Curiosity saved the service designer

Something to watch, something to read, and something to ponder on.

First, I watched my former colleague Clive Grinyer‘s TedXLeeds talk on the Democratisation of Design. If you weren’t fortunate enough to be there on the night, you can now catch it on Youtube

“We are all designers. Get used to it,” says Clive. I’d buy the t-shirt if there was one.

In discussion afterwards, I wondered about the growing awareness of service design as a tool for business transformation. It seemed that, apart from designers, some other well-established disciplines – customer service, operations, marketing, for example – had strong pre-existing claims to define and deliver the “end-to-end customer experience” whatever that may be (and if you can find both ends, do please let me know :)

Then I read Peter Merholz’s piece on Harvard Business, Why Design Thinking Won’t Save You. The conclusion struck a chord with me…

what we must understand is that in this savagely complex world, we need to bring as broad a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives to bear on whatever challenges we have in front of us. While it’s wise to question the supremacy of “business thinking,” shifting the focus only to “design thinking” will mean you’re missing out on countless possibilities.

And that set me thinking. Maybe what’s missing in a lot of these conversations isn’t too little design, or too much business. In a complex world companies will prosper where they achieve inter-disciplinary collaboration based on equality and mutual respect – the tolerance and curiosity that I thought were British values until the new President made them America’s too.

You are not a unique snowflake. Get used to Enjoy it.

2 thoughts on “Curiosity saved the service designer

  1. Mutual respect, equality and indeed trust, come out of a set of shared objectives and a recognition that both sides are equally required to make the best stab at reaching the goal. On a day-to-day level business objectives can seem to be actively at odds with less tangible and longer-term user experience concerns but more often business wins out.

    As with gender equality it’s great that so many people can see, and are trying to counter, the imbalance but while one side still holds so much of the real power equality is a long way off.

    Positive discrimination is the only answer! ;-P

  2. Thanks Tom, insightful as always! What I see in your response is the tension between short term and long term interests, which is an important point. I’m not so sure though that design thinking is, or should always be, long term thinking. And on the other side, businesses frequently use “strategic reasons” to justify their slowness to meet immediate customer needs. ‘Termism is definitely there but doesn’t it cut both ways?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s