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Supplement sd guardian design innovation in the public and private sectors 15.03.10

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In the competitive world of business, …

In the competitive world of business,
what separates an industry’s players
is often the service that comes with
the product offering – the customer
experience. Quality of service
determines whether a customer will be
loyal, or leave

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  • 1. 12aService design15.03.10 Media Guardian Design innovation in the public and private sectors | guardian.co.uk/service-designCommunity in, commodity outBusinesses and public services alike face huge change in the new information era. Theyneed to shift their emphasis back – to what people really want, says Gaynor AaltonenIntroductionAndnow,theshippingforecast …” Despitea worldwide finan-cialcrisisthathittheshipping industryparticularly hard,last year the ship-ping arm of Swe-den’s Meteorological and HydrologicalInstitute (SMHI) saw its income suddenlyleap by 20%, a sum which will probablyrise to 45% by the end of 2010.It is a complex story, involving a Swed-ishgovernmentinnovationgrant,ayoungdesigner named Andrea de Angelis, andsomething quite new – service design.The pundits argue that we are not justliving through a time of great change butmovingintoanentirelyneweconomicera.Whereas an industrial economy focuseson physical things, such as a car or a light-bulb, we are about to enter the age of theinformation economy – a post-industrialeconomybasednolongersolelyonmanu-facturingbutmoreonknowledge,serviceand information industries. Businessescan best exploit this new economy bydeveloping new services and expandingbrand loyalty still further than today. Theconceptual challenges are complex andinclude the integration of the physicaland the virtual worlds, as well as a desireto live more sustainably.Itispartlytheexpansionoftheinternetthat has prompted this explosion in serv-iceinnovation.Onthenetitiseasytocom-pare services and products and to voicedissatis­faction. Companies have beenpressured to shift focus. Rapid erosion oftechnicaladvantageinafierceglobalmar-ketplace has also had its effect: expensivenew technologies and fancy new con-sumer products will still be dreamed up,butwithemphasisonpleasingcustomersand stamping their loyalty to a brand forlife. People are becoming far less inter-ested in “stuff” alone – products or com-modities – and far more interested in anall-embracing experience as they inter-act with a product or service. Owning aniPhone,forinstance,isjustthebeginning:it’s what you can do with it – the “apps”– that matter.David Kester, chief executive of theDesign Council, chooses Apple to illus-trate the point. “Why Apple? Because acompany like that epitomises great inno-vation. And yet they are not a company ofinventors.Theywerethefirstcompanytotakeauserinterfaceoramousetomarket,buttheydidn’tinventthosethings–Xeroxdid. Technology is just ideas. Design isabouttakingthoseideasandmakingthemworkforpeople.Appleplaceddesignrightat the heart of the business — and then re-inventedthemusicindustry.Theymaybeabout to do the same with books, and theiPad. With Apple, the product becomesemblematic of a system and a service.”Whileproductdesignexistsintherealmof tangible objects, service design dealswith the intangible and the conceptual:advice, music and maps at our fingertips.And, increasingly, designers are beingasked to identify service improvementin the public sector. An important factorhere is the way that, at its best, the designprocess involves taking a problem apart,as if it has never been looked at before.LondonTransport’sOystercard,althoughfirstdevelopedtofightfraud,hasbecomea much more convenient and speedy wayto travel. The NHS’s innovation unit hasused service design to improve clinicalprocesses. Innovation can happen any-where, in any public or business sphere,from improving post-diagnostic servicesforpeoplewithmultiplesclerosistobettercommunity strategies for the police.User engagement“Service design involves a high level ofuserengagement,whichiswhatweneed,”says Matthew Taylor, chief executive ofthe Royal Society for the Encouragementof Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.“I like the idea of bringing those designprinciplestopublicservices.Gooddesignprocessbringsinagoodunderstandingofthe context: financial constraints, proc-esses and how human beings behave.”Extraordinary examples of servicedesign are cropping up everywhere. Andnot just in the UK. In the Netherlands,service design agency DesignThinkerswas commissioned by the Dutch gov-ernment to work on a national brandingprogramme. In Korea, US design groupContinuum finds that its Seoul office hasonein10projectsgearedtoservicedesign,particularly in retail.Sowheredidthestorystart?Theanswerlieswithconsumers.YoungmihnKim,co-founder of Continuum Korea, says: “Thebasic needs of consumers — speed, con-venience, choice, cost — are already met.People demand more.”Fast food company Mcdonald’s isjust one example of a company underintense and often hostile scrutiny thathas had to use the close customer under-standing and fast prototyping typical ofservice design to transform itself. It hasreally embraced the practice, explainssenior vice-president of brand strategyat McDonald’s Europe Pierre Woreczeck,becauseithadto.“InFrance,inparticular,we faced strong debate around globalisa-tion. The decision was to work very hardto improve integration.”Similarly Virgin Atlantic faces hugecompetitive consumer pressures in itsindustry. The company’s head of design,Joe Ferry, says: “This is just the tip of theicebergintermsofservicedesign’spoten-tial.It’slikedesigngenerally:10or20yearsagoitwasseenasanadd-on.Andnowlookat companies like Apple and Dyson: theirentire company is built on the ethos ofgooddesign.Ithinkthatwillhappenwithservice design.”So,whatoftheshippingforecast?Whilemarinersstruggledeventonavigatebeforethe invention of the astrolabe, todaythey have access to extraordinary levelsof information. After Andrea de Angelisintroduced the idea of service design toSMHI, he developed an integrated webservice which allows ship owners to keeptrack of an entire fleet, in real time. Theycan also keep watch on their ships’ speedand environmental performance com-pared to their last voyage (read more onpg 9.) The system helps choose the saf-est route to take, depending on the spe-cific ship, the value of its cargo, and theweather conditions. Now, that’s servicefor you. Design thinking is the ability to thinkof something that the world didn’tknow was useful – it makes people’slives better in some wayDan Pink on 21st-century business, page 2Inside02 What is service design?How creative design principles arechanging the world of work03 Public sectorCan designers’ ingenious problem-solvingmethods rejuvenate public services?04 Banking industryDesign consultancy and intense customerresearch is turning the banks upside down05 Car industryThe automobile is undergoing a completerethink, as innovation links to sustainability06 Community/The green issueInteractive research techniques arefostering social change07 EducationAre design schools offering the flexible,multi-disciplinary training required?08-09 New business imperativesCompanies are tuning into what customerstruly want – with surprising results10 Client consultationHow can brands revitalise the way they areperceived and rated by consumers?Commissioning editor Gaynor AaltonenEditorial: 020-3353 3934/4189Produced by Guardian Creative forGuardian Professional, a commercialdivision of Guardian News and Media,to a brief agreed with Service DesignNetwork. Paid for by Service DesignNetwork. All editorial contentcommissioned by the GuardianContact David Clayton on 020-3353 2286For information on supplementsvisit:guardian.co.uk/supp-guidelinesIn association with ServiceDesign Network‘The basic needs ofconsumers – speed,convenience, choice,cost – are already met.People demand more’Experience mattersIn the competitive world of business,what separates an industry’s playersis often the service that comes withthe product offering – the customerexperience. Quality of servicedetermines whether a customer will beloyal, or leave.Service design is a relatively newdiscipline that asks some fundamentalquestions: what should the customerexperience be like? What should theemployee experience be like? Howdoes a company remain true to itsbrand, to its core business assets andstay relevant to customers?Design is a highly pragmaticdiscipline. That is why it is of suchinterest to business: it gets results.But if at its heart lies the idea ofexperience, then, as this supplementshows, the methods and ideas behindservice design can equally be appliedto the public sector. We reveal howservice methods can help designexperiences that are more efficient andmore effective.We also take a look at developmentsin sustainability for transport and watersystems, as well as at changes in thevoluntary sector, where the question:“Can design help change the world?” isincreasingly gaining relevance.Gaynor AaltonenThe Service Design Conference 2010 willtake place in Berlin from 13-14 October2010. For further information go to service-design-network.orgThis supplement is supported byillustration:JamesTaylor/DebutArt,images:Alamy
  • 2. 2 The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design What is service design?In celebration of ‘silent designers’To stay ahead in the worldof commerce, or stayrelevant in the world ofgovernment, 21st-centurymanagers know theyneed to keep a connectedsupply of innovative ideasflowing at every level oftheir enterprise. In product-focusedorganisations, innovation managementis relatively simple. It generally happensin dedicated research and developmentteams. Managing innovation in serviceorganisations is more slippery, becausethe important innovation that createsreal value is found all over the place — atall the different points where employeesinteract with customers, users andinternal stakeholders. Think about a social worker repeatedlyvisiting a foster child, or a private bankerconstantly discussing investmentopportunities with clients. Over time,the service provided is adapted to fitthe changing needs of that child, or thatinvestor, and the improving skills of thesocial worker or banker. This type of incremental innovationis equally applicable to mass services,such as call centre support, or internalservices, such as IT provision within abusiness, and it explains why the qualityof a company’s service innovation isbroadly connected to the quality ofits staff.This means that, to an extent,everyone working in a serviceorganisation can be said to be responsiblefor research and development and atleast partly responsible for the designof the organisation’s services — eventhough most of them would not everthink of themselves as designers. Ina 1987 research paper, Peter Gorb andAngela Dumas of the London BusinessSchool described these people assilent designers.Through my work with many differenttypes of service organisations, I havefound that these silent designersfrequently find it difficult to act on theirideas. It can be hard to connect theirideas to parts of the service beyond theireveryday roles and responsibilities. A powerful solution to this challengeis to introduce them to the fundamentalsbehind design practice – and to tie theseapproaches into how they work onimproving their service.These design-led methods that canbe useful within the intangible world ofservices include techniques to creativelyexplore ideas through customer or userresearch; visualisation methods thatdesigners use to express ideas; and quick,low-risk prototypes that help them learnabout the best way forward throughhands-on experimentation.For managers, this means encouragingeveryone in the service organisation tothink like designers, and to blend thiswith their specific experience and skills tomake them more confident in exploring,expressing and exploiting ideas.In other words, design thinking canhelp silent designers find their voices,as a voice coach might. The singing part,however, is quite a different matter.Nick Marsh is a senior practice consultant atEMC Consulting. He writes a personal blog,choosenick.com, organises free networkingevents and talks on service design. Forfurther information: servicedesigning.orgDo-it-yourself design: creative principles are helping staff implement change Nick MarshQ&A Business thinking in the knowledge economyConsumerism is on the wane. What peoplewant now is convenience, a low-carbonfootprint and life experiences – from“holidays” saving the albatross to learningthe guitar on your mobile phone. Thepost-industrial race to provide all that ison. Gaynor Aaltonen asks US businesswriter Dan Pink, author of A Whole NewMind and Drive, about the 21st-centurygold rush.Are businesses doing enough to re-thinkthe idea of services?Definitely not. Economies right noware fundamentally becoming lessabout physical objects and more aboutcreating ideas and experiences. Theway we produce consumer durables at ashockingly low price means that societyis at saturation point with “things” –particularly in America, a country witha 13% poverty rate, where 99% ofhouseholds have a colour television set.Building up new concepts of service willbe profoundly important to businessesin this century, but as an idea it is stillin its nascent stages. We now have anew challenge: we have to meet a newemphasis on improving experiencesinstead of objects, and we need toimprove the flow of interactions betweencustomers and service providers.Is that a purely technology-driven process?Not really, although technology is ofteninvolved. This is where design thinkingcomes in. Following up a 46-inchscreen with a 48-inch screen isn’treally innovative. Developing ways forprogrammes to be watched online is – itgives you a new way to deliver TV. The bigstory in the US is Hulu.com, a free servicethat puts hit TV shows online, deliveringthem straight to your home computer.Is the human element missing frommany services?We still have some way to go when itcomes to understanding consumersand constructing services around them.Any designer will tell you that the mostimportant thing in design is empathy:the ability to understand something fromthe other person’s perspective. Designwithout empathy is mediocre design.And in the new knowledge economy,that applies to commercial services, too –much more than businesses realise.What has to change?Business thinking has to become aform of design thinking. As a businessstrategy, prototyping ideas reallyfast – and throwing away what doesn’tpractically work – is becoming reallyimportant. Mastering narrative is alsohugely important: look at Apple’s SteveJobs and the way he manages to createa media circus out of a simple productannouncement. The way business traininghas gone, especially when it comes toMBA programmes, is way too far on theanalytical, quantitative side. While thoseare essential skills, there also needsto be more emphasis on the iterative,empathetic design side – working thingsout with people, as opposed to for them.Do you have a definition ofdesign thinking?It’s the ability to think of somethingthat the world didn’t know was useful.Whether it’s a product or a service, itmakes people’s lives better in some way.Nick MarshCommentReimagining the world of work: authorDan Pink Jerry Bauer
  • 3. 3The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design Public sector‘A powerful case for reform’Contemporary public sector needs are riddled with complexity, and institutions are increasingly looking to designersto implement ingenious, problem-solving methods in rethinking service provision. GaynorAaltonenreportsThe year was 2003, andTony Blair and GordonBrown were all smiles.They looked young,relaxed; idealistic, even.Theywere inNewport tolaunchanationwidecon-sultation exercise: TheBig Conversation. What they wanted todo was open up to debate public services,their future, and the whole idea of socialjustice. As Blair wrote in the foreword tothe prospectus: “It’s time for a grown-up discussion.”That was the very week Labour intro-duced student top-up fees. Cynics, andof course the opposition, derided the ini-tiative. This government was not aboutlistening, they said. In fact, it was all talk.Nevertheless, it was an extraordinarymoment,anditbreachedanunseenmem-branebetweenparliamentandthepublic.Six years on, that membrane is showingserious signs of wear. After weapons ofmass destruction, the MRSA superbugand, above all, the MP expenses crisis, thepublicisfedup.Asanelectionbearsdownonus,peoplearedemandingthat,whenitcomestopublicservices,theconversationhas to stop being one-way.Theonlyproblemis,thedemandcomesat a time when the banks have cast us intoasteamingblackpitofdebt.It’sestimatedthat at least one pound in every four ofexisting public spending will have to becut in the coming years. Only by the skinof Gordon Brown’s bared teeth is Britainclawing its way out of the deepest reces-sion since the 1930s.But could this be an opportunity of akind? According to Sir Michael Bichard,chairman of the Design Council and origi-nator of the country-wide governmentreform project, Total Place, public serv-iceswerealreadychanging.Anditiswithinthese services that you find the hungriestappetite for change. As Bichard warns,some agencies deliver services that over-lap,andthereisalotofduplication.Addtothat the possibility that some services aresimply outmoded or ineffective, and youhave a powerful case for reform.In terms of both volume and socialcomplexity, the UK has outgrown WilliamBeveridge’swelfarestate,buildinguplayerupon bureaucratised layer since 1942. TheTotal Place initiative is voluntary, urgingcouncils to take up the rationalising spiritwith individual pilot projects. Joe Heapyis one of those who has been helping localauthorities throw away the rule book. Hesays: “At any point in history populationsweresmallerthantheyarenow.Providingserviceswassomuchsimpler.Today,com-plexity abounds. We have to think again.”Practical forceHeapyisneitheramanagementconsultantnor an economist. His company, EngineService Design, specialises in design forservices. Why design? Because, if whatis needed is systemic change, design is ahighly practical force as well as a driverof innovation.Design methods fuse time spent in thefield and research techniques borrowedfromanthropologywithanunderstandingofhowpeopleuseobjects.Theyaredemo-cratic in spirit: designers use workshopsthat help people contribute their ideasfreely. Theyarejustashappydealingwiththe currency of experience and emotionsas they are analysing trends. And if publicservice reform is about anything, it has tobe about people.When Barnet council discovered thatjust2%ofitslocalpopulationwasrespon-sible for a public service spend of £63.6mor more, every single year, it decidedit was time to embrace change. Enginehelped the council explore areas wherecurrently “public expenditure seemedto have little effect.” Costing out the neteffectofthestatesupportinganindividualthrough their entire life, the design teamdeveloped a new model for commission-ing services for the most disadvantagedin the borough. This model, part of Bar-net council’s Future Shape programme,couldbeflexibleenoughtocrossthewholerange of services in future, from policingand housing to employment.Theprogrammeproposedasetofstrate-giesthatrangedfromthebestuseofcoun-cil-ownedpropertiestoserviceprovision.That was in 2009. This year it will actuallyprototype that commissioning system.Engine has also worked with Southwarkcouncil on targeting its services moreeffectively and more cost-efficiently.But Matthew Taylor, chief executive ofthe Royal Society for the encouragementService design is all about working withreal people to find out what they need –a vehicle Southwark council wants to useto tackle the issue of worklessness.“We need take a whole-systemapproach to the things we do,” says thecouncil’s head of corporate strategy,Graeme Gordon. Adult unemploymentand dependency of the young canoften be clustered in the same families.Southwark has decided to examine thereasons why. The Rise project is beingconducted with Engine to examinethe contributing factors, from obesityto isolation, that get in the way ofindividuals’ own self-help. Gordon says:“If you do detailed ethnographic workwith just eight families, as we did whenpiloting Rise, you might find a family thatappears to be enormously needy and yethas a lot of hidden resilience within it.What I’m interested in is: can we supporttheir own self-help networks in such away that they become less dependent ontraditional public services ?” GAof Arts, Manufactures and Commerce,sounds a note of caution: “There is some-thingaboutservicedesignwhichmotivatespeople and mobilises them, because theyhaveasenseofownership.Butthereisalsoa question about how you transfer it: thesecond you take a designed solution outof the context where it’s been generatedbyparticipationandtransferitsomewhereelse, there’s a danger it becomes simply anew bureaucratic intervention.”Change, however, is inevitable in thisfinancialclimate.Engine’sJoeHeapysays:“Organisations need to listen, adapt, andcollaborate, which is totally right for ourtimes. Whole system change is painful,and it hardly ever happens in local gov-ernment.Butdesigncanhelpbiteoffsmallchunks of that change, while keeping aneye on the larger picture.”Graeme Gordon, head of corporatestrategy at Southwark council agrees. “Ifweweretojusttalkaboutcuts,thatwouldbe a terrible missed opportunity. We maybe driven by the funding crisis, but wewant to do things differently.”‘Organisations needto listen, adapt,and collaborate,which is totally rightfor our times’‘Given thewill, bankscould useservicedesign toadjusttheirthinking,transformtheirapproachandultimatelyre-engagewithcustomers’Thebankingindustry,page 4‘Tackling issuesillustration:MilesDonovan
  • 4. 4 The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design Banking industryThe big brokenbank rebuildSince 2007, banks the world over have fallenfrom grace. Can designers help institutionsinvent more sustainable models and regainthe customer’s trust, asks Nicola TrevettNo one loves banks. Fordecades they havebeen run with theobjective of makingas much profit as pos-sible, for the ultimatebenefit of sharehold-ers. From vanishinglocal branches to obstructive staff andrapaciousfees,everycustomerhasfeltthechill.Withthenear-collapseofthebankingsystem, the banks have also lost our trust.Add to this baffled rage over bonuses and,ifitwasnotsuchahassle,manyofuswouldabandon our bank now.Banks can no longer take us for granted.If they want to keep us, we must be mol-lified. If they want to acquire us, we mustbe seduced. And to do that, they must firstunderstand what we really want – some-thing we may not always know ourselves.When PNC Bank in the US wanted toget more young people to open accounts,it turned to design and innovation agencyIdeo.“Wespenttimewithyoungpeopleasthey dealt with inflows and outflows fromtheiraccounts,”saysJamesMoed,strategistand service designer at Ideo. This researchrevealed that young people were desper-ate for help with budgeting, which led tothe creation of an account called VirtualWallet. The account links current and sav-ingsaccountstogether,treatingthemoneyas one pot. At the heart of the interface isa “money bar”, with coloured sectionsshowing what cash is available to spend,what bills need to be paid and when, andprogress towards specific savings goals.Within two months of launch, 14,000Virtual Wallet accounts had been opened,with four in five coming from the targeteddemographic. And what began as a nicheoffer has proved to have mass appeal. Vir-tual Wallet now represents a quarter of allnew PNC accounts.Desirable new accounts for the bank,customerswithaservicethatfitstheirneed–itlookslikeawinforallconcerned.Itwasmade possible by service design method-ology, which uses observational researchtechniques to gain insights that wouldotherwise be missed.Disillusion with banks’ notoriouslypoor service has been opening up oppor-tunities for customer-oriented businesseslike M&S and Tesco and younger playerssuch as Virgin. “Now is the time for othersto champion different models,” says JohnGrant, co-founder of Abundancy Partners,aconsultancyspecialisinginsustainability-driven innovation and strategy.One example is Zone of Possible Agree-ment (Zopa),asociallendingnetworkthatcuts out the middle-man – the bank – andputs lenders and borrowers directly intouch with each other. Co-founder JamesAlexander explains how service designtechniques uncovered a latent desire fora new way to borrow and invest among agroup of people dubbed as “freefallers”.‘With itsholisticapproachto problemsolving,servicedesign candirectlyengagewith socialserviceusers’Socialinnovation,page 6‘Eternalchaos?TourismservicesunderscrutinyWe all know what we want from Rome:an ice cream from San Crispino’s anda unique encounter with history. Fortourists, however, that encounter is oftenmarred by exhausting queues, lack ofinformation, and the sheer complexityof working out how to get from theColosseum to St Peter’s.Milan’s Domus Academy recentlywon a bid, launched by the Chamber ofCommerce in Rome, to re-imagine thewhole approach to visiting the capital’slavish historic monuments. If given thegreen light, its new Service Gate to Romecould take the pain out of exploring theEternal City.For Domus’s Elena Pacenti and ChiaraDiana, user-experience is key. Fromtheir extensive research, one constanttheme emerged: the contrast betweenthe beauty of the historical sites and thechaos of the city and the services. Theirdesign therefore aims to transform theentire experience, beginning with thegate itself. This hub will be a museum-like environment, where you can browseinformation and decide on the sitesyou wish to visit. A sophisticated, user-profiling-based system then allows youto create a personalised tour. Electronicitinerary cards, which can communicatewith “experience points” around the sites,will be a key tool for the visitor, allowingfor easy debriefing of where you havebeen and what you have seen.So all that is left for you to do ischoose. Melon sorbet, or pistachio?Kate PaulSelf-reliant, often self-employed withmultiple income streams, and dismissiveof institutions, these people were lookingfor a way of doing business that counteredthebanks’cold,remote,dehumanisedcal-culations. Launchedin2005,Zopahasseensteady growth, with deposits doubling ineach of the past three years.Bank of America’s influential Keepingthe Change project is, perhaps, the best-known example of using service design toconjure a new group of savers. The bankcommissioned Ideo to identify innovationopportunities among young mothers.Researchthroughshadowingthemoth-ers and their families as they lived andshopped produced a discovery that musthavestunnedthebank–interestrateswereirrelevant.Themotherswouldputleftovercoinsinajarattheendofthedayandlikedto round up amounts when paying bills.This desire for simplicity, and the habitof saving a little every day, led Ideo todesign Keeping the Change, a programmewhich rounds up debit card purchases tothe nearest dollar and places the rounded-up amount automatically into a savingsaccount.Sinceitsintroductionin2006,theservice has attracted more than 10 millionnew customers.Given the will, banks could use servicedesign to adjust their thinking, transformtheir approach and, ultimately, re-engagewith customers. Deutsche Bank, forex­ample,isusingservicedesigntoincreasethetransparencyandsimplicityofitsproc-esses at every stage of what it calls the cus-tomer journey. “We want to create moreexcitement and enthusiasm around themust-haves and must-dos,” says Frank-RainerNitschke,managingdirectorofcus-tomerexperienceandprocesses.“Wewantcustomers to become fans.”Bankcustomersasfans?Nowthatreallywould be a revolution.IDEO: ideo.comZopa: uk.zopa.comRiding the wave: US-based PNC Bank is among the forerunners in using design to rethink the banking system ReutersDomus Academy is rethinking the Rome visitor experience Getty
  • 5. 5The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design Car industry‘Theseismicshift – froma product-orientedworldeconomyto aservice-ledglobal one– willrequiremulti-disciplinedflexibility’Servicedesigneducation,page 7‘Customer focusWhen is a carmore than acar?Whenitismoonlightingas an energybuffer for theelectricitygrid or earn-ing its owner cash as a mobile phone mast,says US entrepreneur Michael Burz.Burz is the president of CarV3, a newcompany developing electric vehicles inSavannah, Georgia. CarV3 is about fiveyears away from selling its first models,while the auto giant Volkswagen plans tolaunch60differentvehiclesthisyearalone,but both organisations are rethinking thecaralongservicedesignlines.Theybelievethat cars should do more for us than sim-ply carry us around. Many service design-ers,meanwhile,evenquestionwhetherweneed to own cars at all.From the point of view of user experi-ence, says Volkswagen’s corporate servicedesigner Felix Somerville-Scharf, every-thing is a service. “A water bottle isn’t justanobject.Itcontainsthewaterforyouandthen gives you access to it when you needit,” he says. What makes the bottle valu-able is not what it is, but what it does forthe user.At CarV3, Burz sees the electric car asbeing both “an efficient and green way ofgetting around that uses fewer valuableresources [and] a delivery platform forservices, which is about how the ownerinteracts with the car.” He points out thatformostofthetimecarsdonothingfortheirowners. But using an idea called Vehicle toGrid (V2G), developed at the Universityof Delaware, the CarV3 could be earningmoney for the owner while it is parked. IntheUK,Sainsbury’sisthinkingalongsimilarlinesandpioneeringagreenenergysystem,where other customers create 30kWh perhour for you, by driving over the car park’skinetic plates.Burz,whoisworkingwithstudentsfromSavannah College of Art and Design to getclosertopotentialcustomersandpotentialclients,predictsthatelectricitycompanieswill pay owners to use the car’s batteriesto help regulate fluctuations on the grid: itwouldstoreexcessenergyfromsurgesandlater feed it back when demand is high.SellingmobilityBurz also foresees the car being linked tocomputer systems and communicationsnetworks to provide other services. “Youmightbehousehunting.Thecarcouldsenda map reference and a query to an estateagent,totellyouaboutthepropertyyouarepassing. It’s electric, so it can be integratedinto the digital environment. We’re goingmake it an open system, so that anybodycan develop applications for it,” he says.In a difficult business climate, Somer-ville-Scharfbelievesthatashiftinthinkingtowards service design could save manu-facturers like Volkswagen from falling intothe “commodity trap”, in which productscompeteonpricealone.“Ifamanufactureris going to protect itself from a price war, ithas to find ways to extend the value chain.Wearenotsellingcars;wearesellingmobil-ity.CarsharingisnottheHolyGrail,butwehave to understand how we fit into ideaslike car-on-demand services.”Hiringacarbythehourorthedayaspartofacarclubmembershipschemeisalreadycatching on among both commuters andcompanies. The Energy Saving Trust sayscar clubs particularly benefit people whodrive less than 8,000 miles a year or whohaveasecondfamilycarforoccasionaluse.Streetcarwasdevelopedin2004.Theques-tion then, says Ben Reason, co-founder oftheconsultancyLive/Work,wasnottohavethe idea (already done) but to break downbarriers:“Weusedservicedesigntomakeitcomprehensible,andasmuchaswecould,to‘delight’theuser.”Streetcarnow claimsthatbecausemanycustomersselltheirowncars, it has, in effect, taken some 20,000cars off the streets.AccordingtoDrDanielaSangioriofImag-inationLancaster, a creative research lab atLancasterUniversity:“Thewaytosupportachangeinbehaviouristoaskhowyoucanmake every interaction more pleasurable:make the experience more accessible, sothat the service is easy to understand.”Riversimple, a UK-based companydevelopinghydrogen-fuelledcars,notonlyquestions whether car ownership as suchis necessary but is also busy turning thetraditional relationships within the autoindustry on their head.Founder Hugo Spowers says that whencars are owned it is in the manufacturer’sinterest for the customer to replace themWhat can you do on four wheels?If empathy is one of the most importantwords in business, for customers it hasto be enthusiasm. And it seems onlycommon sense to try and understandwhat makes people enthusiastic aboutyour brand, whether what you sell iscars, cleaners or insurance.A year ago it struck Birgit Mager,professor at Sedes Research, the centrefor service design research at KölnInternational School of Design, that,in truth, we know very little about theanatomy of enthusiasm. Why do peopleget enthusiastic about a bank, or a club,or a phone company? If managers couldfind that out, they might strike gold.Mager and her students thereforedid a behavioural research study,discovering that there are in fact ninedimensions of enthusiasm. The mostimportant of them is to do with humancontact, but that contact has to beauthentic. “So, for example,” she says,“if a customer on the phone has a sorethroat and a cold, and that is noticed bythe employee, it would be great if thecustomer is then sent a Ricola lozengethrough the post.”But how to explain these nebulousconcepts to companies? Mager hit onthe idea of holding a concept meal withone client, Deutsche Telekom, which sheorganised around three of the nine kindsof enthusiasm: belonging, exclusivityand success. She arranged a businesslunch, and served these three conceptsup to eat: belonging was a dish ofspaghetti bolognese which they all hadto make together; exclusivity was, ofcourse, caviar; and success, a beautifullydecorated cake with a single candle.The idea of being served success on aplate seems a good one.Gaynor AaltonenAs the automobile industry bears the brunt of the economic downturn and the burden of a sustainable future, trueinnovation is the holy grail for auto-makers. Francis Pearce looks at how service designers are rethinking the carasoftenaspossible.“Inthe‘saleofproduct’world you are rewarded for unreliability,high maintenance and short product life.We want to reverse that,” says Spowers.“Usingthe‘saleofservice’model,wewantthe car to be reliable and long lasting, andfor the customer to use as little fuel as pos-sible, because we’re paying for it.“Similarly, if we are leasing a compo-nentfromasupplier,thelongeritlasts,themore revenue they can squeeze out of it.They can have a higher margin and it canstill be cheaper to us, so everyone wins.That makes the relationship between themanufacturer and the supplier more col-laborative.Elsewhereintheautoindustry,it’s vitriolic.”Spiralling designs: Volkwagen plans to launch 60 new models this year Rainer Jensen
  • 6. 6 The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design Community/The green issue‘Social innovation is my motivation’Pamela BuxtonSarahDrummondmaybeonly23,butsheis already sure of the direction in whichhercareerasadesignerisheading.“Socialinnovation is my motivation. If I’ve gotthe skills to improve people’s lives, whynot use them for that?” she says.Atrainedproductdesigner,Drummondhasaclutchofsocialchangeprojectsunderher belt including a community cohesionschemeinWyndford,north-westGlasgow,as part of the GetGo Glasgow team fromthe Glasgow School of Art. She recentlyco-founded Snook, which, according toher, is the only socially led service-designconsultancy in Scotland.Drummondisamongagrowingnumberofyoungdesignersusingtheirexpertiseinservicedesigntohelpcreatesocialchange.The people using services may feel iso-lated and vulnerable. Perhaps they havebeen let down by the authorities. Withits holistic and participatory approachto problem solving, service design candirectly engage with these end-users toidentify what they really need and howbest to deliver it.Although relatively new in the UK, thisapproach to social innovation has beenpioneered in Germany by Professor BirgitMager of Sedes Research, the centre forservice design research at Köln Interna-tional School of Design. She instigatedseveralstudentprojectstosetupthe Gul-liver Survival Station for the homeless inColognein1996and,morerecently,aunitfor 30 drug-addicted street prostitutesin Eindhoven. Both projects demonstrate the abil-ity of service designers to take a broaderperspective.Theclientsneededdisparateservices to be brought together in a newway. In the Eindhoven project, nine dif-ferent service providers come together inthe new Power of Life centre.Whole picture“Servicedesignerscanstepbackandtakea look at the whole picture,” says Mager,whose young team spent weeks on thestreets talking to prostitutes about theirneeds and aspirations.The use of creative techniques to helpclients,whonormallyhavenovoice,visu-alise and work towards a successful out-Interactive researchtechniques involving visualmedia are allowing designersto gain unprecedented insightinto areas of social need‘It makes a hugedifference when youhave a “sweatequity” in a design’FrancisPearceFor consumers, pleasure often comesahead of other considerations, even whenthey are concerned about sustainability.Despitegrowingawarenessofgreenissues,old-fashioneddriversofconsumptionsuchas status and branding still make a big dif-ference to the choices buyers make.While sustainability can sway thosechoices, few are entirely based solely onwhether a product is green, says globalinnovation and design consultancy Con-tinuum. A project by the Savannah Col-lege of Art and Design (Scad) in Georgia,US, suggests this is true not just in theaffluent west, but even more so in poorercountries.Continuum’sColorblindstudyintoatti-tudestogreenproductsandserviceslastedseven months and involved 6,500 people.It concluded that “consumers have a com-plicated relationship” with green issues.Design strategist Kristin Heist says that asmorecompaniesputeffortintodevelopinggreen products, the opportunity for themliesinfindingabalancebetween“goodforthe environment” and “good for me”.For sustainability and success to gotogether, Heist says, a product has to doat least one of three things: “It has to savemoney,likeanenergy-savinglamp.Ithastoofferbetterquality,likeorganicfooddoes.And [it has to contribute to your] image:youarebrandingyourselfassomeonewhocares about the environment. You don’thave to have all three. For instance, mostexamples that involve re-using or sharingitems are a money win.”Continuumsaysthatwhilearangeoffac-torsaffectstheconsumer’schoice,“unlikeprice or brand, ‘good for the environment’is not a stand-alone factor in deciding.”A team from Scad discovered that evenwhenthechoicesaremoreextreme,imageand aesthetics can still trump real needs.But what it also shows is that this can beexploited to solve real-world problems.Water quality is a severe and constantproblem in Uganda, even in the capital,Kampala, where E coli contamination isprevalent. One way of tackling this is theuse of a technique known as sand filteringwithadevicecalledabio-sandfilter(BSF).Thesedevicesareeffectivebutrequireskillto construct. They are costly to transportto remote areas, because they are made ofheavy concrete.A team led by SCAD post-graduate stu-dent Amit Bapat used industrial design,design management and service designmethodstocreateanewtypeoffiltermadeof vinyl fabric that was much cheaper andeasiertoinstallandcouldbecomeasourceof income for small communities.“Wehadtoconsiderthesocialandergo-First-class solutions for real-world problemsHow do designers strike thebalance between a productbenefiting the environmentand pleasing the customerenough to be bought?Work it out: Amit Bapat’s waterfilter project went through an initialresearch and development phase (top),prototyping and experimenting withmaterials (middle) – first wood, then PVC– and finally production (bottom) with aresulting filter in full working orderAmit Bapatcome is also a key new skill that has rarelybeen brought to social benefit projects,she says. Designers call it co-creation. IntheEindhovenproject,usefulideasmightbe something as simple as having a yearbook or a system of certificates showingattendance at centre programmes.“Theprocessofcreativityisnotusuallyused in a social context,” says Mager. Butthisisslowlychanging.Insouth-eastLon-don, Lewisham borough council is work-ing with service designer Sean Miller andthe agency, ThinkPublic, to improve theperformance of its homelessness preven-tion unit.The project, which is part of a DesignCouncilmentoringprogrammeformanag-ers across a range of public services calledPublic Service by Design and funded bythe Department for Business Innova-tion and Skills, started with extensiveresearch through visual media. The firstpriority was to understand the clients’needs and their experience of the servicebygettingstafftofilmthembefore,duringandaftertheirvisits.Thisvisualevidence– presented in three “insight” films – washugelyenlighteningtobothfrontlinestaffandmanagement.Itdemonstratedinpar-ticular that clients often wrongly remem-berormisinterpretwhatthey’vejustbeentold in a meeting.“You wouldn’t find this out with tra-ditional questionnaires. It’s incrediblyraw and real … It’s the first time they’dreceivedaformofinsightthatwasn’twrit-ten,” says Miller.One quick outcome was to introduce aWhat’s Next? document showing the cli-ent where they were in the process andhow they could move to the next stage.Thiswasjustoneof35-40initialideasthatemergedfromtheclientresearch.Throughstaffworkshopsthesewerewhittleddownto10ideasthatarenowbeingprototyped.Thehopeisthatmoreclientswillbeprop-erly directed to the appropriate office,more will keep appointments and morewill be able to move through the processfaster to get off the streets and ultimatelyinto permanent accommodation.Collaborative approachCreative thinking is also at the heart ofGlasgow’s Wyndford project, which, inFebruary,wonthe£10,000nationalawardin the Audi Design Foundation’s SustainOur Nation competition. Like the Lewi-sham project, the Glasgow scheme dem-onstratesthekeyservicedesignapproachofworkingincollaborationwiththeusers,rather than imposing a solution on them.“It’s really important not to design forpeople but to design with them,” saysDrummond. “You have to motivate peo-ple to become part of social projects toget the community on board.”Through interviews and workshopswith Wyndford residents, Drummondand the GetGo team established the needforaframeworkforallmannerofcommu-nity events and groups, from book clubsto football games. This is delivered via awebsite and traditional message board –both tools that the community can useafter the service designers have gone.Visual media have again been veryimportant. The team filmed hundredsof hours of footage of interviews anddocumentary, and then showed this to acommunity and stakeholder audience topromote the new initiative.“Filming is much more powerful thanan old-fashioned questionnaire. Youhave to sell a service,” says Drummond.At Wyndford the £10,000 Audi awardwill be used to reward people for ideapitches. The best idea each month gets a£100 prize. It is all about using creativityto engage with those who use – and thosewho deliver – the process of social inno-vation. Hopefully the result is not only asatisfied service user, but motivated staffand a fulfilled service designer to boot.Drummondsays:“Whenyougetpeopletoco-create, you get people who are excitedand inspired. It’s very rewarding.”Design Council: designcouncil.orgnomic sides of the design – including howthecultureinaveryspecificpartofUgandawouldaffectit,”Bapatrecalls.“Evencom-paratively wealthy families in Kampalaare affected by E coli in the water but theydon’tusetheoriginaltypeoffilterbecauseit does not look very nice. It is given awaybyNGOs,sopeoplethinkitisonlyforpoorpeople to use.”While,inthepast,organisationssuchastheMontana-basedcharityHope2OneLifehave donated the devices to communitiesin Uganda, the Scad version is designedto be sold. In keeping with service designprinciples, which go beyond simply look-ingattheproduct,Bapat’steamexaminedthe whole system, from production todistribution.Partoftheprojectwastocre-ate village enterprises – small businessesmanufacturing the filters – with the jointbenefits of generating income and spread-ing the use of BSFs.One consequence of charging for thefilters is that they have since become con-sumeritemswithavarietyofuses,includ-ing carrying charcoal or cereal. They arealsoseenasdesirableobjectstohaveinthehome, even though the new design, madeinbrightlycolouredPVC,costsafractionofthe concrete version.Four prototypes made in a tent factoryin Kampala cost $15 (£10) altogether, com-pared to $35 (£23) each plus up to $500(£332) in transport fees for the concreteversions. “We worried that people mightthinktheywouldnotlast.Butthathasnotbeenaproblemandtheyarecheapenoughfor people to afford,” says Bapat.These filter prototypes were conceivedand refined in the classroom, with inputfrom Hope 2 One Life workers and a Ugan-dan student at Scad. Advocates of servicedesign would argue that it is always bestpractice to work directly with the peoplewho need the service. “Our colleagues’experience was the nearest we had to get-tingfeedbackfromthereal-endusers,whowould be African women and children,”saysBapat.Until,thatis,SCADfacultyandstaff assisted him to raise the money to goto Uganda.There, Bapat was able to see installa-tions, and meet the people who used andmade the existing filters. He even tried hishandatcreatingthem,usinglargemoulds.He says: “It makes a big difference whenyou have ‘sweat equity’ in a design.”
  • 7. 7The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design EducationPolymorphs in the makingService designers require a broad set of creative skills as well as extensive life experience. But then,so doesbusiness. Are colleges offering the flexible training students need, asks Gaynor AaltonenSo if you want to becomea service designer, whereand when do you start?With a BA in design, per-haps product design,graphics, or interiors?Then a specialist course?Many practitioners, how-ever, feel that to work in the field, youneed not only a design skill under yourbelt, but life experience too – an adultappreciation of the world of work and alarge amount of tact and human under-standing. This is because both the mostinterestingandthemostchallengingthingaboutservicedesignisthewayitcoverssomany disciplines. Nevertheless, there is asudden rush in education circles to offerservice design training.Despite the UK’s new wave of thought-ful, socially conscious consultancieslike Participle, live|work, Think Publicand Engine, education opportunities forthose interested in learning more are bynomeansrestrictedtotheUK.TomDixon,head of design at Habitat, complainedrecently that he has to go to Australia andthe US to find the wide-ranging talentshe needs.While universities like Northumbria,Lancaster and Glasgow take the subjectseriously, at many schools of design ittends to exist within other strands ofdesign education.Multi-disciplined flexibilityAndyPolaineteachesservicedesignattheLucerne University of Applied Sciencesand Arts, Switzerland, where he saysthey ensure the students – studying fora masters in products, textiles, servicesor animation – are frequently coached inmixed-discipline groups.This is an important point, because theseismic shift many commentators say iscoming – from a product-oriented worldeconomy to a service-led global one – willrequiremulti-disciplinedflexibilityaboveall. Peter Fossick, professor at SavannahCollege of Art and Design (Scad) in theUS, says: “If design has become moreethereal, it’s because there’s a new com-mercial emphasis on intangible values.There’s a desire for empathy, as well asinnovation.”Many argue that those with some formof design education or understandingwill have a significant edge as leadersof businesses.If collaboration and teamwork arethe new core competencies of the workspace, design education fits that bill inspades – even at undergraduate level. Ithas encouraged these ways of workingfor decades, both within the studio andoutsideit.Studentcompetitions,runwithcommercial companies like Givenchy orSamsonite, are vital for colleges like Lon-don’s Central Saint Martins.In service design this is even moretrue. Students at Scad, for instance, runlive projects with commercial giants likeVTech, Ebay and Microsoft. Köln Inter-national School of Design in Germanypioneered service design education, anda large percentage of its student projectsare turned into real, commercial ones.Pre-emptive strategiesIn the future, educationalists believe, topbusiness leaders will not only read themarket;theywillpre-emptitsneeds.Fre-quent cultural and social shifts will meanbig adjustments for both businesses andgovernments. An understanding of serv-ice design – and the feel for customers’needs that it brings – will be vital to helpdrive innovation.London’s Royal College of Art, forinstance, which is considering providingitsownservicedesignMA,iscollaboratingwithUniversityCollegeLondononajointMBA programme, with service design asan element.Businessesmaynotneedpolymathstodo all this high-speed juggling. But theymayneedpolymorphs.Sowheredoesthatleave education generally? Many profes-sionals think that existing higher educa-tion institutions face enormous issues. Anumberofinstitutions,suchastheUniver-sityofBirmingham,areengagedinknowl-edgetransferconsultancy,butwhataboutmainstream students? Speaking recentlyataDesignLondonseminar,scientistandbusinessskillsprofessorDavidGanncom-plained of a poverty of multi-disciplinaryskills in education at large.There is plenty of rhetoric about modu-lar degree structures and inter- or cross-disciplinaryworking,butmostuniversitiesandcollegesstillexistinasilosystem.AndyJargon busterDon’t be scared. They are just words.These are among the skills andtechniques a service designer can expectto learn:• Co-creation: the practice ofdeveloping services or productsthrough collaboration betweendevelopers, staff, customers andother stakeholders• Touchpoint: a point of contact orinteraction between a user/customerand a member of staff or a websiteduring the purchase of a service,product or brand• Individualisation: the process ofuncovering the innate needs and desiresof individuals in such a way that aservice becomes truly relevantor useful• Service blueprinting: the mappingout of a service “journey”. This meansidentifying the processes that constitutethe service, isolating possible points offailure and success, and establishing atime-frame• Use case or flow: the mapping andsequencing of events in a scenario (forexample, a purchase) in order to identifywho does what, ie user or staff actions• Heuristics: the use of experience-based techniques, such as “trial anderror”, for problem solving, learningand discovery• Interface: an intuitive platform,device or programme which connectstwo systems. Students need knowledgeof the physical, psychological andbehavioural characteristics of people tobe able to design for them• Sensualisation: an extension of theconcept of visualisation to all othersenses — hearing, tasting, smelling,touching, moving. When designingan experience, the senses are veryimportant. The British chef HestonBlumenthal’s restaurant, The Fat Duck,in Berkshire, is a case in point, withspecially designed vials for tastingand an extraordinary level of attentionto detail• Ethnography: the scientific studyof the customs of individuals orgroups, as part of the discipline ofanthropology. It attempts to put asmuch emphasis on intangibles, suchas aesthetics and emotion, as on so-called hard data. GAPolainsays:“WhatIseehappeningmostofthe time is institutions responding to therhetoric of the day – the creative/know­ledgeeconomy,theageofsocialnetworks,designthinking,etc,withenthusiasticnod-dingbutverylittlewillingnessorabilitytochange fundamental structures.”In the US, however, they think big.Chicago’s Institute of Design has longhad a service design programme, withtop names teaching. SCAD now offers amaster of fine arts degree and a bachelorof fine arts degree in the subject – the firstinstitution to offer both.Meanwhile, the business degree pro-gram at Parsons The New School forDesign in New York is looking at extend-ing the curriculum to include design anddesignthinkingforallspheresoflearning,ranging from business and medical serv-ices to social innovation.HowMcDonald’sstunnedFrance,page 10*Core competencies: prospective servicedesigners need to cover a wide range ofskills in their training, from informationgraphics (top) and creative visualisation(above) to teamwork and collaboration(left) Alamy‘There’s a newcommercial emphasison intangible values –a desire for empathy,as well as innovation’
  • 8. 8 The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design New business imperatives‘People matter’ is key messageon the road to recoveryBy plotting the needs and desires of clients with great accuracy, service design isfreeing up businesses to implement radical change in direct relation to what people want.Nicola Trevett profiles two companies where results look promisingThese are difficult timesto do business. A toxicmix of recession, lim-ited credit and consum-ers unwilling to spendhas created challeng-ing conditions in everysector. Businesses arequestioning themselves as never beforeintheirsearchforcompetitiveedge,ifnotsurvival. A sense of crisis is dissipatingestablished mindsets and assumptions –and companies are discovering that peo-ple matter.For all the talk of the importance ofgood customer service, in truth it israre. Businesses don’t really get it. Andthis is where service design can play itspart: by helping a business to reach anin-depth understanding of its custom-ers, and shape a service that meets theirreal, often unrecognised needs, servicedesign can yield both financial rewardsand satisfied consumers.For Haluk Terzioglu, chief marketingexecutiveoftheAmplifonGroup,thechal-lenge was simple. Amplifon is an Italianworldwide retailer of customised hear-ing solutions, with 3,000 points of sale in14 countries. The group was, and is, themarket leader in its sector, and Terziogluwanted it to stay that way. That meantselling more hearing aids – but successdepended on the customers’ experiencein the stores, and Terzioglu knew that theformat that had worked for more than 50years was no longer fit for purpose.Amplifon’s business has two aspects:medical and consumer. The products itsells are medical, and customers are bothclient and patient. The problem was thatthemedicalaspecthadbecomedominant;customers were walking into an environ-ment that felt more like a clinic. A com-plete rethink was needed.To gain an understanding of what cus-tomers required and expected, TerziogluturnedtodesignconsultancyContinuum.Itconductedin-depthqualitativeresearchinto people’s functional and emotionalneeds as they went through the processof buying a hearing aid. It mapped theprocess out, step by step, defining cus-tomer types, analysing different choicesand behaviours, and helping create sce-nariosthatprovidedtheidealexperience.Such an approach, Terzioglu believes,was a first, not only for Amplifon, but forthe industry.The resulting store design has unitedAmplifon’s split personality. “We havebrought the two worlds together: retailand medical, emotional and rational,”says Terzioglu. “The store is the visibleexpressionofthenewbrand–welcoming,caring and proactive.”Continuum also looked into ways ofmaking diagnosis easier for both acousti-cian and customer, writing new softwareand re-designing Amplifon’s computerinterface. Now every piece of furnitureand lighting plays its part in the custom-er’s“journey”.Thestorealsohas“solutionrooms” where diagnosis and fitting is car-ried out. The new format has won designawards, and, over the next five years, willroll out to all the group’s stores.Corporate strategyBy contrast, Francisco Pita, head of mar-keting and customer service at Portu-guese airport operator ANA, was facedwith transforming an entire corporateethos. “The aviation business is changingrapidly, and the airport business needsto change to cope,” he says. Simply put,ANA needs more people to proceed moreefficiently through its airports.Pita decided to move towards a morecustomer-oriented service with the pas-senger at its heart. This was a very funda-mental shift. “Traditionally in airports,there is more focus on the business tobusiness relationship,” Pita says. “Youneed good relations with professionals,retailers,airporthandlingcompanies,andairlines, above all. Route development isregarded as the driver for growth.”In addition to a diverse collection ofstakeholders,anynewstrategywouldhavetotakeaccountofthedifferingcharacterofANA’sairports.Lisbon,forexample,isahubdealingwithallkindsofpassengers;Porto,Sleek success: the new Amplifon retaildesign is a welcoming environmentinthenorth,catersforpeopletravellingonbusiness and visiting relatives;, and Farois focused on holiday traffic. “We neededto find a service strategy that would makesense across the network,” says Pita.The threads were pulled together withthe help of the service design consul-tancy,Engine.“Forthefirsttime,weusedco-design techniques to get passengersinvolved in helping us define the strat-egy,” Pita says. Shadowing, structuredinterviews, focus groups and workshopswere all employed to gain an understand-ing of passenger needs and expectations,without compromising the interests ofbusiness partners.The result of this work, which wascompleted in mid-2009, was the pres-entation of a passenger services strategydocument to the board. To its credit, theboard approved, and the strategy is beingrefined. A number of projects targeted atspecific passenger groups are also beingdeveloped, such as a family package forthose travelling with children.“Servicedesignisaboutputtingtogetherall the different parts, without forgettingthe consumer gets the most attention,”Pitareflects.“Ithasallowedustoseethingsfrom a different perspective.”Continuum: dcontinuum.comEngine Service Design : enginegroup.co.uk‘We used co-designtechniques to get[customers] involved indefining the strategy’
  • 9. 9The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Design for transport Shipping routes shaped by delux dataCharter a fleet of ships these days andyou can track not only where they are onthe world’s oceans, but also how muchtheir fuel consumption is, relative totheir expected speed. You can take intoaccount the weather, waves and currents.Click again, and you can find out whetherstorms are likely to delay their arrivaltime in the next port; how the ship isperforming compared to normal; whatcargo it carried last time and so on.All this, of course, is only possiblebecause of the web. The new Fleetwebservice, provided by Sweden’sRocking the boat: Sweden’s Meteorological and Hyrological Institute’s new web service is elegant and innovativeMeteorological and Hydrological Institute(SMHI), was conceived by servicedesigner Andrea de Angelis. Throughextensive client observation, de Angelisdiscovered that there was a lot moreinformation clients would find useful:they particularly needed to compare dataeasily and quickly. He says: ”We do notonly tell the weather, we tell you what theweather will be for you: how it will affectyour cargo, performance and so on. Weanalyse that for you, and we work out thepotential consequences.”Meanwhile, the ships’ masters have anDesign for health Long-term solutions at the NHS“We are just one massive service,” saysLynne Maher,”although we hadn’t reallyfocused on that as a principle. So servicedesign works really well for us.”Maher is acting innovation directorat the NHS Institute for Innovation andImprovement. In these straightenedtimes, the NHS is of course lookingfor increased productivity as well asmore personalised care. For her, thewatershed moment was doing a servicedesign trial on something already judged“excellent”, the head and neck cancerunit in a Bedford hospital. Through thetrial Maher found that over 40 usefulimprovements could still be made.As she explains, in a tight fundingenvironment the practice can also helpthe staff make the case for reasonablespending decisions: investments that willsave money in the long run. “We usuallytalk about helping patients, but we canalso help our own staff, particularlyby observation.”She says that her team has embracedthe concept of service design andThe NHS Institute for Innovation andImprovement’s Lynne MaherDesign for living Keeping people out of careToday’s holy grail, as far as public servicesare concerned, is to prevent problems,rather than fix them. According to JulieBrown of the North East Improvementand Efficiency Partnership, ”The cost ofsomebody going into social or healthcare can be phenomenal. If someone hasa fall and ends up in hospital, the worst-case scenario could end up costing about£25,000. Well, it doesn’t take muchsense to calculate that if you save morethan one person from falling, providingthe services of a handyman has alreadypaid for itself.”Brown is in the first stages of a pilotproject supported by the Design Councilcalled Public Service by Design. Sheis manager of the Independent LivingProject, which aims to stop vulnerablepeople from ending up in care. She says:”This new design approach has reallycaptured our imaginations. It’s promptedhuge enthusiasm from our participantauthorities.”The first step was to find out whichservices were most effective acrossthe whole area. “Our role is to act as acatalyst across the region – and clearlyone of our challenges is getting as manyauthorities, that’s 12 in total, as we canto collaborate and work together. Thenwe will be looking to create cheap andrapid prototypes of the things thathave been successful. We hope to comeup with a really compelling case forchange. Everyone is fired up, partlybecause we are trying to tackle somelong-standing problems.” NTDesign Council: designcouncil.org.ukNorth East Improvement and EfficiencyPartnership’s Julie BrownJoe Ferry, head ofdesign and servicedesign, Virgin AtlanticThere’s a lot more to this than justbeing imaginative. It’s about being ableto challenge pre-conceptions. Peopleget used to a certain type of procedureor protocol. If you really want torevolutionise the way you operate, youhave to question things. Plus, we’velearnt that although consumer researchis great, it only gives you answers aboutwhat’s happening today, when whatyou want is answers about what willhappen tomorrow.We often work with externalagencies. They work with so manydifferent companies that they canbring you totally new ideas from otherindustries. If I was designing a productI’d take lots of ideas , find out whatworks and refine that. EventuallyI’d get a solution. Service designhappens in reverse: the objective is todefine exactly what it is you want theexperience to be, and then work backto establish how you can navigate theconstraints you have – and actuallydeliver that.Cathleen Wenning,director of innovationsportfoliomanagement,SBK (Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse),GermanyWe’ve used service design to developour Live Healthy project. We wantedinnovative health coaching for ourcustomers, so we set up an onlinecommunity where people exchangetheir experiences of physical activityand healthy eating. In another of ourprogrammes, customers use an activitysensor to record their daily movement;when they reach 10,000 steps per day,or have been active for 30 minutes, thesensor provides motivational feedback.Experts assume that customershave certain rational goals, buthuman behaviour is often irrational.Customer satisfaction can only beachieved through a positive emotionalexperience. Service design dives intothe customers’ world and our serviceinnovations are tied to their perceptions.For the Live Healthy project, a servicedesign consultancy helped us researchwhy people live an unhealthy life.We found that people often requireconcrete and practical support, as well asuseful information to build and realisetheir goals. Furthermore, they like todevelop new rituals that help them toget rid of their old habits. Engaging incompetition with others can be a strongincentive. Finally, the process needs tobe entertaining, and easy to implementin everyday life.David Anderson, vice-president of globalbrand management atCrowne Plaza Hotelsand ResortsTo create a clear direction for our brand,we need a robust understanding ofguests’ attitudes and motivations whenthey travel, and what they value in ahotel experience. Our service design isa very clear process. From the check-inonwards, we break down how we wantour guests to feel at every stage. Thenwe work with colleagues to define thecomponents that will create that feeling.To take in-room dining for businesstravellers as an example, we found outhow they wanted to order, what foodthey wanted and how they wanted itto be served. Then everyone workedtogether to design an ideal serviceexperience.Interviews by Nicola TrevettInnovative thinking The experts’ viewsmade it their own: they are teachingdesign techniques throughoutthe NHS and run masterclasses inexperience-based design, attendedby anyone from medical directors tophysiotherapists. NTequally reliable decision-making toolon board. It helps them to decide whereto go, how to avoid damage to cargo,crew and ship, save time and reach theirdestination on time. While SMHI alreadyhad sophisticated services in place, thisnew system is innovative in the wayall these services have not just beenimproved, but have been dovetailedtogether, making crossing the worldeasier and safer. A household namein Sweden, SMHI’s shipping divisionincreased profits by 20% last year in theteeth of recession. NT
  • 10. 10 The Guardian | Monday 15 March 2010Service design Client consultationSubtle shifts in service scienceEven in the most critical of customer cultures, brands can use design thinking to revitalise the way they areperceived and foster new levels of popularity. McDonald’s in France is a prime example, says Genevieve RobertsItwasperhapstheultimateculinarychallenge:topersuadeFrance,thenation that has produced some ofthe world’s finest cuisine — andsome of its spikiest defenders — todevelop a taste for McDonald’s.The chain known across the Chan-nel as McDo did not meet a warmwelcome. A renowned chef once sued thefast-foodchainfor€2m(£1.8m)indamagesover an advertisement that suggested hewas dreaming of a Big Mac. In 1999, thesuggestion that French cheese be used inburgerspromptedanactivisttoburndowna partly-built McDonald’s restaurant. Hecompared the idea to sex shops sellingholy water.Buttheworldwidechainhaspulledoffaremarkableturnaround.Todaylefast-foodisnotjusttolerated:itisgrowingrapidly.ABig Mac or Royale with Cheese are similarinpriceonbothsidesoftheAtlantic,butanaverage visit nets the company €11 (£9.90)in France, compared with around €3.50(£3.20) in the US.Therearemorethan1,140outletsacrossthe country, and France is the countrywhere people spend the most per visit.Europe now contributes over 40% of thecompany’s global profits.So what has prompted not just France,but Europe, to change its mind? A trip to abranchjustyardsfromtheLouvremuseumhelps unravel the mystery.The store feels like a Starbucks —another surprisingly successful Ameri-can import, with 35 outlets in Paris. TheFrench are known for drinking theirespressos with a flourish, but nowadaysmanyParisiansareequallyhappytolingerover a chai tea latte.Aspokespersonsaysthebrand’s successin the capital is not just down to the cof-fee,butalsototheatmosphere:“Starbuckshas always been designed to provide cus-tomers with a third place; a place betweenhomeandworkwheretheycangotorelaxor meet with friends.” The chain is now“goinglocal”,explainsretailcommentatorEmilyPacey,ofthemagazineDesignWeek.“Both it and other chains are becomingboutique-like,withindividualizeddesignsforeachlocation.”Homogenousisout.Andatthetrendyend,home-madeandfolksyisthe mood. Heinz has even done a pop-upstore in Spitalfields.McDonald’s restaurant design, once soregimented, has evolved into a similarilyrelaxedmodel.Nolongerareallcustomersassumed to be the same. Today’s restau-rantshavedifferentseatingzones,cateringfor a change in tempo in consumers’ life-styles.Thecompanyfoundthatafterintro-ducing these zones in the UK, customersbegan stopping off as part of the workingday, or using the restaurant as a place tocatch up on emails.French diners do not grab a quick foodfix—70%visitduringstandardmealtimesandtheyoverwhelminglydinechezMcDoinsteadoftakingtheirfoodaway.Inthecitycentre Paris branch there are Eames chairsin pairs, which senior vice-president ofbrand strategy Pierre Woreczek says areintended for more intimate dining, andbreakfastbarswithstoolsforaswifterbite.Comfort and elegance: new store designs for McDonald’s in Europe create a relaxing environmentSelf-service machines mean you can payby card and go to a pick-up point to collectyour food. Some of the outlets even offertable service.Woreczek says service design has beenthe key to getting change right. “Food isimportantandobviouslyapriority,butforus, it is about empowering our customersso they can decide how to use the store,how to order their food and how to enter-tain themselves or their children .”“We are very respectful of local culture–ourbistroscreatetheuniqueatmosphereof Paris,” says Woreczek, also citing thelocalist example of the company’s UK res-taurants, which now serve bacon buttiesfor breakfast. “McDonald’s in France hasled the game in moving from fast-food togood food, fast.”Service design is all about the clientele.Some stores have been remodeled to bemore child-focused, Woreczek says, withplay spaces. “Some families want to sharea moment with their children, while otherparents would like some quiet, and allthese things should happen in store.”McDonald’s tests many new ideas at itsinnovation centre in Chicago as well as itsEuropeandesignstudioinParis.Newtech-nologyabounds,includingadrive-throughsystemwhereordersflashupinthekitcheninstantly. Kitchens have also been rede-signedtobemoreefficient,andtoproducemore food to order. Service changes rangefrom the obvious, like the new customerordering system, to the subtle, such assmallextensionstothedrive-throughwin-dows to reduce bottlenecks.Vice-president of concept and designDenis Weil says that, while the basics offood delivery around the world remainthe same, what’s important is that theexpectations of service and the in-storeexperience do not. Different nations havedifferent views on queuing, for instance.The fundamental change was shiftingfrom standards set by targets to broader,subtler definitions of service quality, andcrucially, the “customers’ experience ofthat delivery”.LastyearMcDonald’sannouncedanewoutletneartheLouvre,promptingBernardHasquenof,whorunstheLouvrePourTouswebsite,tolamentthat“theFrenchturninsuch numbers to McDonald’s”, which hedescribed as “an under-cuisine”. But noweven Hasquenof has changed his mind.“It’sunbelievable.Youwouldn’tknowit’saMcDonald’s,”hegrudginglyadmits:“Likeeveryone, I go there episodically.”

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