Jan 30, 2023

Service design for a changing world



Moodi Mahmoudi

Services matter.

“Services have come to dominate many national economies,” reads the World Trade Report 2019. “[And] they are playing a bigger role in the global economy as well.”

This evolution of a product-based economy towards a service-dominated economy is due to several factors — consumption and investment, among them — but technology is the “game-changer”, the report reveals. “Services that were once difficult to trade, because they could only be delivered in person, are becoming far easier to trade, because they can be delivered digitally.”

The rapid spread of digital infrastructure is further accelerating the importance of services in the portfolios of companies. These investments are a direct reaction to the fact that globally connected digital platforms tend to grant outsized rewards to a small number of star services, which are in turn able to be delivered at almost zero marginal cost.

The result? A 21st-century version of the gold rush, but this time for new, innovative services that will capture billions of users.

In this context — and unless they want to be in a commoditized business — companies must upgrade their offerings to the next stage of economic value by augmenting their products with new services or creating new standalone services.

Needless to say, the service revolution has arrived — big time. But given the ongoing disruptions, how can organizations not only adapt, but continue to thrive?

Grow 10x with service design

Like goods, services must also meet a customer-need. They have to work. Customers must want them. And they must be willing to pay for them.

It's no surprise that service design principles are rooted in product discovery and UX research aimed at uncovering unmet customer needs and wants. And thereafter, creating services that users will love.

The book “This is Service Design Doing” — a favorite amongst service designers — outlines six principles for successful service designing: Human-centered, collaborative, iterative, sequential, real, and holistic.

Great services are the result of an iterative process of discovery and delivery, capabilities that service economy leaders must master and hardwire into their organizations. And repeat — at scale.

To leap ahead, teams and organizations of all sizes are ramping up their product discovery and UX research capabilities to engage with customers and uncover their needs and wants. These service design principles let teams combine unmet customer needs and wants with the organization’s core delivery competencies to create new services that accelerate growth.

Smart wirelessly connected toothbrushes, now accompanied by mobile app services that track how long, how hard, and how thoroughly you brush your teeth are great examples of the service revolution.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh for Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company

With these products, beautifully designed apps display sensor information in real-time animations of the mouth, giving users the information they need to practice better oral hygiene.

By augmenting their traditional electric toothbrush with well-designed digital services, Oral-B iO and the top-rated Philips Sonicare Prestige, can now charge upwards of $300, whereas The New York Times Wirecutter’s electric toothbrush picks typically cost $30–50.

NEXT adds “This is Service Design Doing” to it's marketplace

With this in mind, NEXT and “This is Service Design Doing” are teaming up to help organizations of all sizes make the most out of the exponentially expanding service economy as it transforms all aspects of our lives.

Service design is about two thing:

  1. Research of the past—user interviews or field observations (where relevant), and

  2. Research of the future—usability testing and prototyping with end-users

Our goal is to help service designers research, collect, analyze, and share customer needs and wants with their product teams.

We want to let service designers bring the customer into every product decision.

And create services and imagine experiences that will capture the imagination of customers.

Services that remove friction from the world.

Services that make things better — and people happier.

All this at a scale far surpassing the occasional project at the fringe of the organization.

To do so, we have codified the service design principles and methods detailed in the “This Is Service Design Doing” book into templates automated and delivered by NEXT.

NEXT will continue to provide the teamspace you and your teams need to collect, analyze, share, all your service design work. We believe that a software-supported approach will make service design more accessible and actionable to everyone in your organization.

This will result in more people in more companies powering the creation of services and experiences that end users will love.

So — what now?

The industrial economy grew just as the service economy will grow — through great minds, inventiveness, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. By partnering, we at NEXT and “This is Service Design Doing”, aim to do our share in helping you create insanely great services.

Sign up for NEXT now, use a “This is Service Design Doing” template and start researching the past and the future.

This post is published by Moodi (cofounder, NEXT) and Marc (co-founder, Smaply & co-author or This is Service Design Doing)