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Marc Stickdorn and Adam Lawrence ‘A Service Design 360’

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September 25, 2018
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Completed Episodes
September 25, 2018

Marc Stickdorn and Adam Lawrence ‘A Service Design 360’

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Chi: 00:05 Hello and welcome to another episode of this is HCD. I’m your host Chi Ryan and Aussie designer, living in working in New York City. In this episode, I’m catching up with Marc Stickdorn and Adam Lawrence, co-authors of the cult service design books. This is Service Design Thinking and more recently This is Service Design Doing. If you aren’t familiar with either of the books, we’ll put the links into the show notes for this episode, but before we get into the show, we’re always looking for podcast sponsors and if you’d like to support the show and see 100% of your sponsorship going directly to Cara Care and incredible NGO that helps support children who have suffered abuse, get in touch. Marc, Adam and I cover a lot of territory in this episode, so strap yourself in and get ready for a wild ride into the world of service design thinking and doing so. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us. That is excellent. What brings you to New York City?

Adam: 01:05 Run a school. This is service design, doing the essential score, which is a three day course about service design thinking, service design doing and it’s aimed at people who are making that step in their organizations and we run it a few times around the world. So it was kind of a, a tour on a global tour. Two locations in it.

Chi: 01:25 Yeah, rockstars. Exactly. Obviously. Excellent. We like that here. So what’s the response been to the book and to the course.

Marc: 01:35 So to the bookers was absolutely amazing to see that response. We launched it the beginning of January and, and it exceeded our expectations. So we actually, we sold around 20,000 books already in like half a year and we and the fourth or fifth reprint now, so that, that’s just amazing. We never thought something like that going to happen. Oh, that’s

Adam: 02:01 lots. Lots of downloads of the free methods as well. We have, we took some parts of the book which we couldn’t fit in the book in the final version. Went in the book as sort of mini descriptions and we put the full-length versions online as well in many thousand people that downloaded those swabs. 200 more pages.

Chi: 02:18 It’s definitely a staple of most studios. It’s definitely on the desks of a few people in my studio at ID and here in New York. And it’s one that I referenced frequently. I mean I’m a little bit biased because I’m kind of in it, but it’s um, it’s a fantastic reference and both books are actually. Did you find that there was a different response from the first one to the second one?

Marc: 02:42 Oh, absolutely. I mean also the time has changed, right? The first book we published in 2010, so we worked on that mainly 2009 and 2010. There was not many books and sources about services and at that time it was mainly the agencies who were publishing and a few academic on, in scholarly journals, but there was not like a book full of the community by the community. And there was the idea of the first book to actually invite the whole community and cokes rate the first book about that. So the first one is more a collection of articles, a collection of methods which we crowdsource again, so there were like 70 people working on the book plus 20 authors of it. Whereas the new book is really different because there were four people behind the book, a three authors, Marcus, Adam and me and Jacob, the design of the book and the four of us actually wrote most of it, but then we invited the community to around 200 people to review everything that we did to cope with that and another hundred experts and coauthors who contributed to the case studies and so on. So we’re really a community effort with this time facilitated by us, but more than 300 people participated there.

Chi: 03:57 Finally, you mentioned the design of the book. My mom has a theory. I have to tell you a story about my mom by the way, because I think you’ll love it, but my mom has a theory about design books that they’re always yellow and you guys have a little bit of Joey Zeledon and who was a previous guest on the sHis He’s book is also yellow, so I feel like mom’s got onto something here, but funnily enough, the story about Mommy’s that she was a nurse and she’s recently done a service design course. It was a 10 week course at Academy Xii in Australia and because of, that she got a new job. Congratulations. Choose Mum. Yeah, go mom. I’m as a educator and I kind of experienced officer if you like, for a really unique facility in Melbourne, which is one of only two in the world and it’s A.

Chi: 04:44 I don’t want to call it a a care facility. It’s a home facility for 20 people who are fully ventilated. So the whole idea behind this facility is that these people can live fully normal, happy lives to the absolute maximum because they’re fully ventilated on a lot of them are paraplegics and have various other challenges. That means that they’re not mobile. That means that you have to facilitate the experience around what they’re doing and it’s really amazing. They actually headhunted her and when they hit hunted or they said they came after her because of her clinical experience plus the service design. And I think it’s amazing because I mean I went to visit and seeing that I think really helps you understand the breadth of service design. Service design tends to be this thing that gets a little bit pigeon holed into, Oh, certainly from my perspective tends to. If you’re only listening to, I guess the commercial end of it, it often is digital service design in many ways, but there’s a lot broader service design out there. And actually the first time that I met you at service design days in that was the thing that I walked away with from that conference was just how broad service design can be. Is that something you guys have noticed? I mean, I think it’s apparent in sources I’m doing, but

Adam: 06:08 absolutely. I mean digitalization. Digital right now of course is huge. It’s a revolution and they showed you everything that we do, but it doesn’t change the fundamental aspects of who we are and most of our lives and when I wake up in the morning, I’m not digital, you know, and my breakfast, I’m not being digital. All these things I do, which don’t involve an app where you don’t even involve data flowing around, you know, it’s still the great majority of my life and it’s especially important in the things that I care about. You know, you talked about people there in your mother’s new workplace where it’s about the quality of life. It’s beyond the health side of it in terms of technicalities of looking after somebody with those challenges and it’s going to. Right. What’s the, what’s the, what’s actually important to people? And it’s not just survival.

Adam: 06:52 It’s so much more than that and so much of that can be enabled digitally and can be enriched digitally. But you know, I like sitting by the river and that is a very important part of people’s life to one of the great things around, I think service design. I come from a theater background, so I guess I’m one of the least digital people out there is that it embraces all of this stuff. I mean as long as it impacts the human consciousness and has some influence on the world and you can handle it using this great open tool set.

Chi: 07:21 How do you hang onto that humanness in a space where, I don’t know, I certainly feel like I get pushed and pulled into doing this in a certain way because some people expect it to be done that way and then getting pulled in another direction to do it the way someone else wants to do it. How do you maintain that humanness if you like? How do you hang onto humanity while you’re going through this? Especially with corporate clients,

Adam: 07:48 I try to stay as low tech as I can as long as I can. So when I’m, for example, working on a service that might be born through digital channels, some of was going to be an app or something like that before I moved to even to wireframing will rehearse it, you know, every app that we use today was a human being 15 years ago. Every machine we use today as human being a hundred and 50 years ago or an animal. So you can use those that form to prototype it. So if we’re designing an APP then we have a conversation first and one of us plays the APP, one of the plays a user and we get that conversation right until we need to move onto go behind the glass to go into the screen world. And that’s the thing which I found working with some quite high tech people has been revolutionary for them, you know, because what they do is they normally see a challenge and they have a fantastic level of knowledge and best practices and they go into wire framing straight away like wireframing ninjas and boom, it’s done, you know.

Adam: 08:48 And I said to one group, why don’t you try just acting this out? First of all, a bit unwilling at first because it was lunchtime and understand a light lunch as well, but they did do it and they said, wow, we actually discovered after this that we were going down the same old road of our best practices. We always go down and just getting back to the human to human or human to machine in this case exchange, but on a human level really opened up whole new avenues I’d not seen before. It’s also the fastest possible way to iterate. We just change the conversation, change it again, try a different one. You know, I call me sometimes genie in a bottle prototyping because I play if you like the APP as a human being, as a concierge if you like. But I can pull videos out of the air. I know instantly where am I stock is, you know, all these things I couldn’t do. But getting it right so it feels right as a, as a conversation first and then switching to digital platform. I think you’d love it. I actually come back,

Chi: 09:44 my mom again, I talk about her all the time in the podcast. Everyone should know her name’s Reese and she’s really cool. You should check her out on Linkedin. It’s really cute. So this is one you might want to steal. Okay. So she has to educate people who are working in this space, right? Not Unlike the rest of us do in our own spaces. So she has to help people understand what it’s like to be fully ventilated, know, build empathy around that. So she devised this activity where what she does is she gets the people that she’s educating to blow up a balloon and she says, okay, now blow it up as big as you can, and I blow up these big balloons issues, let it down, let it down. Now tie a knot in the end of it. And then she said, blow it up again. And she says to them, that is the feeling. Well that is what happens when a trickier gets blocked. And she said it’s been revolutionary in the way that these people and their clinicians care is their family members. It’s been revolutionizing the way that these people understand and empathize with these people that live there, so those types of things. Acting things out, physical things can be so powerful.

Adam: 11:01 We aren’t and we remain physical beatings. I mean until we go fully sublime into the ais, you know, an upload. I’m in our consciousness into some kind of digital world even though we’re going to have a much more complex world around us with augmenting and virtual realities around us. We’re still going to remain physical beings for a long time.

Chi: 11:19 So you guys have been, I guess at the coalface of service design for awhile. What are the main things that you’ve seen change and what do you think that the big things that are going to affect service design as a practice will be coming up?

Marc: 11:35 What if we think like 10, 12 years ago when we did this first book, it was mainly about proving that service design is a thing. Selling service design and showing that actually it is valuable to invest into doing that. And that’s certainly changed a few years ago and now we have not enough services on a south thing because that’s a lack out there and there’s a huge Marcet for it actually. And it became a big business, which also means of course a lot of agencies, business consultancies kind of jumping on the bandwagon using the term because it’s a buzzword delivering well, let’s say not that valuable work which kind of burns also the term again. But what we’re seeing right now is that it actually starts to settle in in many large organization. And that goes back to your earlier question of how can we bring in customer centricity in an organization and often what’s missing is kind of devil’s advocate in the organization who always gives the user, the customer, the end user if face or the employees of it’s about internal services.

Marc: 12:41 Some one more hr departments are using that as well because I like to crow jared Spool who recently tweeted empathy is not a step in a design process. Emphases something you do all the time and you have to practice it. And that is where many organizations are still struggling with because they only get empathy with customers when they’re working with an external services on agency. So how can we bring that in house, how can we build competence of that in house and only work with external agency when it actually becomes useful on a concrete project, but you need to practice that and an ongoing basis internally all the time.

Chi: 13:24 Coming back to what you just said about competency, I think that the industry is certainly, from my perspective is going through a bit of a strange time at the moment and um, it’s a little bit like there was this shift from, I don’t know, various other forms of design to everybody jumping on the Ux bandwagon. And then over the last couple of years there’s this jump from Ux to service design. And in fact actually what I’m seeing at the moment is a jumped from service design to product design, which is a bit weird. But anyway, what do people need to understand about being competent when it comes to service design? The way that I often describe it myself is that I feel like I only know a few service designers. I don’t know that many. I know people who practice service design, but I don’t know if I would call them service designers. They have various different backgrounds. I don’t even call myself a service designer. What are your thoughts on that?

Marc: 14:23 I totally agree with that. It’s so dishonest. A team sport and you need many different backgrounds, many different competencies to actually fulfill it. You might need somebody who can facilitate this process, but actually I don’t care which label you put on there and if you talked to service design practitioners, what many shares that, hey, I’ve been doing that long before. I heard the term service design. That’s. That’s what I’ve been doing and now finally I have a term for that and it’s opening a community where I have find likeminded people at opening up a toolbox full of tools and methods and different case studies I can refer to, but actually what you call yourself, which label you put on that. It depends so much on your own background on the culture. The organization culture you’re working, so working with clients, have coded design, thinking of the cold service design are the call it customer experience or experience design, other just called innovation or new Marceting or whatever. I don’t care what you put on that man, whatever, so it really depends which label you put on there. You need to look beyond the labels and understand how do people work and and do we share the same mindset and do we share similar tools and methods and do we share a design process or is it actually just a linear process and you call it design process.

Adam: 15:46 That’s really important I think to understand that these labels and not very important. Our colleague Sarah Drummond, genius colleague from Snook Scottish Agency people come to her and say, I want to be a service designer. She says, okay, where do you work? And they said, oh. He says, okay, start tomorrow in wherever you are. You can do this. You can bring people together. Maybe unofficially, you know you can get around the table, you can get out, talk to your users and customers and colleagues and stuff like this. You can start building and crappy prototypes, you can stop messing around with them and learning that way. It’s just, it doesn’t need to be on your business card and what’s on it doesn’t matter, you know, are you, are you working in a way which is pragmatic, which is based on reality, which is iterative and cocreative and if you’re doing that then called for service designer. That’s fine.

Chi: 16:31 What’s the difference between service design and design thinking? I didn’t know. Tell me. Well, I have an opinion on that, but I’d like to hear yours first.

Marc: 16:41 It depends. I think it goes beyond these two phrases. For me, I don’t make a difference. It depends on who says that and what do you put in there. So design thing is of course a term often used by business consultancies to phrase it as a one hour format of ideation, using posted notes that that’s not. I mean if you look into the literature behind it and all that, it’s way more than that of course, but that’s how it is often sold. But again, look beyond the terminology, I don’t. I don’t care what label you put on there for me too. Same.

Adam: 17:17 Yeah. I think the distinctions, when is it useful to distinguish between them and if you’re a historian of design history then then you might see a design thing coming up in [inaudible] 91 I think in, in the states and so on. And services aren’t around the same time happening in Europe, you know? And but as Marc said, if you look at what these people are doing, they’re doing the same thing. So I think there is in most cases no useful distinction between the terms.

Chi: 17:39 Is it the way that I’d like to describe it personally is that design thinking is a tool for in particular getting non-designers involved in the design process. Service design I’d like to think is the design of services western just and those two things are not mutually exclusive. So like I kind of feel like you can sort of, you know, you can differentiate them and I do think that there’s overlap. There’s overlap in every design discipline and I think I spent a lot of time and I’m sure that you guys do to trying to help people understand what the different terminology that people in design use, you know, an and also trying to cut through the bullshit when it comes to that language because there’s so much fluff going around at the moment and has been for a long time, but design thinking is certainly something that I would use with, with people in the service design process, but I’m not necessarily sure that they go through all of the process or all of the people. It’s about contribution. Right, and giving people the tools that they need at the time that they can contribute. I don’t know.

Marc: 18:44 I think hose, I’ll call it from from scad is a much smarter man than I am and using language that I can use academic language, but his basic method which he frozen away, which sounds much smarter than I can, is why are we worrying about defining it. Let’s just do it and he talks about how exposure to these methods is much more important definition of them because then that there are more ways to understand the thing that I’m putting words around it. It’s also a question of personalities. If I, if I make crowed, my brilliant colleague, Adam, he often, you forgot. You have to say that you forgot to say good looking, so later, later, give you in the second column. There are different personalities. Some people are more lumpers. What others are more splitters, lumpers are the ones who look in similarities in different approaches was split as try to clearly define that and then half a clear distinction between them and if you look at academia, academia tries to define it. They like to split and have clear distinctions between that of course, and that’s that’s useful. However, as a practitioner I’m more interested in the similarities that we share and then I would actually open it up between not only services on design thinking but also experienced design or anything related to agile and lean. If we go in into software development and management, because actually we share a lot between all these different approaches and maybe what we share is more important than actually what is the distinction between them.

Chi: 20:13 It, it’s hot in the business world because you’re having to. And certainly from a practitioner perspective, you know when you have to hire people and you have to put a job ad out there and you have to try to put some definition around something so that you can find the right people or a client hires you and they say, well, who’s going to be working on this thing? And you have to put some definition around something. You know, it’s a tight rope because you know, having no definition would be fine. In fact, I once had a conversation with Marc Curtis from fjord and we were talking about not having any titles in design and it was something that he told me that he tried to implement at razorfish many years ago and it didn’t quite work because, you know, there does need to be some, some definition around it. So when it comes to organizations, how do you get around that? Like what could you do to make it, I guess we’ll let less defined but more defined in a way

Adam: 21:12 we use that language. So if you go to a website you have to look very hard to find the word service design on there. My company a different one for Marcs, but you know we said what are you doing? And then we use that terminology. So some of them will call it customer experience work or innovation. Those are the two terms you hear most often. There are very few executive vice presidents for service design in the world, but there are plenty of vps of innovation or vps of customer experience. So we’ll use that terminology and I think that’s important because we are trying to implement change which they will see and be able to measure in the structures that they’re using today. So going in there to say you also need to understand the world differently is part of that process. But it might’ve been the thing you said at the beginning, you know, people think let’s say design thinking. That’s probably the best example. They first of all think it’s a workshop and then they do a couple of workshops and they figure out, oh actually maybe it’s a way of managing projects, only do a few parades. Anything actually as a culture change, but you can’t go in and sell a culture change. You start by setting workshops and you couch that in terminologies which they feel happy using.

Marc: 22:20 And then again it is a team sport. So if you, if you think of a large corporate who sets up their brand new service design team, do you want to hire 10 service designers or do you want to hire ethnography phrase, coders, content strategy and designers. So actually what you want is a is a more diverse team and yes you need to put some labels in there and it probably depends on the community you’re fishing in, what clicks? Mostly there. So in Europe I would rather search for services on the U. S I might rather search for experience design or design thinking. It depends a little bit on where you are, what actually you want a diverse team

Chi: 22:59 with different backgrounds. I guess once you get to that, once you recognize that you have this need, how do you go about embedding service design in an organization? What do you have to do?

Marc: 23:11 Well basically you need to things and so for repeating, because I think I talked about Jerry already in another question, so you know he didn’t like your first child needs. Definitely. Yeah. All right. I’ll try better this time. So basically you’d need two things. If you want to really embed serve standing organization, you need a dedicated team who’s really intrinsically motivated to work in that. Who wants to learn it wants to build up competence, but then also you need management buy in and and with management buying them. I mean not only budget but actually time to do that because what will fail for sure is if you’d say, hey, we’re going to do service design, here’s the team. You’d do it, but you also keep the tasks. You have your daily work you’re already working on. So if just put it on top of it will not work.

Marc: 24:00 So you need to have the time to do it. A team to do that and then also time in the sense of implementing it because you can’t just train a bunch of people and they will be efficiently working from next day on, so you need to learn how do you adapt the terminology, the tools, the methods, the process to the existing culture processes, structures there and that often takes a few projects, so you need to do what we like to call some stealth projects where you don’t label it service design, design thinking, whatever, but when you actually practice it and you learn how to practice it and you learn how to phrase it, and over time you will become more confident in that and finding your own language, terminology, processes in that and once it’s clicking, then you can start communicating slowly with that.

Adam: 24:49 I think around that, around that, that dedicated team and as part of that management buy in around that is you need an awareness in the organization as a whole. The things are changing, so you’re going to have. I’ve known design projects, design projects that have all thousands of people and if and if you’re drawing in thousands of people or hundreds or tens into your research, into your prototyping and your ideation sessions, they’re going to be faced with a very different way of working than they used to and I think you, beside the sort of the qualification or or recruitment of dedicated team, you’re also going to need to have a general awareness in the organization around that. This is a human center design story, but the company’s Swisscom, which is the incumbent for monopolistic telecommunications in Switzerland. Really Great Company. They went through a thing probably about 10 years ago now where they said, okay, human center design is is our sort of core and we’re going to have our champions and our teams and our and our sort of hubs of physical health was going to happen and so on, but everybody needs seven design skills and so everybody in the organization, many tens of thousands of people got maybe 45 minutes or an hour and a half just to understand what was going on.

Adam: 26:04 You know, why things are being less linear these days, why they were going to be probably drawn into projects in the future, uh, working in a different way than they were used to. And that’s essential as well. I think you need to have that general understanding of this stuff, what you see as postits because of course what they do is they come back to the office and hang up posters, but they’d been out talking to people for weeks before that or around that, you know, to see that bought. Then they’re out testing prototypes and because all you see as opposed to it’s on a wall, it doesn’t mean all we’re doing is posters on a wall pretty. I love sticky notes of all varieties. Other brands are available, but that has become such a cliche and unfortunately a trivialization of what we do because the rest of it is not visible. People don’t see the, especially the research activities because they are literally somewhere else and they think that it’s, again, we’re getting a confusion between service design, design thinking and ideation. People think it’s about creativity. I think it’s about having ideas and that’s an important part, but only part of what’s going on.

Chi: 27:15 Thoughts on Natasha Gins, design thinking is bullshit.

Adam: 27:19 I have not read that. I’ve heard some comments around it talk. I’d be very. She makes some comments about postit notes in particular, but what exactly what I think honestly design thinking in the way that many people are selling it and understanding it is utter bullshit. That doesn’t mean that this way of working done well. It’s bullshit because we see enormous successes around it and we see people doing fantastic work and it’s not the only you have the mountain. Of course there are many ways to do great work. What we’re saying is let’s do something which makes sense to the users and the people delivering it and let’s not trust our first idea, but let’s prototype and improve on the first ideas that we haven’t let them evolve in reality and it’s very hard to call that bullshit. That’s just a very sound way of doing work. It’s how, for example, scientific process works is how science labs work

Chi: 28:08 as A. I mean, my background is I started out as a visual designer and you know, there was perceptions when I first started out around visual design and this still is to be fair, you know, it’s people who make shit pretty or you know, whatever it is, and interestingly enough, I think that still remains today. Um, even when it comes to, I guess what you would call strategic disciplines of design or human centered design or whatever you want to call these things. You know, there’s still a perception that there’s a tangible outcome, you know, that there’s going to be a thing and maybe there’s something in the post it notes as being a thing that comes, is reduced because sometimes it is conversation. It’s changing a mindset. It’s not actually about the outcome at all. It’s about the path that you took to get to that outcome.

Chi: 28:57 You know, I had a client not that long ago that I, W I met up with it and uh, we were talking and she laughed and she said, Oh, we spent billions of dollars on all of those projects and we didn’t really follow through with many of them and at first I was kind of sad because I thought, oh well, you know, there wasn’t a lot of outcome, but then I thought about it and I think the thing that really stuck with me was that she said that it changed your life, that, you know, doing those projects changed everything about the way that she worked and she wasn’t the only one. And ultimately what are we talking about? We’re talking about a mindset, a way of thinking about the world and the way that we put stuff in it. I think there two to that.

Marc: 29:42 So first I totally agree with, we don’t do service design project just for the pros of going through a process and having beautiful journey maps that never get implemented. Right. That’s crap. So for me, service design projects is done when you had an impact on employees, citizens, customers, users, whatever you focus on, and only then a project was actually successful and all the tools we use, stuff like persona system, maps, journey maps are just tools we use on our way and they’re meant to be thrown away because if you, if you have a beautiful journey map which you do not revisit, which you do not update, which is not a living boundary object, it’s useless after a short amount of time. So that’s the one part. The other side is the way we work. We trigger culture would change in organizations and for that the process actually is important and yes, especially in the beginning, projects will fail. Absolutely because you’re triggering a change in that organization that takes some time, but that can’t be an excuse to do year after year. Crappy service design project that have no impact whatsoever. So both sides have valid. But I think the second one. So going through the process just for cultural change is a means and that should have the aim of transforming an organization and then you should have an impact on the customer, user, citizen and so on,

Chi: 31:17 you know, impacts a difficult thing to measure and it takes time to measure impact you. It’s not, we are so used to living in a world where we had driven by quick winds. If you like, you know, I’m getting a quick result from something, you know, is this going to drive up sales? Is this going to cut our costs? But what I find is that certainly working in this space, a lot of the outcomes take a lot longer to figure out what the impact is. How do you think you can prepare your clients, um, and maybe other types of stakeholders for that kind of thinking. Because that is a real shift in the business world.

Adam: 31:59 Well that’s your first service design project is designing your project for your client. And one of the sort of truisms I think of all this work is this works better in German, but you, you have to pick people up where they are, you know, you can’t wish the client was somehow different. You can’t wish they weren’t using single silo kpis and a three month business thinking cycle of getting the next figures out because they are. And that’s just as valid a client need as your end users will have or your employees will have in the project as well. So you start with that, you know, and that may need education that may need to get them out and get them out on the street to see what other organizations are doing or to see what they use as a kneading and to very clearly sketched the, the gulf between what they’re actually measuring and what’s being needed by people.

Adam: 32:56 Yeah. But that is part of your project. Just as you would do it, you would do your research, uh, in the, in the final core part of the project. You need to do that in the setup of the project as well. And then they will start, it might. My favorite trick is when they start getting a cross functional Kpis, when they start having kpis that go between different silos, they start searching for a method to communicate between Marceting and sales and legal or whatever it is. Yeah. And a way to work together. And they nearly always end up with those design. So there’s a lot of

Chi: 33:27 different types of ways to educate around this. You guys are doing your own thing in that space. Like I said, my mom did a 10 week course. There’s one day things, there’s three years things, there’s masters, there’s all kinds of things that you can do to educate yourself, will potentially have someone else educate you, whichever way you want to look at it. What’s the difference? How do you navigate through that? Like if you’re a young designer or if you’re a more mature woman like my mom, how do you navigate that and how do you certainly from a, from an organizational perspective, provide this kind of learning

Marc: 34:05 for your employees? Well, and the answer would have many different levels here. So let’s start with an organization. If you want to have a service design team, they need to have different backgrounds so you don’t want to have 10 people who went through exactly the same design education and who are all very like minded, so you want to have the differences.

Chi: 34:28 That’s just. That is a big shift.

Marc: 34:33 It is. Yeah. So when I work with with corporates, I actually always trying to push them to have a very diverse team and that also means that if they have a design team and everybody is like minded and went through the same design education, maybe they need to become subject matter experts on specific topics and often what is really useful is the stuff which is least attractive to designers. So talking about stuff like legal or accounting or like any kind of management strategy and so on, but then also of course any, any other departments you find in an organization because what we want is we want to cross of these different silos and you can only do that successful if you speak the language of each silo. It’s really hard if you’re. You come in as a designer trying to speak management. Trying to speak accounting, trying to speak Marceting, trying to speak software development, so you need to learn this language and then you become a between the different silos and that’s often the row we have an organization to trust these different scientists to break them down, so my advice for on a personal level to any kind of designer is learn besides your design skills, learn also something else.

Marc: 35:56 Become a subject matter expert on a different topic. That doesn’t mean that you need to have like x amount of master degrees and whatever, but at least immerse yourself in accounting. I learned the basic tools of accounting, learn the problems accounting are facing in an organization and then become a translator between these fields.

Adam: 36:16 I think that’s super important. We teach, we teach at various schools as well as in our organizational practice and I teach the mix of business schools and design schools. I’m going to be honest here, it’s much easier to teach the business guys enough design to make an impact than it is to teach the design guys enough business to make an impact. You know it’s out. Yeah, but it is. It really is because a lot of design education, and this is not all, but people come out of it having no idea organizations working and that means you don’t understand your key tool because your key tool in implementing change is the organization and it means like, it’s like being an artist. I can’t use that brush.

Chi: 36:58 I mean there’s a big problem with design education and not teaching designers the business of design practice and no, no business. It’s a little bit and you know, business is part of the practice, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be how, how things are rolling out. Certainly with the, with the, the big end of education let’s say. But at the opposite end, you know, and I’ve done bits and pieces here and there teaching different short courses and in between and that sometimes doesn’t necessarily cover it all either. So I think it’s interesting what you said about getting that mix of people who have different, different education and blending in other things. Um, that brings me to another question actually. So what do you think the next big thing in service design is? I think

Adam: 37:46 inevitably when we see people like the big four consultancies and and others offering things that they call service design design thinking, much of it is very, very good. By the way, this implies a mainstreaming of this that will always bring a large change. Probably bring a degree of narrowing of it, definitions, standards and stuff like this will will come along and qualifications that are seen as more useful than others will come along and a degree of shifting what it’s actually doing and that happens to everything that happens to happen to quality at Amnesty Ux and stuff like this, so I think that is going to be one thing. What’s also going to happen is I think we’ll start seeing more specialization. I think agencies are already happening, are going to specialize on health or on government or on banking or whatever like this

Marc: 38:36 because that makes it easier to have that depth of knowledge that we talked about to actually have an impact. Yeah. It is nice in these early years to say, yeah, my services, I’m practice here. We can work for an insurance company. We can work for a health hospital, we can work for a government office, you know, and stuff like this and to a certain level you can, but you are limiting yourself when you don’t have the knowledge of the practices and processes and technologies used by industry, which you can develop over years working with the same industry. On top of that, I think one of the next big things is the question, if you really implement service design in an organization, how do you manage that? So the whole question of leadership strategy management. Think of a large organization who already have hundreds of people working in service design, working in an agile, iterative way, you per project, and then these projects touch various parts of the high end overall customer journey.

Marc: 39:38 How do you make sure that they’re all working towards the same aim and not contradicting each other or different teams are working on a similar channel, a similar step. At the same time, we need a different management model for that based around the customer or employee experience to also see where these different teams are working. Right now we need standardization of tools because right now if you look at how large organization work with internal teams, with different agencies, they don’t standardize tools, which means you have a simple example, journey maps and different formats and you can’t reuse them, so you need to reinvent the wheel again and again instead of building on top of each other, building on top of previous projects, and then you need a different model of leadership as well because how do you lead hundreds of people working in different teams in an iterative, agile, so many passwords in one sentence, I’m proud of you.

Marc: 40:36 She gets the energy in their way and how do you lead that? Because classic leadership models are not made for that, so how do you do that and that is a question large organizations are currently struggling with and if you go to leadership conferences, this is actually a topic people discuss their. It’s very scary for leaders because if you want. I always say if you get into the graphic facilitator and you ask her to draw, leadership should probably draw a figure on a cliff pointing forward. Usually a male figure on a cliff pointing forwards. Yeah, with some people the cliff going in that direction and that’s a sort of model of leadership which is based around I know what the goal is, what the solution is and what it’s gonna look like. And one of the key messages of design is we don’t know what the solution is going to look like. So your leadership model becomes one about, okay, how are we going to discover together, what the solution’s going to look like, what’s our step, what’s our rhythm, what, what’s our, um, our way of working and leading people around that. Again, I come back to science.

Adam: 41:34 It’s very often like good science laboratory leadership. We said we don’t know what we’re going to discover. This is how we’re going to discover it. And that’s very, very challenging because you can’t do that with, with, you know, the vision and Hotspur and, and self belief Alisha planets. You have to something else. You applied to the way of working rather than a goal, which you’re saying, follow me. It’s this way guys. Scary for leaders.

Chi: 41:57 If there was a message that you could give to people who are trying to become service designers that I’m using inverted commas or maybe organizations that are thinking about this being important to them, particularly leadership in those organizations, what would you say?

Marc: 42:15 Just do it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t over planet. Just start doing it because you need time to actually learn it. The only way to really learn it is by doing it and if I look at some of our clients in the beginning, they always trying to over plan it and Overdo it, but you don’t know how this thing, service design, however you call it, will look like within your organization. You first need to learn that and you can only learn that by actually doing it and if you want to become the services on a, just do it. Just start practicing it and there’s so many awesome ways to get into the service design community to constantly educate yourself online and offline about the global service Gemma’s one entry point for many people all over the world to well jam. The prototype offers service for free in 48 hours and you just learned it by doing it, but then also within your organization, just look for like minded people and start doing it and maybe if you don’t have the management buy in yet, do a stealth project. Don’t talk about service design. Just wave in some tools and methods and see if it resonates and learn how you need to adapt it to make it resonate.

Adam: 43:32 I agree completely. It’s the same struggles you see in projects happen in this step of actually starting to work in this way. People wanted to overthink it, wanting to plan it all and knowing what their step by step will be. At some point you got to get out of the building. You’ve got to stop messing around with something and, and having a safe space to do that in which might be a jam situation, might be a stealth project, might be a, um, a nonprofit thing you’re working with, with your neighborhood, your church or mosque or whatever. Finding someplace where you can just try things out and don’t call it service design. If you don’t want to be sitting around in a meeting, pulled out a piece of paper, draw three circles on it and say who’s involved in this project, what do they do for each other and start drawing out a value network or a stakeholder map on the table.

Adam: 44:17 That’s a great bit of practice and it will change that meeting in detail. Just really recommend to start with a venn diagram, three circles, concentric circles, like a stakeholder map for example, but what I’m is you can bring in whatever you know so far and you can apply it to this and the tool set which combines with the mindset and the management style and so on around service design is totally porous. Grab something else. Bring it in from your background. If you’re an architect bringing architecture tools, if you’re a scientist bringing the science tools, you know if you come from a certain part of business, bringing the tools from that, as long as they help people to work together, which generally music can’t be very, very complex stuff. Now save that for this stuff, which is the freaks working in their little corners. Yeah, you are doing service design. I’d like to say thank you both for being here today and having a fabulous conversation. Where can people contact you? My pictures at the police station. I’m Adam on twitter, which is the channel I usually answer fastest. I am at Adams St John’s, so a d a m s t e j o h n or you can find me through the global service. Jen on twitter. I’m Mr. sticked on Mr Don and that’s often the best way to contact me. Thanks for being here. Thanks for having us.

Speaker 4: 45:40 So they have it. I hope you found this conversation useful. We’d love to get your feedback or thoughts on this topic. To join in on the conversation, go to and register to join our slack channel where you can get in touch. We use our select channel to shape future episodes of the podcast as well as share interesting design related content everyday. So you again soon.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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