A Christmas Story of Service Design — Peeling Onions and Weeping

So often when we deal with many large corporates and government agencies we could well be the victim of 40 years of policy and minister centric decisions geared to minimize risk and deliver us services, which are no longer relevant. You feel helpless and caught up in the system more often weeping for the lack of common sense.   

Being passed around a hospital as a manila folder in the health system is like peeling an onion only to get to the next layer, tears and all. The intimidating experience of vast Government or Corporate agencies with their elevators, stairwells and ever-changing personnel.

 Navigating the elevators, stairwells and ever-changing personnel of vast Government or Corporate agencies is akin to peeling onions.

Navigating the elevators, stairwells and ever-changing personnel of vast Government or Corporate agencies is akin to peeling onions.

Invariably big-name consulting firms are brought in to peel these national onions which satisfy officials that services have been looked at, the outcome being beautifully crafted and communicated recipes for change and few route maps which will actually engage individuals and teams to change the service.

Inventing the future should not be distracted by the cultures and procedures of the past.

Peeling the onion will do more damage and result in widespread disillusionment unless leaders take actions and lead. Inventing the future should not be distracted by the cultures and procedures of the past. My experience is that recognized truths and ready-made answers are so heavily embedded in silo behavior it's almost impossible to invent the future in cultures and procedures of the past.

The core of service design is asking the right questions to find the right answers and therefore the right results. It should also involve clients, end users, and cross-disciplinary experts in a democratic design process. The best idea could emerge any time during the process and the inventor could be the least expected voice, even the humble front of house desk clerk.

 An diverse mix of workshop attendees at one of our Chrysalis workshops.

An diverse mix of workshop attendees at one of our Chrysalis workshops.

Heading such workshops requires well-versed expertise as well as control of design methods and the ability to instantly visualize ideas. Controlling the weeping for those involved in the peeling process, getting quickly beyond one’s navel requires considerable empathy skills and leadership.

We are entering a participatory economy where there will be no such thing as stagnant services. Where flexibility and individuality are the new rules of service development. Welcome to the new era of Prosumerism where customer driven innovations, crowd sourcing, and DIY are vital parts of service design thinking.

 The next generation of Industry leaders working together at our Chrysalis facilities looking for solutions to New Zealand's current and impending agricultural challenges.

The next generation of Industry leaders working together at our Chrysalis facilities looking for solutions to New Zealand's current and impending agricultural challenges.

Over 70% of the economic activities are organized around services with only 30% around industry. Contemporary societies are now demanding better services, which is driving this whole movement in government and private sector organizations. Now greatly affected by design thinking we are looking  at an acceleration of interest in human centred service design.

It's having the courage to go into this new space which matters.The space of the user. 

You may well say it's not rocket science but like Nasa we’ll all have a few spectacular failures which is what prototyping and testing is all about. It's having the courage to go into this new space which matters . The space of the user. The core of design thinking, and service design is in ideation and concept design. We should all understand that ideation is not for designers only. A good idea can originate anywhere, even in the least expected sources.

 Santa gets a change of clothes from one of the worlds largest brands.

Santa gets a change of clothes from one of the worlds largest brands.

Maybe a bit surprising that the image once green of Father Christmas which is so familiar to us was invented by an illustrator. D’Arcy at an agency that had already managed to make Coca-Cola a year-round success, developed a specific winter campaign that relied on the character embodying the whole season. Haddon Sunblom, a painter and illustrator was commissioned to create a distinguishable character. Knowing the brand well, he gave Father Christmas a jovial image, dressed in Coca-Cola colours of red and white. Since all this took place quite soon after the stock exchange crash of 1929, the campaign also bore glad tidings of recovery.

perhaps we should take dear old Santa and make him leaner and greener again.

Who knows in these times of rapid climate change, growing obesity and sugar taxes perhaps we should take dear old Santa and make him leaner and greener again. Happy Christmas to you and your families at this special time.