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2021-06-01

Designing an experience for your entire ecosystem

Author: Barbara Larcin

Earlier this year, Emakina launched a DXD team to enhance our user-centric approach. Service design is a big part of the team’s offering. They create digital solutions that bring happiness to your user, and they also help your organisation to carry out this change. As today is Service Design Day, we grab the opportunity to unpack this fascinating topic.

So let’s celebrate! But… what is service design?

With the pandemic, digital transformation has been accelerated on a global scale. It was time for many businesses to rethink the user experience within their entire ecosystem. Service design is the discipline that creates a wonderful experience for your users, as well as for every key actor in your project (employees, stakeholders, etc).

Over the past few months, we saw more and more of our public and private services going digital. Nowadays, everything is a service. That includes typical services like the ones provided by online shops, but also less obvious products like mobility, banking or health management. Creating a unique experience for a service – no matter it is – will drive user choice in the market. How this works, is explained in the tale of two coffee shops by Marc Fonteijn (and shown in this short video).

Because of the recent wave of digitisation, organisations need to fundamentally rethink their services and adapt them to our new way of living. When a business takes its offer offline and turns it into an online service, it can’t translate it ‘word by word’. For example: when a shop that’s known for its location suddenly has to go online, how does it regain its competitive edge? A new context needs a new strategy. It’s necessary for every business to design a new experience for every user.

When businesses change (or are forced to change) their way of doing things, there may be friction from its users but also from its service stakeholders. Therefore, a service designer can help to facilitate a co-creation process that shapes a new experience for the entire eco-system.

Service design or design thinking?

It’s true, design thinking and service design are very closely related. In a few words: design thinking is a mindset that service designers will apply in their process. Design thinking will be used across other disciplines like UX design, UX research and content design. All of these new fields of expertise are part of the ‘human-centred design’ family. These disciplines are user-focused, and one of the main features of service design is to come up with an implementation action plan for the organisation and its whole ecosystem.

A collaborative approach is one of the key aspects of a service designer’s job. They always aim to facilitate interactions between the user, the client, the expert and the new service. To build a specific solution, a service designer doesn’t work alone. They unite experts around a table, each from a different context and with varying objectives. Just like industrial or graphic designers, service designers have a set of tools they use to take a problem from the thinking stage to the solution stage– such as interviews, collaborative canvases, user test, etc.

Some free goodies for you on Service Design Day

A question our Service Designers often get is “we want to involve our users or our employees, do you have a canvas to host a workshop?” A service designer’s toolbox is continuously growing and there is no secret recipe to solve every problem. Projects are always different, so it’s necessary to adapt an approach to your context and objectives. And above all, to adapt your approach to the experience you want to create during your workshop.

For this Service Design Day, our DXD team wants to inspire you and help you put theory into practice. We have two free online toolboxes to check out:

1. SDT toolbox: Here you’ll find a set of tools that correspond to different aspects of a project: the stage of your progress, the aspect of the service you want to work on, the type of profile you want to engage in the process and even the type of deliverable you want to get.

2. Platform Design Toolkit: A specific toolbox for digital projects, it gathers different tools that cover all the stages of a project. What makes it extra nice is that it also works with online collaboration tools like Miro. In a few clicks, you can get a workspace and try out this new way of thinking and doing.

Happy Service Design Day!

On this day it’s important to remember that in this period of digital acceleration, service design is a discipline that helps an organisation to design a project within an entire ecosystem. With a design thinking mindset, service designers and other disciplines of human-centred design are shaping solutions with the user at the centre. The user is and always will be Emakina’s main priority. Designing a solution without thinking about the ecosystem the solution must live in can cause a lot of friction. It’s the opposite of what we aim for: to make a solution useful, viable and desirable.

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