Welcome to Design for Services – a free, on-line resource for service and service operations design, re-design and improvement. If you work in or around services, then this site is for you.
Until fairly recently, service and service operations design was a poor cousin to the design of products and manufacturing processes. But with the growth of the service economy, this has begun to change.
Unfortunately, this increased focus on services has not necessarily lead to improvements in design. There has been a tendency to simply take the same approaches used so successfully in product design and manufacturing, and apply them to services. But, services are very different to products, with the customer sitting at the very heart of what is being supplied. This creates a system dynamic and degree of complexity very different from that encountered in the manufacture of products. Treat a service customer as a standardised unit of production, to be directed and processed in a standardised way (rather than reflecting their specific needs and circumstances), and you should not be surprised if that customer chooses to go elsewhere.
This site is about a better way, based on a holistic and customer-focused approach to service and service operations design, that reflects the more intimate relationship between customer and service provider.
Applied Systems Thinking
At the heart of Design for Services is the application of Systems Thinking to the design and improvement of services. This provides the conceptual framework, or structure, within which other related Concepts are introduced. These are then carried forward into a set of practical design Methods and Techniques.
In the final section of the site, I look at the Application of these concepts and methods, across various settings, both private and public sector; single and multi-agency; using different patterns of delivery, including the use of outsourcing and shared services; and at the application of technology.
Business Architecture Design
The methods presented here are centred on the design and development of a Business Architecture for your service operation. Clustered around this central approach are a range of related design methods and techniques, including: Customer Insight; service design approaches such as Co-creation and Prototyping, performance improvement methods; and methods for collaborative working and for delivering customer and business change.
Getting the Most from the Site
Design for Services is unashamedly pluralistic. It may cover material that you have encountered before, under various wrappers - TQM, Lean, Six Sigma, BPR et al. To get the most from the site, it’s best to approach this material afresh. A lot of good concepts and ideas get distorted over time, through mis-interpretation and commercialisation. Here everything is viewed afresh, through the unifying lens of Systems Thinking.
Design for Services aims to provide short, concise and accessible introductions to each topic. Beyond this, it provides links to additional resources, in the form of further reading and useful (free or low cost) resources published by others; and to other useful sites on service design and improvement.
The site is at an early stage of development, so expect it to evolve significantly over time, as new material is added. As with all services, it can only benefit from a greater understanding of demand. Please spend a few minutes to provide your ideas and feedback.
Design for Services is published under a Creative Commons licence.
About the Author
Tim Manning is a Business Architect, Service Designer and Project Manager, with over 25 years experience in systems engineering and the management of business change, the last 15 of which have focused on business transformation through service design and improvement. Tim is currently based in the UK.
Last Updated: 04/01/2013