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Posted by superadmin on 29/07/2013 10:05 in 2013

Story: Kanchala Navanugraha

What usually comes to mind when we hear the word ‘design’ is an image of a product or a graphic work. But nowadays “design” and especially “design thinking” is often applied in many new areas. “Service Design” is one of its budding expansions, receiving big attention from business companies around the world.

Building services can be looked at as a design task. Therefore, many of its principles can simply be taken from design thinking approach (mentioned in the previous article). It may include prototyping, smart customer research and collaboration between designers , researchers and business people.

However, the process of designing a service does not entirely resemble designing a product, since the nature of these two types of design is different. It was said that product design is building an object, meanwhile service design equals planning a journey for a customer. It can also be said that service design is building an experience.

Therefore, while a product designer concentrates on one single object, a service designer deals with the whole system. What they are asked to set up can be varied. It can be as small (in size) as a mobile or web interface for customers, or something bigger like arranging service order.

Andy Polaine, an expert in this field, has mentioned “Orange”, a UK mobile and internet company, as one of the early case studies. Before going through the redesign process, Orange had already done well in the market but the company felt that they do not have any tool to turn their customer experience, good or bad, into their business development. As a result, some of their service does not go along with people’s need. Polaine, hired by the company, then employed design thinking to solve the problem. Many of his ideas were put into use. For example, Orange repositioned its retail stores. It had once been a mobile shop where they just sold other companies’ phone, but, later turned into a place where people come for help or advice about their mobile. Later, the company also launched a package called “Orange Premier”, which gave high-end promotions and experience to customers.

His idea to redesign was, in the first place, merely conceptual. So, when introducing them to the company Polaine had his work plan visualised, instead of presenting it in writings or talking about statistics or numbers. This way his concepts were easily understood and sold.

He said visualising the idea (e.g. storyboarding, acting, playing roles) is one of the most important processes in service design. This ability to make an abstract idea tangible is there to make the service meet its customer’s behaviour and needs, which is ultimately the goal of every service.

To conclude, service design basically based on design thinking. However, since it deals with conceptual consideration, it involves great deal the process that makes idea come alive.

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