Jax Wechsler

Service Design Workshop with Marc Stickdorn @UNSW

I feel very fortunate about attending a 3 day workshop with Marc Stickdorn co-author of  This is Service Design Thinking over the last few days. It was organised by UNSW and consisted of a really interesting mix of people from diverse backgrounds including students, academics, professionals and UX/Service Design practitioners.

A note to the Service Design Community
Marc thinks that we need to share more in Australia! He thinks we should collaborate more and support each other. He said that instead of guarding our own slice of pie – if we share and collaborate more – we will grow the pie. With this in mind I decided to write an extensive post sharing my learnings from the seminar. Please share and leave me feedback if you like 🙂

1. Why You Should Care About Service Design

Some supporting literature

a. Experience Economy by Pine & Gilmore 1999

b. Service Dominant Logic  – Vargo, S. and R. Lusch (2004), “Evolving to a new dominant logic in Marketing,” /Journal of Marketing, /68, 1-17

c. The rise of Social Media: trust in peers more than trust in organisations.

2. The Workshop Format

Marc made us work but it was fun so it didn’t feel like work! We broke into groups and over three days used various service design tools to design a new service or solve a business problem. It was really great to learn new methods by doing. His process is really experiential and I do not believe that you can really learn it without doing it. It was great to do the activities and then reflect on them afterwards on a meta-level in order for us to experience the process as well as better understand  how to facilitate these methods.

3. The Process & Learnings

 3.1 Do! Don’t talk.

Marc gave us a really short amount of time to do things so we could not talk about it but had to jump straight in and do it. We created lots of “shitty first drafts” which we could then refine. This proto-typing method enabled the free flow of ideas – both shitty and not shitty. We started the day off creating a very shitty first draft of a new service in 5 minutes – so we got failure or the fear of it out of the way early on in the day.

3.2 What workshops are really about…

Workshops are about getting people who usually don’t talk to talk. They are about creating empathy with the customer within cross-disciplinary teams and about seeing things from multiple perspectives. Services are complex and co-created by many different actors over time. These workshops enable an understanding of this complexity, and it’s associated relationships, dependencies, value chains and power structures. All of which play important roles in customer experience and service delivery.

3.3 Activities

Some of the exercises that we did in our groups included. These can all be found in the This is Service Design Thinking book.

  • the mapping of value networks (example below) – who are the actors involved and what are their relationships and what values are exchanged?

  • quick ad-hot personas (although these should have been data-driven!)
  • Customer journey maps

  • Service Blue-prints
3.4 Story-telling and prototyping
Marc organised a Skype chat with the guys from Work Play Experience (also the guys behind  Global Service Jam) who use theatrical/role-playing methods (which they call “investigative rehearsal”) as a tool-set for modelling interactions within service design workshops. This is a form of experience prototyping whereby the group can act out the existing situation and understand the actors involved and their emotional experiences. Everyone can relate to a story and everyone can relate to a scene being acted out….and everyone can act! With this format there is no layer of abstraction which needs to be understood to consider or represent a service concept. “Investigative rehearsal” is a really good way to identify the real problems within a situation and explore alternative possibilities. Interestingly this method was inspired by Forum Theatre which was utilised in South America to understand the plight of oppressed villagers to understand and help improve their circumstances.
This exercise proved to us that PROTOTYPING HAS VALUE and a LOW cost!
Especially this type.
3.5 The Service Tweet or the Service Poster
Being able to explain your service in 140 characters or representing the key concept of your service within a poster is an important tool for you to keep focus. It is so important for everyone involved in your project to have a shared vision of what you are working on. (I have blogged about the need for all products/projects to have experience principles elsewhere – so important for product differentiation and consistent service delivery..)
3.5 The steak and the Sizzle
We need steak and we need sizzle.
Service design and the methods we learnt can help with both.
3.6 One common language 
There is one common language and that is the customer!
These methods enable a human centered perspective which everyone can understand.
These tools are powerful ways to break down internal silos and create delightful experiences for your customers, and subsequent customer advocacy and service differentiation! These methods can provide language and frameworks for conversation and service improvement and innovation.
THANKS to Mark Stickdorn, UNSW, Selena Griffith who organised this and to everyone who co-created this experience. Great to meet you all.
It was fun! I am hoping to be able to use my learnings in my practice really soon!

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