What Is The Difference Between Design Thinking And Service Design Thinking?
I get frequently asked what it is I mean when I use the terms – design thinking and service design thinking in particular. If you are someone who is discovering and learning about these concepts, it’s highly possible that this question crosses your mind. Here is an explanation that you may find useful:
It is a methodology as well as the ability to apply divergent thinking for solving all kinds of complex and ill-defined wicked problems using design tools & methods. Good design thinking is the capacity to view things that’s not readily apparent to others and make it explicit, in the form of a differentiated offering.
A typical project will focus on:
- developing empathy for the user and customer;
- developing design ideas to solve complex problems through the process of synthesis
- discovering and evaluating these ideas through diagramming and prototypes
- testing and making iterations till you find “THE” solution.
Now let’s look at some definitions, thay may give you sme additional insights:
Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Tim Brown, IDEO
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer—that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs, Apple
“Design thinking is the search for a magical balance between business and art; structure and chaos; intuition and logic; concept and execution; playfulness and formality; and control and empowerment.” Idris Mootee, Idea Coutre
Service Design Thinking
Service design thinking is an extension of design thinking. With the blurring of the boundary between hardware and software, today behind any innovation, product or solution hides a service. As differentiation in products is reducing with the maturities in industries, and the combination of available technologies and competition is increasing consumer expectations; customer service can be the only competitive differentiator as this is hard to ape.
This service experience can help in increasing purchase consideration, building loyalty, minimizing attrition, and driving cross and up sales. As a result, when you think about any product or solution, it’s pointless to think about it in isolation, and it’s time to rethink service as a competitive differentiator and strategic asset, and not consider it as a drain on corporate resources.
Let us consider an iPhone or Toyota Innova or LG refrigerator: for the customers, it’s not just buying this product, but also about their experiences and emotional gratification, though while making the purchase decision the rational elements may “hide” the emotional dimension. What matters is the experience along the entire customer journey, right from awareness of the products and how it meets their goals or addresses their pain points to after sales service and post-purchase customer support.
We have understood about product companies, now what business that has been providing services. For example: If you have two coffee shops right next to each other, and each sells the same coffee at the same price, what makes a customer walk into one and not the other?
The sample answers could be:
- Maybe one plays music or have a live orchestra in the evenings and the other doesn’t
- Maybe one accepts mobile payments and credit cards, and the other accepts cash only
- Maybe you one has more comfortable seating or you like their décor and layout
- Maybe they offer other value-added services
- Maybe the staff at one is responsive or draws fun shapes on the top of their lattes
“In a nut-shell, whether you are a product or service provider, the customer’s experience is what matters. Moreover, as employees provide this ultimate experience, their experiences also count.”
Service design thinking puts an emphasis on the entire lifecycle of the experience around a product/service, moments that will make or break the positive experience, when it’s being used, disposed of, and so on. It goes beyond the product. It takes into account the internal and customer-facing activities and experience of the employee involved to deliver an overwhelming service experience so that customers keep coming back for more.
Where experience design concerns itself only with the customer-facing aspects, service design also looks at the experience of employees – both customer-facing – “front-line” – and back-office (behind the scene).
Service is a good metaphor for what this experience is because this is something organizations often forget. Having understood this, let’s look at some of the definitions of service design thinking:
The activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. The purpose of service design methodologies is to design according to the needs of customers or participants, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers. Service Design Network
“A service is something that I use but do not own. Service design is therefore the shaping of service experiences so that they really work for people. Removing the lumps and bumps that make them frustrating, and then adding some magic to make them compelling.” – Mat Hunter, Design Council
“Service design aims at designing services that are useful, usable and desirable from the user perspective, and efficient, effective and different from the provider perspective. It is a strategic approach that helps providers to develop clear strategic positioning for their service offerings. Services are systems that involve many different influential factors, so service design takes holistic approach in order to get an understanding of the system and the different actors within the system.” Mager B, Sung T-J
In the past, design methods were applied only to products, and services did not get the same attention. However, today in the experience economy, it’s the overall experience (product+service) that counts and judged by customers. So companies that continue to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to fund the customer experience initiatives adequately will soon find themselves on the fast track to price wars and commoditization.
To succeed and survive, to accomplish this transformation, you need design thinking and service design tools and techniques and new ways of thinking.
In a nutshell, Design Thinking is a methodology and mindset that is used to innovate and solve complex business problems for competitive advantage. Wherein, Service Design Thinking is about applying design thinking and product and interaction design methods for creating the seamless experience and interface to tangible service touchpoints (for example advertising, in-store, website, mobile app & desktop interfaces) and abolish the distinct silos of customer touchpoints.
To find out more about how we can help you create and execute service design thinking strategy, do call us at +91-8080015500 or Contact Us. We are here to help.