At Open we identify and examine customer issues. At DNA we deliver on that thinking.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

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Service Design

Making organisations human – Addressing the Fragmentation of Organisations

In my previous two posts, I’ve been reflecting on my work over the years in the design of products, services, and organisational systems. I’ve called the overall effect of these design projects, “making organisations human.” I looked at the effect humanising an organisation has on its customers; that it breaks down the divide between ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’, helps organisations understand the exact value they offer customers, tracks changes in customer needs, and helps the organization prioritise internal project work in response.

In this post I’m going to focus on the effect of these design projects on those employed by an organisation, both in terms of how they can change the experience for their customers, and how it shapes their own role in the organisation.

There are various ways employees contribute to what the organisation offers, depending on the part they play in the production or delivery of the product or service. However, employees often come up with questions or ideas for improving the organisation – and its offer­ – that require access to multiple parts of the organisation to explore or test.

This is where things get difficult.

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Service Design

Does the poverty package have design merit?

"What government must do is put children and families at the centre and then organise services and interventions accordingly" says New Zealand's Finance Minister Bill English in regard to addressing poverty. Noel Brown questions whether the Budget does anything to address that statement and considers where design could play a role.

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Service Design

Public Sector Service Design in NZ.

DNA’s Chris Jackson is interviewed by the Service Design Network (SDN), an organisation headquartered at the International School of Design in Cologne, Germany. For their February 2015 'Insider' interview, they were keen to get Chris’s comments on how service design is doing, and how it is done in New Zealand.

As part of the interview, Chris elaborates on the challenges and barriers he’s experienced working in Government and in practice at DNA working for Public sector organisations looking to make progress against Result 10 and other drivers.

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Service Design

Stockholm Syndrome

DNA's Service Design Lead Chris Jackson was recently fortunate enough to attend the Service Design Global Conference in Stockholm. It was a great opportunity to dispel any personal FOMO Chris had, and a very valuable chance to locate the Service Design and CX practice at DNA amongst that of overseas studios. It was also very thought provoking when considering New Zealand’s place on the global stage, across Service Design in both public and private sector contexts.

What follows are Chris's four key outtakes from the conference.

 

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Service Design

Jamming with the Government

For the majority of people, the term “Service Jam” is a very foreign concept, and no, preserving fruit is not involved. I will attempt a quick explanation. To start with, a definition of service design is: “The application of human-centered design methods, tools and thinking to the creation, planning and organising of all the various people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service.” Add to this the idea of a jam, as in a bunch of musicians coming to together, riffing off each other and making music. What you get is a Service Jam – a gathering where people come to collaborate in a fast paced design session, working on service challenges and opportunities. Much like a music jam, these can be run for a number of different reasons, to create brand new service offerings, to solve some specific challenges, or just to learn. 

Jamming with the Government

Towards the end of last year a few of us from DNA had the opportunity to work with fellow Service and Experience Designers from government and other Public sector agencies to put on a two day Government Service Jam (Gov Jam), this being the second one we’ve run, the first prototype was earlier in the year. Right at the end of the second day a participant came up to me and said: “I can’t believe we came up with such a good idea, I mean I think this could actually work”. She was talking about the ingenious prototype solution she and her team had just made in under a day. This is something that I have seen time and time again. 

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Service Design

Service Design: A Formless Art

“I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used” — Bruce Lee

Jeet Kune Do is a style of combat and life philosophy developed by Bruce Lee. He referred to it as “a style without style” or “the art of fighting without fighting”. Lee believed that many martial arts contained ostentatious movements therefore JKD uses directness to achieve maximum impact and draws on the best “tools” from different pugilistic arts including Kung Fu, Fencing and Boxing.

Service design is also a philosophy and a combination of tools from a number of different disciplines, including business, technology, design and social science. At DNA, we also want to use directness to produce maximum impact for our clients, and like Bruce Lee, we believe in learning from experience and in being lean and agile in our process to respond to rapidly changing environments and opportunities.

Catalysed by increased interest in design thinking, the tools of service design are being employed by diverse groups to deal with big challenges in both public and private sectors. Here in New Zealand there are a number of service design teams that have been set up in departments across Government. Although these teams contain highly capable individuals with diverse backgrounds, in my experience, they lack the design leadership required to achieve significant impact within their organisations. This can also result in a dogmatic approach to methodology, a natural default when teams are required to build capability “on the job”. At DNA we see an opportunity to provide leadership and assist internal teams to develop confidence in design tools.

We also believe there is potential for experienced designers to evolve popular design methodologies. Practitioners who understand design culture and have the confidence and experience to remove the ostentatious can adapt new influences and enhance service design practise. Like Bruce Lee, we want to edit out the superfluous whilst taking on new influences and respond to each individual situation in a lean and agile way.

We believe in doing this without compromising intellectual rigour, creativity or value.Both business and user value need to be equitable, otherwise the risk lay in skewing outcomes and missing opportunities for innovation along the way. A user-centred approach balanced with business and technical requirements are pivotal to the success of any project, be it an iterative improvement in a single channel customer experience or end-to-end service transformation.

We do not see Service Design as distinct from Customer Experience Design, or only successful if it uses this method or that method, and we hope to free our clients from clinging to styles, patterns or molds. Remember that service design is merely a name used for designing and delivering excellent services in the most customer-centred way possible.

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Service Design

Like changing airplanes in mid-flight

Stephen Maskell November 2011

A client the other day used the analogy of changing airplanes in mid-flight to describe what service design is like for most businesses.

Imagine yourself flying along at 31,000 feet in a rather old aircraft that is getting a bit tatty around the edges – it smells a bit, rattles and shakes constantly, is not very fuel efficient and the food really sucks.

A brand new shiny, gleaming, fuel efficient and much more comfortable plane – representing what your business could and potentially should be – is flying right next to you. You really want to be on the that plane and not the one you are on.

It's easy to want to be on that other plane – the hard bit is transferring yourself and all your passenges (customers) while you are in mid-flight.

Through applying service design thinking it may be relatively easy to identify what needs to change with your business – the challenge still remains how you will make those changes especially when your business probably doesn't have the funding, resources, capability or time.

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Service Design

Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean

Increasingly we are seeing clients purporting to be this, that, and the other; all entwined in highly crafted/litigated value and corporate mission statements. The reality of gaining consensus from the populous for such things means ending up with generic statements that can be applied the world over: like ‘People focussed…’ or ‘Trusted…’ or ‘Integrity…’. Excuse me, but aren’t these baseline requirements of doing business today? Worse still are those that are bandying around words like ‘innovative…’, ‘responsive…’ or ‘genuine…’. By golly, you start putting these up, you’d better be prepared to be that. So, the danger is in being too vanilla in one sense, or over-promising in another. Finding an organisation’s true character, one that is expressed uniquely with a healthy dose of reality is a much harder game. You can run all the group sessions you want, but you’ve got to dig deep for the golden grains; the nuggets of irrefutable truth. They generally won’t come from the mouth of the CEO (or his wife), but from someone who’s doing the hard yards, like the call centre operator doing the graveyard shift. Time to tune into a bit of old-fashioned, fine-tuned listening.

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Service Design

Poverty is a design issue.

The design stories less told are those that don’t result in one of the artefacts we have come to associate with the design process – world beating products, engaging aps, powerful communications, alluring brands, stunning interiors or seductively simple customer experiences in retail. This artefact-less design approach is increasingly being labelled design thinking. In our view it is just the underpinnings of good artefact design applied to something a little more esoteric or intangible.

Late last year in an interesting sign of the times Treasury asked New Zealand at large what it thought government should do about the large numbers of New Zealanders trapped in poverty. At least two responses used design thinking to shape their replies. One was a workshop run by Thinkplace, organised by Auckland city mission and the Auckland council, the other was the Kiwi Gov Jam, a DNA, Thinkplace, Optimal and DIA result 10 session for government designers. 

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Service Design

Working at DNA is different.

‘Eating our own dogfood’ is DNA shorthand for practicing what we preach, and our business model gave us a real opportunity to do just that. Three years ago we applied the design thinking that is central to our approach to the very way we employed people and ran our business.

We rely on talent and the talent we need is rare.  Operating across many disciplines in two locations and serving the needs of a large client base whilst being still a small organisation, means there is often a miss-match between supply and demand – too few people and too much work or the opposite. 

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Service Design

Is Service Design sustainable?

A 2010 study by the University of Massachusetts found that although the production of a DVD had 78% more embodied energy than the same web-streamed movie, the latter had a carbon footprint almost double. 

Services are intangible things, increasingly pushed through digital channels, meaning the complexity and the effort required to deliver them often remains hidden. Which begs the question: Do we really understand the environmental impact of a service?

Industrial design is a discipline that has struggled with the environmental impact of its artifacts for many decades. It’s widely recognised that products should be environmentally friendly, yet the “the paradigm shift” to cradle-to-cradle remains a distant mirage.

 

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Service Design

Great jam, pity about the sandwiches.

Over two days in July, 30 plus people involved in service design in government agencies came together to jam. Over the day and a half of extremely intense activity those new to the service design process are introduced to some of its basic techniques. Then in small teams all participants have a nine to five day to address a particular service design challenge.  

This is the third kiwi Gov jam that has been run and is based on the annual international service design jam concept. The Kiwi Gov Jam is a public good initiative from, DNA, Optimal Experience, Thinkplace, UCOL and the Designers Institute of New Zealand(DINZ). The Result 10 team at DIA provide governmental support, hosting and logistics.

Over the day and a half of extremely intense activity those new to the service design process are introduced to some of its basic techniques. Then in small teams all participants have a nine to five day to address a particular service design challenge. The day includes live research on Wellington streets which sets the scene and grounds the teams in real user experiences – this apect exposes the passions, disappointments’ and points of pain that real users and citizens experience in current services.

 

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Service Design

Wear more black

Sherryn Macdonald June 2011

Black has always been in style for the customer, so its great news companies are on board to. The thing is, I think they always knew, but it was all too hard. After all service design is all about rhythm and sequencing. It’s synchronising the front of house shown to customers with the back of house behind the scenes systems and processes.

As customers we are highly sensitive to the rhythm of service design. We feel the irritant of the lunchtime queues as staff go on their own lunch break; of nifty internet banking calendars which tell us when my visa is due but not the amount; of calling the 0800 number and having to tell each person I am passed onto my account number; of having to print out and remember my discount voucher even though it is sitting on my phone.

Check out the capitalized statement which upsets the rhythm on this brand spanking new homepage. Front end, all bright and smiley. Back end, business as usual. Am sure their mortgage customers wished they had worn more black.

The absolute good news is black is always in style. Ask any designer or architect.

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Service Design

Not all services are designed equal

Grenville Main October 2011

Every service experience you love or loathe has been designed – maybe in bits, sometimes as a whole. And that includes even the really, really bad ones. Lately we have been 'talking' Service Design with a few of our clients and 'doing' Service Design with others. What we have observed is that Service Design can be both a big, scary spectre and a liberating and transformative opportunity for businesses. People have described it as either small, iterative and manageable or all- encompassing and holistic – but, simply put, Service Design is the practice of delivering great on-brand customer experiences using optimised and efficient business systems and operations. 

The thing we've noticed is that many businesses look to improve customer experience, and many also look to streamline processes, improve their offers, migrate to the channels and Touchpoints their customers most use, cut costs and so on. Service Design is the practice of doing both in unison.

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