Agile Service Design: a way to talk less and get shit done

Keywords: agile, service, design, method, scrum, sprint, daily, stand-up, start-up

We have been working with Paul Middelkoop on our service Go About for a few months. Paul is an experienced software developer he has some years of experience with Agile software development and inspired us to use his approach. It has been astonishing. Less irrelevant discussions, clear goals, stakeholder involvement, rather good planning, less stress as a result and thinking up creative solutions as the problems occur. As service design agency we were looking for a way to keep projects lean, focused and meaningful. As discussed in the previous article, businesses tend to forget about validity. They could use design methods to solve mysteries, but how? This article is a first step towards translating what we learned from Paul into an Agile Service Design Method: a way to talk less and Get Shit Done. Approach your projects like it's a start-up Start-ups have constraints on every aspect that matters in any project: money, team resources and time. Therefore we are approaching projects...More

Service Design in the corporate world

Keywords: service, design, corporate, business, mysteries, wicket, complex, problems

I almost never visit a Service Design event. First of all, there are no (potential) clients there. Second, in my distant opinion, service design has become a rather fuzzy, guru centered work field. Results from projects are often very intangible and always seem to relate to “a better understanding of the user”. That is very valuable, but it is only “soft evidence” and therefore hard to sell to companies. I believe that Service Design can be very valuable to companies. At Sunday Afternoon we tell ourselves: Don't promise, deliver. The topic of the next Service Design Thinks NL event in Amsterdam is “a pragmatic approach to Service Design”. Therefore I will happily attend, I will even speak (being consistent is just too boring). In this article I will try to explain why companies should use Service Design and Design Thinking. On the event I will also share my thoughts on how we can make this fit inside companies, so please sign up and get involved! If we want to land service design and...More

Service Design: first listen to yourself then to the market.

Keywords: user_centred_design, co-creation, qualitative_research, quantitative_research, market_research, vision_in_product, design_(ViP), art, brand_driven_innovation, marketing

When you ask people to which company they feel really loyal to, you'll almost never get a big multinational as an answer. I guess that's because companies need to compromise a lot on the road towards becoming a multinational. For example, they need to give governments access to their customers information (RIM shares Blackberry codes with Saudis) or censor search results (Google censoring torrent search suggestions). Not to speak of USA government pressure on paypal, Visa Europe and Mastercard blocking transactions to Wikileaks. Another reason is the focus on short term profit. Often this means a focus on new customers instead of keeping existing costumers. Personally I don't think this is really the way to short and long term profit. So what is? The true heros are people or companies that have a clear vision on their role in the world and are not willing to compromise to others in reaching this. Obviously they get controversial by doing that as well. But it is better to be...More

Disruptive innovation: take an evolutionary approach!

Keywords: disruptive, innovation, revolutionary, service, design, thinking, evolution, R&D, technology

Disruptive (revolutionary) innovation is like Service Design, Social CRM, and Design Thinking a hype in both the corporate and the academic world. There is a notion that a company, in order to succeed on the long term, needs to practice drastic innovation. Revolution instead of evolution. R&D departments are looking for that one new idea, to do something totally new, to start from scratch. I argue that when you think you need to achieve disruptive innovation you probably just need to do the opposite. Lets start by looking at some innovations that can be regarded as key disruptive innovations in the recent years.  For instance the blackberry by Research in Motion. They went from paging, to emailing, to full featured mobile communication device. To me these are small evolutionary steps. RIM is still a company that is all about mobile communication. The technology changed, RIM adapted, and they continued to build great products. The same can be said about another key...More

Service as Marketing

Keywords: service, marketing, service-as-marketing, advertisement, finance, beer, campaigns, value, service, design, TIM, ING, Amstel, Teamlink, 0900-Bavaria, Appie, AH, Albert, Heijn, Optician, media, TV, commercial

ING is just like any other bank. You can get a bankaccount, savings deposit and a mortgage like anywhere else. Like any other bank, ING has an advertisement agency that's very creative in coming up with campaigns. But, because there is no real unique selling point, these campaigns are usually very much like other banks. This does not work well when you want to attract new customers. Customers that are probably quite satisfied with their current bank that offers them the same service. This is not a problem for banks alone. Supermarkets, beer brands, electronics, opticians, you name it: they all play in an arena with the same values. What will you do to attract new customers, or at least get people to like your brand? The usual answer is: advertise! But every day we are bombarded with commercial messages. And luckily we are very apt at ignoring these messages. Research has shown that users rarely look at display advertisements on websites (read about it on TV commercials...More


Keywords: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, finance, innovation, participation, prosumer

Crowdfunding is a new way of raising capital for projects. The concept is simple: a large number of people (the crowd) invest small amounts of money to accumulate into an investment large enough to finance a project. Crowdfunding is based on the principle of crowdsourcing. An example of a crowdsourcing project is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that is completely written by users, containing over 3.5 million articles in English. Every day, Wikipedia is used by over 10 million people! With crowdsourcing, a large number of people all put a little effort in reaching a big goal together. Some famous crowdfunding initiatives are SellaBand and KIVA, but also president Obama used the power of the crowd to fund his election campaign in 2008 and raised 137 million dollar by using crowdfunding! With crowdfunding, an investor is commonly called a believer. A believer is someone who believes in a project and supports the project by putting money into it. “Putting your money where your mouse...More

Why Capitalism needs Innovation to prevent a Crisis

Keywords: capitalism, economy, innovation, filosophy, marx, ford, industrialization, mass, production, crisis, crises

Henry Ford wanted to create a car that could be bought by his factory workers. There are two ways to reach that goal. Or you pay your factory workers enough money to be able to buy the cars you make, or you make your cars cheaper. Of course, Ford made this remark to show how cheap his cars could be with mass production. But his story shows a crucial flaw in capitalism, already pointed out by Carl Marx. I will show that it is not capitalism alone that causes this flaw, it is lack of innovation. What if you were Ford and chose to pay your workers more to enable them to buy a car? Your cars would become more expensive, so the workers would need to earn even more. You would put yourself out of business rather quickly. Then there is mass production: the more cars you produce, the cheaper they become. If your cars are cheaper, they will target a larger market. The cheaper you make your cars, the less you have to pay your workers to enable them to own your cars. Capitalism, with its drive...More

My service design statement about products

Keywords: service, design, mass, customization, industrialization, long, tail, software, social, network

The world as we knew it is coming to a grinding end. The Age of Industrialization has brought great wealth and prosperity to (a large part of) the world. But now are hitting the limits of the system. Natural resources are depleting fast, resulting in ever increasing prices of for example oil, food and drinking water. As dooming as it may seem for the 'old' system, a new inspiring movement has already been building a firm foundation and is ready to take hold of the main stream. I am talking about the creative, the digital, the social networking. I am talking about a shift from 'owning' to 'using'. From product to service. I am talking about The Connected. Mass production has worked. But we are getting tired of it. We want something different, something special, made to fit. Off course we do, but now we can. Mass customization has been a buzz word for some time now, but basically up to now it has been a failure from a business perspective. At least, if you consider mass customization...More