For about five years I have had a plan to start to write a blog about design of experiences and future of services. That’s pretty long while to get nothing done – so it’s about a time for the first entry! Developing services of all sorts and flavors is my line of work, but actually the reason behind this blog is not only to write about my professional experiences. The ideas I have in mind now are more related to the big question: “where are we going to go next?”
Six year in a service design agency gives a rich perspective to how different organizations work when they develop new stuff to market. All of them are now struggling because they know that they need to adapt a new culture and start actually pursue human-centric approach. But making the change happen in real life is painful, for many it’s actually extremely painful. However, those who are agile and learn fast can take big leaps in short time. The age of sustainability and value in customer experience is here, and those who find competitive advantage in intangible will write the future of business.
Working in many different fields and markets also gives interesting perspective to how we as customers make our decisions in our everyday lives. Whether it’s about queuing for “compulsory” public service or to a restaurant that we actually would die to get into… What drives us, what we want to achieve and what makes our lives more meaningful? Services and contexts change but it’s always about human behavior – and on the both sides of the table of the service delivery. Whether it’s B2C, C2C or B2B setting, the ones who make purchase decisions and tell stories about their experiences are always humans.
In theory a very holistic approach for designing for experiences is probably the thing that everyone thinks is the way things should be done. Design thinking and service design (I actually hate the whole term for many reasons… but more about that later) have tried to be eyeglasses for organizations to see their offering, problems and new opportunities from where and how the customer sees them. To take a holistic look instead of working in silos and creating stuff that just makes everything more and more complicated to use, change and even understand.
But what is quite obvious, holistic design of experiences is actually extremely complicated. And not only because of how companies for example are organized to create and deliver value to their customers. What works great in theory is often a whole another story in practice. The change in human behavior is hard to predict. And culture cannot be changes from outside. During the past few years in my day job in a service design agency we have for example systematically reinvented our approach a couple of times based on our real life experiences. Services are all about living organisms and constant change – and so is service design, at least for me.
Many of the ideas and realizations I hope to write about have to do with the possibilities of applying human centric design approach to solve various problems of all sorts. But some of them are also about frustration, and failures. The greatest discovery and creation is often seeded from pain and struggle.
Whatever the approach, I guess there’s no denying that the future of business is in service business. With tangible it is hard to find your share in the market and unique slot in the minds of the customers, because we are in the situation where each and every organization is forced to think how to create more value with less resources. And making more stuff just isn’t something that this planet can handle in the long run. That’s why the future of value is in intangible: in radically innovative service concepts and service business, and in ability to deliver meaningful experiences. I believe that instead of more mass-produced crap we as customers need just a hand full truly well-thought items that actually make our lives meaningful. And outstanding services that help us buy, access and take care of those items that really matter to us.