n an age of increasingly portable and ubiquitous content, digital products have been liberated from the notion of place. As Peter Morville has written, the lines between product and service have blurred to create multi-channel, cross-platform, trans-media, physico-digital experiences. For marketers, it’s becoming less effective to think about a “drive to”, and for designers it’s not enough to simply design for discreet channels and platforms. People are starting to use products and information in uniquely individual ways. And as products evolve into larger ecosystems, they become systems of services.
So how do we design for such spaces? How do we get to a strategy for facilitating the best customer experience at the right time and in the right place and on the right channel? And why is this a good thing? How can we grow a service ecosystem in a way that makes sense for customers as well as business?
Storytelling, as a framework for both strategy and design, is one way to get there. In a world of personalized experiences, we need to begin thinking about multi-strand narratives involving the integration of a digital product in the context of everyday life. Storytelling, used this way, becomes the bridge between the data (flow of information) and the customer interaction (across multiple touchpoints). It can inform “the what” as well as “the how” of product and service design. It helps us coordinate larger, multi-disciplinary teams. And, most important, it helps us build better more personally relevant products and services.