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Posts in category 'Service design'

12 April 2013

Designing better experiences through data

better-experiences-data-small

Access to big data is growing at an incredible pace. With increased information from various sources available on smartphones and tablets, many companies now realize winning services will be those that transform big data elements into personalized data experiences.

The key to creating great service experiences lies with uncovering data and using it in meaningful contexts that have real benefits to users.

Recent advances in wearable tech, location-based data and sensors are driving greater interest by consumers in personalized data experiences. Google Glass and the Nike FuelBand are pushing boundaries on what users can expect inside the services of tomorrow.

For designers, however, data presents a very interesting challenge: How can we better understand the value of data and leverage it to make digital experiences more meaningful?

Jason Napolitano, service design lead at Fjord, provides some examples of emerging companies that are embracing the conceptual power of data to create truly breakthrough services.

9 April 2013

Book: Service Design by Industrial Designers

servicedesign

Service Design by Industrial Designers
By Froukje Sleeswijk Visser
Technical University Delft
2013, 104 pages

Design practice is changing. The applications of design skills, knowledge, activities and processes seem to become wider everyday. More and more designers are tackling complex societal issues, and apply their design skills to projects where product development no longer plays a big role. Many refer to these applications as ‘service design’.

This book is aimed at people who want to learn more about the current dynamics and challenges the wave of service design brings to design practice. We critically reflect on recent developments related to service design and specifically on the consequences for the education of a new generation designers to deliver value to design practice.

It is the result of a think tank at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology with a group of 25 master students, 8 staff involved in service design research and education, and 9 design practitioners.

Dr.ir. F. Sleeswijk Visser (Froukje) is Assistant Professor, Design Conceptualization and Communication, at the Department of Industrial Design of the Technical University of Delft.

31 March 2013

How habits can impact user behavior

UXHabitLoops-125x125

In the book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and what it takes to break an ingrained habit. The book references a 2006 study from Duke University that found that 40% of the actions that people perform each day are habits, not purposeful decisions. Habits impact our daily lives in many different ways, even in how we interact with websites and applications. Being aware of how habits may influence interactions users have with your products can help you design better user experiences.

28 March 2013

Is Open Government working?

opengov

In an insightful blog post, Reboot principal Panthea Lee asks if open government initiatives make citizens more informed and engaged, and make governments more accountable to their people? What impact have open government initiatives had so far?

Reboot is a USA-based service design firm working in the fields of global governance and development.

Four questions, she writes, might be worth considering for those working to measure and achieve impact in this space:

1. Who gains from Open Government?
Which populations have the access and motivation to use these channels? Frequently, programs and platforms privilege certain groups over others.

2. How do we reach “The Other Side”?
There are two sides to the open government coin: citizens and governments. The goal is to facilitate constructive dialogue between the two, but many projects seem to focus on one side or the other.

3. Can we do better than equating scale with success?
Replication and scale are not always appropriate indicators of success. The effectiveness of most open government initiatives will be context dependent. Replication requires programs to standardize as many elements of its models and activities as possible.

4. How do Open Government processes change people?
Open government initiatives seek to mobilize citizens and to motivate governments to respond. But what are the processes through which change occurs?

28 March 2013

What can ethnography bring to the study of deliberative democracy?

 

Open government initiatives offer new, often technologically enabled avenues for civic participation. But which populations have the access and motivation to use these channels? Frequently, programs and platforms privilege certain groups over others.

An ethnographic study of participatory budgeting in Rome (conducted by Julien Talpin of the University of Lille) found that participation skewed towards those who were already active in civic affairs and in relative positions of power. Sixty-three percent of participants were activists. White-collar workers and those over 50 were also over-represented.

Abstract

The study of the individual effects of participation has mainly focused on the impact of deliberation on actors’ preferences, mostly based on quantitative and experimental research. I argue here that ethnography, based on a praxeologic and process approach, can offer broader results on actors’ learning in participatory devices than the cognitive effects generally emphasized.

Grounded in a case-study of a participatory budget in Rome, the research shows participation allows learning new skills and civic habits but may also bring about a greater distrust with politics.

Explaining the learning process, the paper stresses the different learning potential of participatory institutions. A condition for the durability of the effects observed is that participation be repeated over time. This requires integration within the institution, which happens for only a few; the majority of participants being disappointed stop participating. Speaking the language of the institution, some participants are however integrated enough to acquire further civic skills and knowledge, and even to endure a politicization process.

Finally, the study of actors’ long-term trajectories allows drawing conclusions on the social conditions of civic bifurcation. Ethnography thereby allows grasping the long-term consequences of civic engagement.

25 March 2013

Human-centred systems innovation

hcsi

How do we help or support people that live in situations that do not fit into a system’s categories, e.g. by transforming perceptions of what a system can be? This question is constantly reoccurring in the development of our public service systems, writes Jesper Christiansen, anthropologist at MindLab, a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit, on the NESTA site.

“A very obvious example where this matter is persistent is the area of social care for vulnerable families. This area is increasingly becoming a nightmare scenario for Western nation states across the world. These are often at-risk families, which access many different services and are involved in several case plans at the same time. The challenge is to coordinate and integrate services that are addressing such different issues like child behaviour and education, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, unemployment or work injury, financial crisis, unstable housing, physical or mental illness or other more or less common hardships of everyday life.

Working with Australian design agency ThinkPlace, MindLab took part in a project that set out to address these issues and transform the service system dealing with vulnerable families in the ACT region of Australia. The purpose was to develop new capabilities and processes to co-design and co-produce services with current service users as part of introducing a new human-centred, systemic approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable families.”

Other recent readings by MindLab:

Co-production (pdf)
How do we ensure collaboration with all the actors who can potentially make a contribution to the challenges we face? Can juvenile first time offenders be sentenced by youths with a criminal record? To see the citizens’ resources and design welfare with them rather than to them – that is what we call co-production. Read cases and useful principles on the subject in this pamphlet. [Video]

Design-Led Innovation in Government
Christian Bason’s reflections on design-led innovation in the public sector and the three challenges it raises.
(Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review)

14 March 2013

UK Government Service Design Manual

royal

The UK Government Service Design Manual provides a (draft) digital by default service standard, as well as guidance and tools for building world-class digital services.

The Government Digital Strategy set an ambitious target for teams building services: services so good that people prefer to use them.

(via InfoDesign)

13 March 2013

Design and public services

restartingbritain

Design and Public Services is the second publication in the UK Design Commission‘s ‘Restarting Britain’ series. The first set out the strategic importance of design education as a driver of economic renewal and growth. This 64-page report turns to the question of public service renewal.

In the context of politics and governing, the word ‘design’ is applied liberally – the design of legislation, the design of policy, the design of public services – with little thought as to the significance of the word itself. Here the Design Commission shifts its focus to that word ‘design’, and explore its potential for creating cost-effective public services in the 21st century. Part-polemic, part-manual, this report is the culmination of a nine month inquiry, and the Commission’s response to a substantially increased appetite for more information on the subject of design in public services.

Co-author Nat Hunter of The RSA writes: “Design can make a huge impact in public service but is not commonly used to do so. It is still often misunderstood as being all about posters and soft furnishings, and not seen as a discipline that has potential to create enormous change that is better for the end user and saves money to boot. Good design turns problems on its head and starts with walking in the shoes of the users, not with the problems of the providers. During the inquiry we heard many examples of how great design had created huge organisational change, bringing empathy and kindness into public service, bearing in mind inclusion and access at all times, and, of course, saving vast amounts of money.”

12 March 2013

Book: Service Design – From Insight to Implementation

servicedesign

Service Design – From Insight to Implementation
by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie & Ben Reason
Rosenfeld Media – March 2013
(book will be published tomorrow)

We have unsatisfactory experiences when we use banks, buses, health services and insurance companies. They don’t make us feel happier or richer. Why are they not designed as well as the products we love to use such as an Apple iPod or a BMW?

The ‘developed’ world has moved beyond the industrial mindset of products and the majority of ‘products’ that we encounter are actually parts of a larger service network. These services comprise people, technology, places, time and objects that form the entire service experience. In most cases some of the touchpoints are designed, but in many situations the service as a complete ecology just “happens” and is not consciously designed at all, which is why they don’t feel like iPods or BMWs.

One of the goals of service design is to redress this imbalance and to design services that have the same appeal and experience as the products we love, whether it is buying insurance, going on holiday, filling in a tax return, or having a heart transplant. Another important aspect of service design is its potential for design innovation and intervention in the big issues facing us, such as transport, sustainability, government, finance, communications and healthcare.

Given that we live in a service and information age, a practical, thoughtful book about how to design better services is urgently needed.

Along with many other insights, this book offers:

  • A clear explanation of what service design is and what makes it different from other ways of thinking about design, marketing and business.
  • Service design insights, methods and case studies to help you move up the project food chain and have a bigger design impact on the entire service ecosystem.
  • Practical advice to help you sell the value of service thinking within your organisation and to clients.
  • Ways to help you develop business, design, environmental and social innovation through service design.

Also of note: Free webcast by the authors (recommended!)

5 March 2013

Designing the political future

Scout_Front_

After technology received so much attention as a key differentiator for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, Cooper Managing Director Doug LeMoine asked Scout Addis, the Director of User Experience at Practice Fusion, to discuss his experience working on the campaign and how design and technology worked together to help win the election and change the future of politics.

“I would encourage every designer to apply his or her skills to the political process to help make it better. We need more designers helping with civic engagement. Working on a political campaign is unlike working for any company you can imagine. It’s so fast, so fluid, so data intensive, that you’ll learn more in a day about what works and what doesn’t than you will in a month at most other companies.”

Read the interview

14 February 2013

First outputs from Intel research centre on sustainable connected cities

connectedcities

The Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities – a cooperation between University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and Intel – was launched in May 2012, which a focus on how to enable future cities to be more connected and sustainable. Their activities entail investigating, developing and deploying adaptive technologies that can optimize resource efficiency, and enable new services that support and enhance the quality of life of urban inhabitants and city visitors. Their approach is interdisciplinary, combining methodologies from computer science, the social sciences, interaction design and architecture to improve how cities are managed and maintained in order to ensure and enhance citizen well-being.

The Institute is directed by Duncan Wilson of Intel, assisted by Charlie Sheridan. Other people involved include David Prendergast (Intel senior researcher and anthropologist), Yvonne Rogers (UCL Professor of Interaction Design and Director of the UCL Interaction Centre), Licia Capra (UCL Reader in Pervasive computing), and Johannes Schöning (professor of computer science with a focus on HCI at Hasselt University, Belgium).

According to an initial overview article, the focus of the Institute is to be human-centred:

“Our perspective in the Sustainable Connected Cities Institute is to be human- centred. We have wide-ranging expertise and background in user experience, interaction design, ethnography, together with research in the built environment, commerce, engineering, anthropology, the arts, and social psychology. We also work as inter-disciplinary teams that can make a real change to enrich and extend city dwellers lives.” [...]

We will develop and exploit pervasive and sensing technologies, analytics and new interfaces, putting humans at the centre of technological developments. Our approach is to address four main themes:

  • City Experience: How do we enhance the City Experience and communicate services?
  • City as a Platform: How do we create the digital platform of the city from sensor/edge to cloud?
  • Sustaining Sustainability: How to sustain behavioural change?
  • Connecting the Invisible City: How do we visualize the Human-Environment Interface?”

Meanwhile the Institute has published its first research papers and articles:

Toward a real-time city health monitor
A common metaphor to describe the movement of people within a city is that of blood flowing through the veins of a living organism. We often speak of the ‘pulse of the city’ when referring to flow patterns we observe. Here we extend this metaphor by hypothesising that by monitoring the flow of people through a city we can assess the city’s health, as a nurse takes a patient’s heart-rate and blood pressure during a routine health check. Using an automated fare collection dataset of journeys made on the London rail system, we build a classification model that identifies areas of high deprivation as measured by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, and achieve a precision, sensitivity and specificity of0.805, 0.733 and 0.810, respectively. We conclude with a discussion of the potential benefits this work provides to city planning, policymaking, and citizen engagement initiatives.

Smart Citizens in the Data Metropolis
Article with some insights on the discussions around smart citizens and community engagement. It was original published in the website of the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.

Reflecting on the Institute, Mandeep Hothi, programme leader at the Young Foundation, writes:

“Much of the institute’s outputs will be relevant to local government. For example, a recent study shows a link between measures of multiple deprivation and patterns of passenger flow on public transport in London.Researchers propose that this data could become an early warning system for identifying areas of high deprivation, helping local government to better target its resources.

Data sensors such as Oyster card readers are becoming ubiquitous and the availability of real-time data is going to vastly increase.

It is important that the applications that emerge are co-created with local citizens, using ethnography and design as the starting point. Not only will this maximise usefulness, it should ensure technologists and officials respect issues such as personal privacy and autonomy.”

7 February 2013

Small, local, open and connected: resilient systems and sustainable qualities

resilient

How do we design a resilient socio-technical system, asks Ezio Manzini in Design Observer.

“Let’s look to natural systems; their tolerance of breakdowns and their adaptation capacity (that is, their capability of sustaining over time) may give us direction.

As a matter of fact, it is easy to observe that lasting natural systems result from a multiplicity of largely independent systems and are based on a variety of living strategies. In short, they are diverse and complex. These diversities and complexities are the basis of their resilience – that is, of their adaptability to changes in their contexts.

Given that, it should be reasonable to conceive and realize something similar for man-made systems. The socio-technical systems that, integrated with natural ones, constitute our living environment should be made of a variety of interconnected, but (largely) self-standing elements. This mesh of distributed systems, similarly to natural ones, would be intrinsically capable of adapting and lasting through time because even if one of its components breaks, given its multiplicity and diversity, the whole system doesn’t collapse.”

3 February 2013

Redesigning public services so they can actually help people

yamfarmer

Although I don’t agree with the implicit meaning of this Fast Company title (i.e. that public services currently do not help people – whereas the real issue is the degree of impact), I am always excited to hear the latest updates on Reboot, a design agency that focuses on service design in international development, particularly if it is through an interview with Reboot principal Panthea Lee.

“Plenty of thought goes into good industrial design and good interaction design. We do the same for public and social services. In our view, service design is a multidisciplinary approach to creating more useful, effective, and efficient services.

In the space of international development, we find designers particularly well suited to the task of creating good services because they are highly analytical systems thinkers.

Services are more than just pulling a lever to get a result. Services are a complex series of interlocking relationships and institutions, and each one is different. Their design requires deep empathy for users and a nuanced understanding of context. And you’ll never get it right on the first go–they require significant testing and refining until they’re right.”

16 January 2013

Helsinki Design Lab closing in June 2013

hdl

Marco Steinberg, who directs the strategic design efforts of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, announced last week that Sitra’s Helsinki Design Lab will close in June 2013.

Helsinki Design Lab is an initiative by Sitra to advance strategic design as a way to re-examine, re-think, and re-design the systems we’ve inherited from the past.

According to Steinberg, “design at Sitra is shifting from a strategic to a service role. The current members of the design team (Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook, and myself*) are committed to strategic design and will therefore pursue this interest beyond Sitra. In the spring Sitra will hire for a new role to grow service design within the organization.”

[* The fourth member of the team, Dan Hill, left earlier, and is now the CEO of Fabrica in Treviso, Italy.]

During the next five months Brian, Justin and Marco will be converting the site into an archive of the most recent phase of HDL. The archive will be legible, free, and open, they write, so that the “work and experience of Helsinki Design Lab be useful not just for the next phase of design at Sitra, but for the community as well.”

The team is now compiling the case study research from Helsinki Design Lab 2012 into a forthcoming publication on stewardship, with a tentative publication date of May 2013. This completes the existing publication “Recipes for Systemic Change,” which you can download for free.

We can also expect a public event in Helsinki on June 10th, 2013.

Over the last years, Experientia has worked intensively – and to our great satisfaction – with Sitra and with the team of the Helsinki Design Lab in particular, through our involvement on the Low2No project. We wish Sitra and the HDL team the very best in the coming months and afterwards, and we are sure that we will find many ways to collaborate in the future.

(For more reflection on the closing, check also this post by Bryan Boyer).

15 January 2013

A sustainable building promotes pro-environmental behavior

plos

A Sustainable Building Promotes Pro-Environmental Behavior: An Observational Study on Food Disposal
by Wu DW, DiGiacomo A, Kingstone A
PLoS ONE 8(1): e53856. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053856 – January 2013

In order to develop a more sustainable society, the wider public will need to increase engagement in pro-environmental behaviors. Psychological research on pro-environmental behaviors has thus far focused on identifying individual factors that promote such behavior, designing interventions based on these factors, and evaluating these interventions. Contextual factors that may also influence behavior at an aggregate level have been largely ignored.

In the current study, we test a novel hypothesis – whether simply being in a sustainable building can elicit environmentally sustainable behavior. We find support for our hypothesis: people are significantly more likely to correctly choose the proper disposal bin (garbage, compost, recycling) in a building designed with sustainability in mind compared to a building that was not.

Questionnaires reveal that these results are not due to self-selection biases. Our study provides empirical support that one’s surroundings can have a profound and positive impact on behavior. It also suggests the opportunity for a new line of research that bridges psychology, design, and policy-making in an attempt to understand how the human environment can be designed and used as a subtle yet powerful tool to encourage and achieve aggregate pro-environmental behavior.

20 December 2012

Design in the service of austerity

Garden tools

The UK government’s deficit reduction plan may fall short of its targets, prompting speculation that austerity measures will have to continue into the next parliament.

Local government officers who have already seen substantial cuts are now looking at a further 20%, and casting about for help in redesigning their organisations and services, aware that scaling back simply won’t go far enough.

Enter design.

A Design Commission inquiry (with the help of the Royal College of Art and Ideo) is now investigating whether design skills and design thinking might be able to respond to this demand.

12 December 2012

Designing a carsharing service that can play a truly relevant role in people’s lives

volkswagen001

Brand experience agency edenspiekermann_ and Volkswagen’s Service Innovation Team explored what it takes to define a service that would play a relevant role in people’s lives.

“We started with: Who are the people that use carsharing? How can we expand the service to exceed their expectations? How do people find, explore and adopt this new service? How can we design a service that is easy, enjoyable, useful and valuable? We mapped out and designed the customer journey along the different touchpoints of a carsharing service.

We explored every touchpoint: from the key that opens the door, to the iPhone App to find a car on the street, to the signs that indicate a reserved parking spot. We developed prototypical solutions and tested them with real users in real environments. Also, in-depth interviews brought insights into what works and what does not. We burned through thousands of post-its to record all aspects of what we learned in our tests. It was a reality check. At Edenspiekermann service design goes way beyond research. We win insights by creating refined prototypes that provide a sophisticated experience to users.”

The current commercial version of Volkswagen’s carsharing service is „Quicar“, available in Hannover.

12 December 2012

Service design for innovative banking

 

Chris Brooker recently ran the Service Design for Innovative Banking workshop at the World Usability Day conference in Silesia, Poland, during which he explored how service design techniques can produce unique service ideas for the rapidly evolving banking sector.

Brooker has now summarized the content of the workshop and some innovative new financial services.

29 November 2012

Nestor’s World, a Belgian social design tool

nestor

The full service design agency Pars Pro Toto in Ghent, Belgium built the “Wereld van Nestor” [Nestor's World], a social design tool meant to help local governments in Flanders create a better world for their elderly citizens.

The tool is built on 10 personas and their experience with eight different topics. These eight topics – housing, mobility, public spaces and the built environment, social participation, respect and social engagement, active participation and employment, communication and information, public and health services – are areas where local government can make a real difference for their elderly citizens. They are based on the WHO report Global age-friendly cities.

Local governments can now construe their senior citizen plans based on the relevance and impact of their planned services on one or more of these personas.

The project came about through a collaboration with the Social Welfare Agency of the City of Ghent, and with the support of Design Flanders. The research that it was based on is not very clearly described, but the site mentions interviews and workshops.

For now the tool only exists in Dutch (and the socio-cultural context is also distinctively Flemish), but if you have any special questions, please contact Johan Bonner (info@parsprototo.be) on +32 (0)9/244.62.20.

26 November 2012

Another batch of NEXT Service Design videos

Next-Berlin

The NEXT Service Design videos keep on coming, but very slowly. Here are another three:

A Facebook for Things – Turning Physical Products into Digital Information Services
Andy Hobsbawm, Evrythng
There’s a revolution going on in the interaction between the physical and digital worlds. Innovations in smartphones, connected chips and physical tags are creating amazing new service design possibilities. Andy discusses how super-charging physical things with dynamic, socially-connected apps and content helps brands get closer to customers and turns physical products into a channel for personalized digital services, real-time communications and 1:1 relationships.

Service Design – Buzzword or Magic Method?
Pia Betton, Edenspiekermann
Following the rising complexity in the communication and service environment, service design has become a widely used method to solve manifold challenges.
As service providers within the areas of innovation, communication and design, we play an important role in the way we guide our clients through the wilderness of market and user exploration and ideation methods and processes. We need to ask ourselves if service design is always the right thing – or if it can be a blind path?
How do we accompany the necessary changes, avoid frustrations and ensure the ROI of service design processes? Let’s take a look at the needs and challenges of clients and discuss the roles we can (and can’t?) play.
Pia Betton is managing partner and director consulting at Edenspiekermann. With a background in design, she looks back at more than 20 years of work experience within the areas of innovation, user experience, branding and communication.

The Design in Service Design

Service Design is often, well deserved, praised for its analytical and strategic advantages. But if we forget to acknowledge the most central aspect of the discipline it will loose its true glimmering power. Because it is Design that makes Service Design happen. Design as in creating and executing. Design as the element of surprise. And Service Design is not Design just because we call it Design. We have to nourish it. Lisa Lindström, Managing Director at the design firm Doberman shares her thoughts on how Design can bring true value to the management and innovation of services.

Earlier videos are here and here.