The world is a garage: designing services is a messy job

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I had to opportunity to present at the CHI Netherlands Conference 2009. The theme of the conference this year was "change" (what else). Because Service design is really gaining momentum in the Netherlands, the conference organizers dedicate a whole track to it. So this was a great opportunity for me to share the passion and dedication we have for this field at 31Volts.

See http://www.31v.nl/2009/06/the-world-is-a-garage-designing-services-is-a-messy-job/ for more info on this presentation

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The world is a garage: designing services is a messy job

  1. The world is a garage designing services is a dirty messy job - Hi, I’m Marc Fonteijn, co-founder of 31Volts - 31Volts is design agency that helps organizations create valuable and meaningful services - Today I’m going to share with you the things I’ve learned that are important in designing meaningful and valuable services and the reason why I think our world is a garage. - This presentation contains primarily practical examples, I’ll leave the complex theories to others - Before I get down to the messy details, I first of all I want to put things into context really quickly - Organizations have focussed their resources primarily on 2 things in the last decades ...
  2. 1: On technological innovations
  3. 2: On making things efficient, standardizing stuff, improving processes, getting the maximum efficiency
  4. We live in a world where the growth in connections between people has accelerated and changed the challenges organizations face. - Let me rephrase this: organizations face different challenges - As we all know -now more then ever- the only constant in todays world is change - I think everyone in this audience today sees these challenges but just to make sure we’re on the same line let me give 3 quick examples
  5. sh an oift dc fp on ow tro er l - Organizations have to make the transition from monologue (advertising) to dialogue (true marketing) - The question for them is: are you going to (can?) ignore this or are you going to jump in?
  6. ch an gin g va lu es - Organizations have to deal with new values to differentiate themselves like ... authenticity - But what does it mean to be authentic for a commercial company anyway?! - And how do you prevent that people will see you as a fake because you’re pushing authenticity so much
  7. tru & st, ow pr ne iva rs cy hip - And the last example are challenges concerning trust, privacy, ownership - Do you trust the one who stores your data - Do you know where you’re data is? - By the way who “owns” YOUR data anyway?
  8. people challenges - Although we see these challenges -because we are the one creating them- we have to realize that organizations have a hard time catching up! - The important thing is that these are NOT management or technology challenges, these are all people challenges - These are different challenges and the approaches organization have been applying for years just to solve them - So how do you deal with these challenges? - Well this is exactly what we’ve been working on for the last years at 31Volts - I’d like to share how we approach these challenges and what we’ve learned in doing so
  9. the world is a garage - While writing my submission for this conference and summing up the lessons learned over the past year the light struck me and I had an insight that is now the title of this presentation! - Why a garage? It should all become clear in the next few slides, so here we go...
  10. 1. doing research is messy 2. be pragmatic with tools 3. balance between co-creation and experts 4. design frameworks and embrace hacks - I found that there are 4 remarkable resemblances between a garage and the way we work - There are probably a lot more but these are the 4 most important for me - I’ll go over them one by one and give an example of the garage and one of our projects
  11. 1. doing research is messy - We usually don’t have a well defined research question - So a checklist or survey won’t work in this case as you don’t know what to ask - The first thing we need to do is to find the question before we can start looking for the answer - Another thing is that you’re not in a lab where you control everything except 1 thing (quantitive research) - You need to look at the whole system at once and do an estimated guess (based on experience) where the problem might be and digg deeper - Being (too) analytical while doing design research can put you in a deadlock. - Most importantly, there is no easy way out, you need to invest time and effort in research!
  12. 1. doing research is messy
  13. 2. be pragmatic with tools - Although the process is we apply is very well known (design), we’re now applying it in a field thats new to designers - We often encounter challenges for which there are no dedicated tools - This requires that you are pragmatic with tools - We have to borrow tools from other disciplines ranging form industrial design to theater and tweak them - You need to invent, create and test these tools in real-life situations - A broad knowledge of other fields and an open mindset to be creative and translate these tools to your challenge
  14. 2. be pragmatic with tools
  15. 3. balance between co-creation and experts - Involving the user from the very start is absolutely nessescery but they can’t do it alone - We found that you need to balance between a team of experts and co-creation - You need (multidisciplinary) team of experts (electrics, engine, painter, bodywork, etc) to get the best results, this is the same while designing services - The designer is expert of the process but he needs to involve other experts to create the best solutions
  16. 3. balance between co-creation and experts
  17. 4. design frameworks and embrace hacks - It’s clear if mechanics has fixed your car but the thing is do you trust that your car is safe again? - A big challenge while designing services is that they operate in a constantly changing environment - You can’t create static 1 off solutions, you need to design flexible frameworks that adapt easily to a changing environment - People like to hack stuff; software, hardware but also services! - Don’t assume things will work in a specific way just because it was designed that way - Organizations often ignore hacks of try to prevent them - Instead they should embrace these hacks and try to embed them in the service - If someone hacked your service they had a good reason for it, try to learn from this
  18. 4. design frameworks and embrace hacks - The santa clause won’t give you a cleaner toilet but it may give you a different (better?) experience
  19. time for a recap - So, why again am I telling all this? - Of course we don’t work in a garage and we’re not true mechanics - Every organization that deals/works with people either though its a hospital, public school or telecom provider needs to rethink how it’s going to approach the challenges that are coming at them today - I’ve shared our approach that we’ve been applying with a lot of success over the last years...
  20. to da ys ta ke aw ay - Finally if there’s one thing I hope you remember after this presentation its that: - We’ve learned in our projects that in order to create value for people, todays challenges require that organizations get a little messy
  21. Thank you marc@31v.nl @marcfonteijn + 31 648 37 29 04 - Please feel free to contact me - I’d love to hear from you what you think about this perspective
  22. ph ot oc slide # - source re dit s 1 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kvh/3176077462/ 3 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/theblueboy/2115715749/ 6 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/arapehl/413122038/ 9 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandytri/3020638454/ 11 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigfez/3127793543/ 13 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/robotapocalypse/245505533/ 15 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidbygott/2418357719/ 17 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/icathing/26603225/ 20 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/vwescape/3491301376/ 21 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/vannispen/3586592218/ - All the credits to the great photographers on flickr.com!

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