Interview with Marc Stickdorn, Co-Founder & CEO of More Than Metrics
By Thomas Brandenburg
“Start small with several small “stealth” projects. Give them boring titles (avoid words like design, innovation, agile, etc.) and use them to adapt the service design process, tools, methods, and language to your own organisation. Prove that this approach works within your organisational structures, processes, and culture by measure the impact. Only then start communication and scaling service design.” —Marc Stickdorn
What are the key ingredients necessary in delivering an exceptional end-to-end service experience at scale? How do service designers help?
Service designers are experts on facilitating service design projects, but there are mostly not experts on specific subject matters—and they don’t need to be. They can help to establish service design (or however your organisation calls what we’re doing) as a common language within the organisation connecting various departments and disciplines.
Tools and methods of service design help to constantly slip into the shoes of users, co-create between departments, and iteratively develop and improve solutions. What is essential for this is budget, time and money, for the core service design team as well as the extended project team to be able to really do service design on a sustainable basis.
How should an organizational structure be adaptive or change to successfully deliver new services with speed and scale?
The biggest hurdle to bring service design into large organisations, it is to break down organisational silos. Usually, teams or departments are measured by certain KPIs and these ones often also drive the individual perception of what is important and what not—what is important stays on the individual agenda, what’s not important vanishes over time.
Beside budget (time and money) for service design and management buy-in (e.g. fostering cross-departmental co-creation and enabling access to users and front-line employees), including service design into KPI and personal incentive schemes is vital.
What is a key lesson(s) you learned over the years in scaling service design?
Start small with several small “stealth” projects. Give them boring titles (avoid words like design, innovation, agile, etc.) and use them to adapt the service design process, tools, methods, and language to your own organisation. Prove that this approach works within your organisational structures, processes, and culture by measure the impact. Only then start communication and scaling service design.
Are there any organizations that come to mind that are successful at incorporating service design into their process and executing it at scale?
We’ve built our own startup on the principles of service design and do service design every day. Of course, this is rather easy as a small software company serving the service design community, but also challenging as we have a very competent audience.
For large multi-nationals, Deutsche Telekom is a good example.
For public services, of course, Government Digital Service in the UK is a leading example and the wider application of service design within the UK government in general. But also, rather new initiatives, like the Ministry of Happiness in Dubai seems very promising.
What are the most useful framework(s) for measuring impact of the design of services?
It depends on the project. You could, for example, measure KPIs like user, customer, or employee satisfaction, process duration, conversion, costs, revenues, loyalty, retention, churn, etc. There’s no framework that fits all project, so you need to define KPIs before you start a project. Measure the baseline. Then measure during live prototypes, pilots, implementation and months after launch during regular business. What’s the effect? You can calculate the ROI of service design for single projects, but not for service design as an approach in general. Btw, this is similar to other practices: Try to measure the ROI of Accounting or Management in general… 😀
Any final thoughts you would like to share on making new services bigger, stronger, faster, and better?
Organisations that apply service design in a larger context need to find ways how to include service design in their structures, processes, and culture, without losing the power of inter-disciplinary co-creation and the iterative process.
I sometimes see organisations squeezing design processes into rigid structures with clear hand-overs between departments with limited responsibilities. This worries me. It’s like planning an entire “agile” software development project with a Gantt-chart – and then sticking to the plan.
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