This is the fourth post in a series about how to scale service design, based on my closing remarks at the 2017 Service Design Global Conference in Madrid. The first three posts focused on technology, the ubiquity of contexts in which practitioners are now applying service design, and the discipline’s need for coaching. This final post will focus on service delivery.
In 2017, I had the pleasure of heading the jury for the Service Design Awards. As part of our deliberation, we discussed those submissions that had clear and tangible project results—and those that didn’t. In debating the merits of these entries, one jury member posited, “This is the Service Design Awards, not the Service Delivery Awards.” His argument advocated that there could be merit in the design of a service in and of itself, regardless of whether the design had been implemented.
I agree with this, especially when the design initiative inspires others or sparks cultural change within an organization. But it became clear to me at the conference that the discipline of service design can improve its perceived—and true—value if service designs are actually brought to life in the real world. In retrospect, this makes sense, given my definition of service design, which is: The envisioning of people’s journeys and the ecosystems that are required to support them.
Ecosystems are key to delivery. They encompass the employees, partners, processes, technology, policies, data, communications, incentives, culture, tools, training, spaces, and budgets that support (or thwart) the customer experience. And service designers, through service blueprints and beyond, are tasked with designing these ecosystems.
But we need more than design work to ensure that services and experiences are implemented the way we’ve intended. We need to operationalize our designs. And this is hard work. It involves changing how organizations do business every day.
Enter the journey manager.
The journey manager is an emerging role within organizations (My estimate is that there are about 1,000 individuals in this role across the world today.) Analogous to a traditional product manager, the journey manager is responsible for understanding customer needs, identifying gaps with the current experience, creating a long-term vision, making the business case for change, herding cross-functional stakeholders to execute on that vision, and measuring the ongoing impact of their work. That measurement will center largely on journey analytics, which involves the analysis of customer feedback, operational metrics, and financial data aligned to key customer journeys.
It’s my belief that in the near future, the journey manager will evolve from an obscure role to an essential player in the delivery of service design strategies.
Stay tuned for more on journey analytics and our Journey Manager Report, launching in Spring 2018!
The theme for the next issue of Touchpoint from the Service Design Network will be “From Design To Implementation.” To share your ideas and best practices for service design delivery, answer the call for papers by March 15, 2018.