The Service Design Programme
The Service Design Programme
This is a well-structured program for raising awareness of service design and advocating for it to both industry and the design field. The blend of (and interaction between) the program’s online and offline elements seems well thought-out. The program appears to be more government-driven than demand/user-driven; thus, the jury would have liked to see the designers place heavier emphasis on employing the design processes they are promoting. The jury applauds the impact the program has achieved since launch, and looks forward to following its progress.
The Service Design Programme
1. The Nutshell: In plain language, tell us what your project is, what it does, and what it’s comprised of.
The Service Design Programme provides comprehensive support for the manufacturing industry through activities that include promotional seminars, intensive workshops with teams from individual companies and on-line resources. In parallel, design businesses are being introduced to new tools and techniques to build both their capacity for and confidence in the delivery of service design.
The programme is funded by the Welsh Government through the department of Economy and Transport and reflects the most recent policy documents from the European and UK governments that have both identified service innovation as a priority for the future competitiveness of the sector.
2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Before the launch of the programme in August 2010, no design agencies were practicing service design in Wales and, from the experience of delivering a wider business support programme, most manufacturers were primarily product focused, believing their competitive advantage was based on performance specification balanced against price rather than an informed awareness of end user needs and experiences.
Combined with the fact that over 75% of UK GDP was generated through the service sector and over 48%* of UK manufacturers plan to introduce service innovations over the next few years, what appears clear is an opportunity for designers to meet the needs of the service sector whilst finding new ways to work with a manufacturing sector looking for routes to growth.
*UK Engineering Employers Federation – Innovation Monitor 2010.
3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
A core objective of the programme has been to build regional capacity for service design. Design Wales believe they will make a significant contribution to economic development and public service effectiveness over the longer term if at the conclusion of the programme there is a small but capable cluster of service design agencies in Wales.
In doing so we believe these agencies will make a significant contribution to economic development and public service effectiveness over the longer term if at the conclusion of the programme there is a small but capable cluster of service design agencies in Wales.
4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The design of the programme was informed by interviews with potential clients from the design and manufacturing industries. Typically, these were managing directors from SMEs, however this research and mapping was complimented by input from a broader mix of individuals that formed the steering group. This included representatives from Virgin Atlantic, Nuaire and The Wales Millennium Centre.
Once this initial scoping phase was complete an initial 'offer' was co-created with the group and designed by Design Wales, this was then tested though pilot projects with SMEs in each sector.
Small scale demonstration projects were also identified for relevant companies, these proved essential in gaining buy-in from key project partners and focused on specific elements of a business. The projects were intended to show how service design could add value to the customer experience through practical and realistic actions. One example of this is a video diary created for a conservatory manufacturer. The company wanted to make the most of their investment in market-leading customer service. However, this investment was focused on the sales process and the company knew very little about the customer experience during the installation phase. Using the video diary gave them this insight and provided inspiration for several new service innovations.
Results and outputs from these pilot projects were presented back to the steering group at a workshop, where feedback was sought and opportunities for improvements suggested. By taking this co-creation approach Design Wales engaged with a broader set of stakeholders. This not only helped to design a unique service design programme but also helped develop additional opportunities that have resulted in commissioned projects, funding and created a sustainable programme.
5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Following the initial research, design and testing phase of the programme the full service has now been operational since January 2011. During this time, the following impacts have been achieved through the activities of the service design programme:
- The creation of the first regional service design cluster.
- 15 new jobs created within the first 18 months of the programme
- 38 New services launched
- £75,000 R&D investment induced within industry
- Influence on regional innovation policy (currently supporting the creation of a service innovation policy)
- Inward investment from overseas through commercialisation of the programme
- 50 manufacturing companies engaged with programme
- 24 design agencies undertaken the service design for designers training programme
6. Outline the steps of the service; what are the intended behavioral patterns or “scripts” for the actors interacting with the service?
The core activity of the Service Design Programme takes place within two areas; Support for designers and support for industry. The service delivered to each sector has been designed to deliver the most effective and relevant support possible. A two minute explainer animation has been created to describe the service for these sectors: http://vimeo.com/33403934
Although not a core component of the programme, we also work with public/third sector organisations and deliver International projects and workshops in service design.
How we work with designers - If you’re designer seeking to develop your skills, expertise and knowledge in service design you can do this through a series of group and individual workshops that introduce service design concepts. These are complimented by one-on-one sup¬port delivered by experienced service designers.
How we work with industry - If you’re a business that wants to create a competitive advantage through your service you can do this through a structured programme of activity. This ranges from regular seminars and keynote speaker events, to half-day Service Essentials workshops.
7. How did you identify the possible leverage points in the service system? How did you evaluate the importance of each, and determine the mix of interventions that would have the greatest impact?
Our research pointed towards a programme that did three thing really well, these were; simple to understand and access, could demonstrate impact quickly and provided clear routes to market.
It was clear from the initial discussions with other business support initiatives that the service design programme had to operate like a 'consultancy business' rather than a government project. This was achieved by designing in leverage points such as signed and costed agreements, pre-programme diagnostic tools and project sign off meetings. Neither of which are typical of government advisory initiatives. Design Wales identified the importance of each leverage point through the pilot projects, steering group workshops and small-scale demonstration projects, these provided the design team with feedback on each touchpoint and were built into the final design.
The Design team also engaged the expertise of colleagues working in European Innovation Policy to design an appropriate evaluation process to moniter the impact and effectiveness of the programme's interventions.