menu featuring elements from Design Thinking, Agile and Lean methodologies just to name a popular handful to start with. I did not discuss some other such as Concept of Operations, Goal Directed Design or Outcome Driven Innovation, but I do recommend expanding one’s horizons beyond the aforementioned few. Note that while featuring commonalities, each one works with different optics. A holistic approach to Service Design also requires a composite method, leveraging as much (or as little) as needed from any, and with any needed adaptations.
Rather than summarizing what I shared at Service Design Week, I’m taking this chance to further reflect on those insights. So, given that we operate in highly dynamic environments, why wouldn’t designers also apply dynamic methodologies?
I’d like to think twice about cookie-cutter and one-size-fits-all approaches because Service Design typically prompts problems and opportunities where fixed-gear-techniques that might have worked well in the past can end up betraying one’s confidence: they might no longer serve or be the best fit whichever purpose they were originally conceived for. Design typically takes us beyond our comfort level, and that makes it an exciting profession.
Statistically speaking, the more one does the very same thing, the closer one gets to mastering that craft (e.g. deliberate practice model). But, paradoxically, you also get closer and closer to confronting environmental deviations, anomalies and rare events in an ever-changing world with even-growing moving parts and targets (e.g. black swan model). Besides, Service Design practitioners shouldn’t deny themselves the benefits that come with continuous improvement. So, here is a quick recap: innovation in Service Design’s outcomes and method innovation go hand by hand. As Einstein put it:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
“The 21st century human factors organization touches so much more than the usability or ergonomics of a product, playing an integral role as the human-centered umbrella connecting the many facets of product and experience design. How is the human factors function creating a fertile environment for the human experience leveraging design thinking and other methodologies?”
Speaking session on April 25. Focus on Human Factors Engineering: Advancing the Human Factors Manifesto through Design Thinking, Agile and Lean. Design Thinking 2017.
In what way do you believe Design Thinking has made the biggest impact in your human factors work at Nokia?
Your question makes me think of a recent conversation with my daughter who is in junior high. She walked me through a school project asking her to pin point and discuss outstanding differences between her day-to-day life and her grandparent’s experiences when they were her same age.
She talked to my parents and diligently outlined a long list of things that we happen to take for granted today: some fairly simple, some quite sophisticated and far reaching… all innovations on their own right at a given point of time. So, I couldn’t help sharing with her samples of work pioneered by Nokia back in 1947 when Bell Labs set up the first Human Factors Engineering department in the American industry.
I must confess that I also conveyed to her the kind of pride that comes from embracing Human Factors as a discipline and belonging to an organization that has made a difference for the past 70 years. I let her know that we measure HFE’s project results based on outcomes that have a positive impact in either our lifestyles and work practices and that I account for both goals set by design and also unexpected effects that surface over time.
We are talking about user friendly systems optimized for ease of use, effortless operability and, first and foremost, for any of us to better interact with each other in context whether we happen to be present in physical, virtual or hybrid environments. We all leverage devices, tools and process at our disposal… which we sometimes modify and adapt or just create new ones. Note that all of this also means fostering our diversity, cultural values and collective well-being.
Nokia’s vision zeroes in on the human possibilities of a broadly connected world, jointly with a path forward that is sustainable and continuously optimized. This entails a firm belief on the value of humanizing a new wave of emerging technologies and the notion of transparent infrastructure that become pervasive and ubiquitous everywhere: 5G, cloud systems and the Internet of Things being some examples.
Human Factors’ multi-disciplinary approach is driven by putting people first and understanding and shaping technology as the means to an end (instead of just expecting users to conform to capricious implementations that show disregard for elegant sophistication and ease of consumability and overall use. Therefore, Design Thinking’s dynamic research approach equips our team with what I call “rigorous plasticity” – this being my flavor of a methodology driving (a) a user centered mindset and (b) a workstyle densely packed with the type of serial ingenuity that makes HFE a source of innovation and differentiation.
Design Thinking is clearly applicable in solving complex problems and catalyzing creative thinking. How do you feel Design Thinking has transformed the overarching human factors engineering organization?
At Nokia’s Lean Ops Program we apply Design Thinking to projects characterized by large scale end-to-end systems integration. We work with leading edge technologies to address network operations in the telecommunications sector, which happen to be among the most complex, distributed and multi-layered systems across industries.
We are conscious of the fact that the source problem statement and point of view that we start a project with might not necessarily be the ones that best solve and deliver breakthrough innovations at the back end.
In essence, multidisciplinary “co-creation” and “early induced pivoting” in the research and ideation processes make Design Thinking’s iterative and adaptive flow a solution driven engine. My experience is that it also creates what’s known as a backlog of “real options” in innovation management, while augmenting development capacity and overall solution quality.
How have you gone about blending design thinking, agile transformation and lean start-up methodologies in your human factors organization? There are certain similarities to each mindset, but how do you resolve discrepancies?
This can be best addressed by means of an example: our team doesn’t focus on Lean Startup’s Minimum Viable Products (MVP) as such since we place the emphasis on the greater value that comes from addressing the whole, this being a conventional Lean principle. Our language embraces the early generation of Minimum Viable Solutions (MVS) instead and in sync with Design Thinking’s holistic approach to an optimum user experience through the solution’s shelf life.
This mindset shift is not just about semantics. Note that it accounts for the sheer size, scale and scope of the end -to-end systems we work with in the Lean Ops program. Moreover, it factors solution lifecycle’s requirements because consumability is expected to evolve over time.
Let’s keep in mind that the high-tech sector is characterized by a rapid succession of technologies and alternative approaches often abound. Add to that the fact that the telecommunications industry is capital intensive and competitiveness relies on sizeable investments in long term projects… and in fast changing markets. Therefore, Design Thinking is of assistance with work on future proofing solutions as we work with end goals in mind, including repurposing and recycling at the solution’s end of viable life.
What value do you believe IQPC’s Design Thinking 2017 will deliver to experienced practitioners like yourself?
I’d like to first thank IQPC for engaging me as a member of the event’s Advisory Board early on, and for the invitation to discuss some of the work that we do at Nokia Applications & Analytics Group in the area of Human Factors at our Cloud Innovation Center.
Design Thinking 2017 has been structured to enable formal and ad-hoc opportunities for any of us to exchange insights, practices and experiences in an open, approachable and engaging forum. This reflects the pluri-disciplinary and diverse nature of the work that we all do, which sets Design Thinking practitioners apart from conventional silos and rigid frameworks.
Design Thinking is a soft methodology that explicitly calls for consistently going beyond our comfort zone so that ingenuity’s X-Factor comes to the surface and makes a difference project after project. With that in mind, the event’s agenda and speaker roster transpires the courage that it takes to approach each single project as a new endeavor worth diving into, and to do so in the midst of ambiguity, uncertainty and changing conditions while counting on Design Thinking as a serial innovation practice.
First published by the International Productivity and Quality Center, IPQC.