Transforming a business through service design.
When a company decides to rebuild the systems, processes and platforms that their current organization runs on, it can be a paralyzing task.
Where do we start?
Having been involved in similar do overs, I've seen too many unintentional mistakes happen that result in designing flaws from the current system back into the new system. I came to believe that without an explicit understanding of the current state of the service ecosystem, we really aren't designing the future state in a purposeful way.
Relying on modeling tools like service blueprinting, we can diagram the overall customer journey, interactions and processes that constitute the service ecosystem and then highlight opportunities for product teams to improve and bring new features to the customer experience.
Can service blueprinting help?
My collaborator, Kristine Mudd, and I led a team of more than twenty individuals from a health coaching and disease management company through an 8-week process that involved workshops, blueprinting, journey mapping, persona development, wireframing, and more with the intent of mapping what the future could look like for this organization.
Below are excerpts from a booklet we created that highlights the output of the project.
Throughout the workshops, teams were asked to analyze blueprints of the current state their various systems. The blueprints were based on the existing materials and initial discovery work done by G51 Studio.
The main goal of this exercise was to focus on the customer's journey throughout the current service. Teams identified customer actions and service provider actions, the touchpoints (physical evidences that give tangibility to the service) and the processes used to support the service in general.
The objective of this exercise was to understand and map the current state of the service ecosystem, shifting the point of focus for the design process to the organization's customers.
In this activity, teams learned:
- To separate the service from the two main perspectives (customers and providers)
- To identify the different lines that divide and articulate the service (interface, interaction, visibility and internal interaction)
- To identify the touchpoints and the internal processes used to support the service.
The blueprint activity also served to stimulate the generation of early ideas to inform the mapping of the future state, as teams identified ‘breakdowns’ and ‘magic moments’ throughout the journey.
Who are the stakeholders?
The teams were asked to list all the various stakeholders in the service ecosystem. The purpose of the activity was to identify all the stakeholders to consider when designing and mapping the service. Teams were encouraged to reference this map as part of their review of the current blueprint and development of the future state map.
What does the future look like?
- We reviewed work and questions that occurred between the workshops in addition to reviewing the current state blueprints. This was followed with an overview lecture. We reviewed the stages of a design lifecycle, sequencing, feedback loops and behavior change. We discussed what we would be designing when looking at the future state. We discussed the meaning of the components of desirability in a service offering including usability, pleasurability and utility.
- What is complexity in a system and how can it be reduced?
- What are coordinated actions and “conversation” models?
- What are the phases of a service; its lifecycle?
- Why is language important for the future state?
- How can first and second-order feedback loops help us improve the future?
We explained what sequencing is at it relates to behaviors/actions and service journeys. Teams practiced sequencing, by mapping the steps taken to donate to the Red Cross. Teams quickly realized how difficult it is to think about every step needed and to state it clearly using verbs and nouns. The purpose was to practice sequencing with a familiar process, so that teams could learn the skills needed to work on a future state blueprint.
Each team was given a category and asked to identify what their organization (orange post-its) does for its customers within a given topic. Then each team was asked to brainstorm things done in the world outside of their organization (blue post-its). In the following step, each team was asked to group their post-its and create new categories. The purpose was to quickly generate ideas and tangible pieces that could be used in the next activity where teams began to map the future state.
Personas and and the future
Each team was given a different persona to help them envision the future and capture various services their organization provides. The personas covered a range of individuals from those with diseases including high blood pressure, COPD and diabetes to those seeking lifestyle services.
The teams were encouraged to borrow post-its and concepts from the previous activities along with using role-playing to help them imagine what this future service might look like for their personas. Teams were reminded to think about the principles of behavior change previously discussed and the magic moments identified in the current state blueprints. Each team provided blueprints of their work including to G51 Studio. All of the work was recorded by G51 studio during design synthesis and preparation for the final workshop.
G51 Studio created a new version to serve as a starting point for the future state mapping the work from the teams and the agreed upon behavior change model for the service. Additionally, we created some models as part of our design synthesis process. These were used to discuss the direction of the future state blueprint and the service ecosystem.
Mapping the future state
Teams began by reviewing and revising the participant and provider actions G51 Studio mapped. The purpose was to begin to map the important interactions for the future state before working on the touchpoints and support processes needed. The activity provided an opportunity to review the roles mapped within service blueprints in addition to discussing the services that were important to include in the future state.
Teams adjusted the map and went on to add both contact actions and support systems for the mapped interactions. The process encouraged discussions and opportunities to imagine new possibilities for the future. There were many discussions about removing complexity and simplifying services and support processes for the future state. Teams referenced the current state to identify opportunities and prevent the repetition of fail points in the current system.