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What Service Design Is and How It Supports Innovation: A Guide

As we step into the third decade of the 21st century, the world of product design has evolved beyond measure. Service design is the new paradigm for innovation, which is something so many business strategists are still struggling with.


What you should remember is that service design is about creating the finer experiences in life targeted at human desires. How can your products get there? Read on.


The Problem of Innovation


We hear it all the time. Businesses, large and small, need to innovate. Product design and innovation have become routine processes for businesses looking to make waves constantly. However, innovation is harder to pin down than that.


In a market saturated with competition, especially as global barriers break down, what does it mean to innovate a product? There are very few good ideas that are worth investing in, in that they will pay for the R&D involved almost immediately. Instead, businesses need to understand what service design is and use that to support their innovation goals.


What Service Design Is


Service design is an idea and process that reached popularity in intellectual circles in the ‘80s and sadly has been underutilized in the world of product management. Service design is centered on taking a fuller view of client needs.


Service design is about planning, organizing, and synchronizing personnel and resources to design and execute a complete user experience. Optimized for simplicity and excellence as well as accessibility, service design forces you to look at the bigger picture that surrounds product and service provision.


The Product-Service Dichotomy


The trouble with how we perceive products and services starts early. The difference between products and services is emphasized so much that we often forget that they also come together.


For example, a restaurant is considered part of the service industry. However, that doesn’t mean a product isn’t being created. The food that goes out, the aroma it releases, and the presentation that evokes a response are all part of the product side of it. On the other hand, the way clients are treated by the service staff plays an integral role in how the food is experienced.


That’s why service design emphasizes that products and services are inherently linked. Let’s take another example. If a headphone set is sleek, sturdy, and flexible, the producers have already initiated a relationship with their consumers by offering an act of service. This act of service here is the creation of a product that aids their consumers in going about their day while using the product.


A meeting in which a business strategist is speaking.


Service Design: Process, Not Act


As we understand markets more deeply, we realize that service design is therefore linked to innovation in a way that is much more sustainable than creating “new” products. Service design helps us understand that product design and prototyping is a process and not a one-time thing.


The focus on simplicity automatically elicits a focus on specificity, which means that companies need to understand the various kinds of consumer needs in the market. Only after that can they truly get access to niche populations to deliver innovative customer experiences that have not existed before.


It can be hard to incorporate service design into an organization that has been working in the traditional way since inception. That’s why our strategic insight consultancy offers organization innovation and creative consulting to help you become a business of the future.


We provide design audits, product design, and prototyping, as well as offer strategic insight in Abu Dhabi and beyond.



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