A course of Service Design Thinking at Dillington

Written by on 6th March, 2014

You probably know that we run insights workshops, where we look at how you can keep your customers engaged and help you better understand the value your service offers.

Well, yesterday we were on the other side of the table. For a bit of a refresh, we took to the beautiful grounds of Dillington House in Somerset for some service design workshops. Service design can add a lot to a brand’s offering, and to help the group understand just how much, Arne van Oosterom of DesignThinkers Group unpicked the service offerings of some big brands, like Philips, Nike and Apple. He identified what makes or breaks a great offering, how to fix them, and how we go about creating one from scratch.

Last time we did this course, we picked up some great tools, which we’ve been using in business workshops ever since. So we knew the value it offered and were keen to do it again. It’s really useful seeing how others engage and get insight, and how groups of people with no previous experience of working together can scope out the bones of a new business in just a few short hours.

Looking at a corporate environment, this way of working helps engage people with differing viewpoints in different departments, as they create and own a joint idea. This way there is no one person who owns the idea, and so it has incredible value to a business when the whole team both understands and believes in the vision.

So to get us understanding just how to go about achieving this unity, each group took on an imaginary company setup. We used tools like personas and customer journey maps to plot a course of interaction between customer and company, and looked at possible emotions a customer might experience when coming into contact with the brand. This helped us work out what to expect from customers. We also discovered their motivations for finding and using a service in the first place, giving us the ability to amend our customer journey, which would ultimately guide them through the whole experience as seamlessly as possible.

The experiences and projects laid on by the course tutors brought the tools to life. They also gave us real life examples of how this approach made for innovative solutions and new services that really worked.

One such innovative services case study was a solution that DesignThinkers Group came up with for an African batik fabric business. Nigerian nationals don’t buy ready-made clothes – they don’t trust it will suit their needs. So their typical clothes buying routine would involve finding a cloth they liked and then finding a tailor they trust to make the garment they want – sometimes a very stressful process. So DesignThinkers Group joined the company with a bespoke tailoring service, thus creating a new experience led shop that provided the whole service under one roof. This created value for the fabric manufacturer, the tailor and the customer.

The same way as Nike sells more than just a shoe – it sells fitness too – this new service offered more than just the sale of cloth. That co-creation of value has linked two very different products to make a service for the user that has incredible value. These are the sort of innovative businesses that can be facilitated by the design thinking tools we used.

It’s hard to separate the two aspects when it comes to putting a brand together, but being aware of where and how your company is seen and experienced by your audience and how best to encourage them to continue on a happy path with the company is key to forming a great brand.

The way we use our tools

Uncovering values is incredibly important to brand design, and the tools we use at Rose-Innes offer a clear way to define value to customers. It gives substance and authenticity to business design, brand and marketing proposals.

In the workshop we did with RecRock for example, we uncovered a lot about their service, which informed both how we were to approach their branding and also how they themselves develop and communicate with their audience.
As a music workshop company (among other things), we helped them identify where their skills could take them, we looked at opportunities that could arise through possible collaborations and how their services could benefit and change as their business grows. While they provide a variety services to many different audiences, we identified and grouped their customer segments in order to assign which values they best relate to.

This is what Daniel Fitzgerald, manager of RecRock, thought…

“We had an in-depth look at our business model, who our customers are and how we interact with them. When running a business, you often don't get the chance to take a step back and look at these things from an outside perspective. A thoroughly rewarding experience with qualified and experienced staff.”