Touchpoint Vol. 4 No. 2 - Service Design on Stage

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volume 4 | no. 2 | 12,80 euro

September 2012

Service Design on Stage

A Performing Arts Perspective on Service Design By Raymond P. Fisk and Stephen J. Grove

Boom! Wow. Wow! WOW! BOOOOM!!! By Markus HormeĂ&#x; and Adam Lawrence

The Lost Pleasure of Random and Surprise By Fabio Di Liberto

Touchpoint Touchpoint Volume 4 No. 2 September 2012 The Journal of Service Design ISSN 1868-6052 Publisher Service Design Network Chief Editor Birgit Mager Editorial Board Shelley Evenson Jesse Grimes Adam Lawrence Markus Hormeß Advisory Board Kerry Bodine Shelley Evenson Jesse Grimes Jeff Howard Craig La Rosa Project Management & Art Direction Miriam Becker Design Concept Continuum Cover Picture Redfishingboat (MickO) / flickr Pictures Unless otherwise stated, the copyrights of all images used for illustration lie with the author(s) of the respective article

Proofreading Tim Danaher Printing

peipers – DruckZentrum Kölnwest Fonts Mercury G3 Whitney Pro Service Design Network gGmbH Mülheimer Freiheit 56 D-51063 Köln Germany Contact & Advertising Sales Miriam Becker Touchpoint Subscription For ordering or subscribing to Touchpoint, please visit tp-catalog Touchpoint is also available as ebook via amazon.

from the editors

Service Design on Stage

Picture a room. A collection of talented people. Colleagues, strangers, a cross–functional team. There’s a facilitator, but their process is a co–creative one. Some have brought research – fat folders of interviews, images, videos. Many have spent days in observation, out in the real world, watching, talking. Perhaps they start from scratch, building on insights from their research, observation and experience. Perhaps they start with an existing offering, forming a new shape for a new generation to consume. They build, again and again. Failing, restructuring, failing. They assemble a sequence of events; adding, subtracting, rearranging. Iterate, iterate, iterate. They become more specific, more visual. Does it look right, feel right, is it understandable? Is it engaging? Does it have value? Technologists join the team, and other colleagues whose contributions will never be seen but whose knowledge is vital. Is this feasible? Is it affordable? Does it fit our vision, capabilities, brief? The prototypes become more detailed, more real. They are tested, tweaked, tested again until the final version is rolled out to the public, sending the paying consumer on a journey which leaves them satisfied, happy, perhaps even transformed. Service design, or a theatre rehearsal? Or both? My own road to service design led directly from a career in professional theatre, and I found the overlaps striking. It’s hardly surprising – the business of show business is to create a sequence of stimuli which result in a positive (emotional) outcome. The parallels to customer experience are obvious. But the performing arts are far more than just the performance itself. Like in a big hotel, a theatre’s costumed ensemble is outnumbered perhaps ten to one by the employees behind the scenes, and showbiz is equally interested in the hidden elements of the craft – as well as questions of value. How can this work? Does the world need this? Will it make a buck? With millennia of experience with these tools and viewpoints, it is no wonder that these arts have so much to offer service design. This issue of Touch point reflects the breadth of that overlap. After a valuable overview by Fisk and Grove – among the first to draw comparisons between theatre and service – other writers from both show business and service design address many of the staples of performing arts – story structure, surprise, improvisation, enactment, engagement, and role. Central to many of the articles – as they are central in art – are the very human questions of emotion and authenticity. If there is one pitfall of a theatrical lens in design, it is the idea that showbiz and its emotions are in some way fake, that it is a facade. But a great actor like Sir Anthony Hopkins is not a dissembler. His Hannibal Lectern chills us precisely because it reveals aspects of the actor – aspects of all of us – which are usually kept hidden. Art can be super– authentic, more real than the real thing. So forget the idea that show business is all about the show. See it as a tough innovation business which is set up to reach people’s hearts. See it as a closely related, more mature discipline, and step on stage. Oh, and break a leg.

Birgit Mager is professor for service design at Köln International School of Design (KISD), Germany. She is founder and director of sedes research – the centre for service design research at KISD, co-founder and president of Service Design Network and chief editor of Touchpoint. Shelley Evenson is an experience researcher at Facebook. Prior to that she was principal in user experience at Microsoft and associate professor for interaction design at Carnegie Mellon University. Jesse Grimes has twelve years experience as an interaction designer and consultant, now specialising in service design. He has worked in London, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf and Sydney, and is now based in Amsterdam with Informaat. Adam Lawrence is a service innovation consultant with a background in science, music and process design. Markus Hormeß is an actor, comedian and customer experience director with a background in psychology, marketing and product development. Adam and Markus are co-founders of WorkPlayExperience, a service design consultancy with a uniquely theatrical approach.

Adam Lawrence for the editorial board touchpoint


68 feature: service design on stage

6 2



from the editors



forrester’s take 10 Character and Storyline

Development for Service Design Kerry Bodine

cross-discipline 12 Event Management Meets

Service Design

Jürgen Faust, Christoph Merdes, Caspar Siebel



20 A Performing Arts Perspective

on Service Design

Raymond P. Fisk and Stephen J. Grove

26 Boom! Wow. Wow! WOW!


Markus Hormeß and Adam Lawrence

30 The Lost Pleasure of

Randomness and Surprise Fabio Di Liberto

36 Prepare to Improvise Toby Bottorf and Daniel Sobol

40 The Creak of the Back Gate Louise Taylor and David Parkinson

44 Directing Design Emmanuel Fragnière and Marshall Sitten

48 “Call Me a Cab! But first…” Byron Stewart,

50 Providing Patients With a

Big Stage

Christopher Ferguson

54 Beyond the Service Journey Roger Manix and Lara Penin

58 Shaping Vision through


Thomas Troch, Tom De Ruyck and Caroline van Hoff

64 Shaping Service Experiences

Through Character Roles

Graziella Prando, Rafael Soldatelli and Patrícia Sacchet

68 Theatrical Improvisation for

Participatory Design

Alan Dix and Layda Gongora


70 tools and methods 70 How Stanislavsky Changed


Daniel Sobol and Yuhgo Yamaguchi

78 Photoboarding Remko van der Lugt, Carolien Postma and Pieter Jan Stappers


82 Bringing Ideas to Life Katrin Dribbisch, Manuel Großmann, Martin Jordan and Olga Scupin

profiles 86 Interview: Markus Hormeß

and Adam Lawrence Miriam Becker


dos & don’ts

inside sdn 92 SDN UK Launches Phil Goad and Sarah Ronald


member map touchpoint



photo: clickclaker / flickr

join the international service design conference in paris!! This year's global event will take Paris, from Sunday, October 28 to Tuesday, October 30. The conference topic will be “Cultural Change by Design”. We will be investigating how positive economic, social and cultural change can be assisted with the use of design. We will be looking at how service design promotes successful inter- and transdisciplinary projects, how it can transform internal working cultures and how service cultures vary in different countries and the implications of that. On October 28, we will start with the annual SDN member's meeting, followed by two days with an inspiring mix of lectures, workshops, and open microphone sessions. Besides there will be

sdn chapters are spreading around the world Since Austrian members of the Service Design Network founded the first National Chapter in Graz in January 2011, many new Chapters have formed all around the world. At present there are chapters in Austria, Chicago, Denmark, France, Germany, Korea, New York, Portugal and in the United Kingdom. The local chapters are closely 6


! n i o J

special round table discussions for the members of the Service Design Network. Use this opportunity to gain new insights into the field of service design, exchange ideas with likeminded people from all over the

connected to the global development of service design knowledge and practice. In addition they respond to local needs and interests and provide space to personally interact with peers and exchange knowledge. We invite you to actively get involved in your local chapter! If there is no chapter in your country or area – why not build a new one?! Have a look at the SDN website to find out more about the SDN National Chapters:

world and expand your network. And not to forget: the French capital itself is also worth having a look! Order your ticket at

http://www.service-design-network .org/sdnnationalchapter

the greenhouse – a service design course by design wales Based on the experience that the design and innovation of services has the potential to support growth and create positive economic impact, Design Wales created The Greenhouse; a design-led service innovation training programme. The Cardiffbased design centre Design Wales designed the programme especially for public authorities, design

centres and third sector bodies. If you are a programme manager or policy maker working in the fields of design, innovation, service delivery, economic development and business support you are invited to join! By taking part in this intensive, three-day course you will learn how to run design-led innovation projects within your organisation. As well as learning from experienced practitioners in an internationally renowned design centre, you will also be given copies of the Greenhouse process, tools and methods. Next Greenhouse Schools November 20th – 22nd 2012 February 5th – 7th 2013 May 14th – 16th 2013 To register at any of the upcoming Greenhouse events please email: to request a booking form. For questions contact Paul Thurston:

The best way to keep your customers is to keep them wanting you.

new touchpoint articles online Two articles from the previous Touchpoint issue “Eat, Sleep, Play” are now online at the SDN website. You can read “Design Principles for Eating Sustainably: Bridging the Gap Between Consumer Intention and Action” by Michelle McCune and “Anatomy of an Experience Map: How Experience Maps Can Be Used in Service Design” by Chris Risdon in the ‘share’ section of the SDN website (first click on “learn” in the menu). There you can also read and comment other articles, theses, methods and case studies.

Muensterstr. 111 48155 Muenster Germany +49.2506.3048437


highlights of the german service design conference

4th ux conference in lugano UXconference is a conference focused on user experience design aimed to create innovation. Now at its 4th edition, it will take place on October 27th in USI Aula Magna, in Lugano, Switzerland. This year, the frame theme will be “Digital experiences in smart cities”. the The conference will come up with a multidisciplinary progamme of inspirational talks on design, strategy, innovative services and products … in particular the conference will deal with physicalisation, mobile, artefacts and user research. The event assembles the most important experts of industry and research and aims to create a network composed by professionals, researchers, businessmen and gifted people in the field of user experience. Read more: http://www. As a member of the Service Design Network you can purchase a ticket at a 10% discount on the ticket price. Please contact the SDN office ( to get the promotion code.

One summer weekend in 2012 Cologne, Germany became the hub of Service Design. For all those, who were not able to join the SDN Germany Conference in 2012 or the ones who want to see some presentations again. Have a look at the conference website. There you can watch the videos of the keynote speeches:

misfit: a research documentary by cooler solutions At some point, everyone knows what it’s like to be apprehensive, insecure and doubtful about achieving our best. But what if you had a health condition that physically stopped you from fully experiencing life and the world around you? People living with obesity must battle against all these elements on a daily basis. Obesity is a condition where people tend to have strong opinions so it was a very eye opening project for the team of Toronto-based company Cooler Solutions. The documentary ‘Misfit’ unpackages the experience of living in a world that isn’t designed for you in an inspirational, moving and ultimately empathetic view into overcoming physical and percep-

Once more, we like to thank Thomas Schönweitz, Representative of the German chapter and Nancy Birkhölzer (see picture on the right) as conference chairs for their brilliant work and all the time they invested to plan the first German national conference! A big thank you also to all the volunteers who helped, all speakers who inspired us and of course to all participants who came and brought the conference to life! We hope to see you at the international service design conference in Paris!

tual barriers. Misfit researched the psychiatrists, physiotherapists and nutritionists who are on the front lines as well as people living with obesity. The film explores the misfit between obese people and the designed environment. This research is informing the design of new hospital seating although the insights apply broadly to communication and experience design. Have a look:

new student newsletter This summer Service Design Network created a newsletter especially for students. The ‘Student Insider’ will deliver current information selected for students and PhD researchers who are studying service design or plan to focus on the discipline. Amongst others the topics will be new study courses and registration dates, summer schools and courses, scholarships and competitions. Internships and open positions and interesting publication and theses. Have a look: You do not have to be a student member of SDN to subscribe to the Student Insider. But of course you

are welcome to become one! The Service Design Network has set up a new type of membership customised for students. Not only will you socialise with the service design community. As a student member of SDN you will enjoy a number of student member benefits: You can create your user profile on the SDN website, showcase yourself and connect with others, enjoy full access to the Service Design Network Community Platform and you will also have priority booking for student tickets for SDN conferences. And – most notably – you will receive a free subscription of Touchpoint, the Journal of Service Design! Have a look at the membership details and become a member at! touchpoint


Character and Storyline Development for Service Design The Role of Personas and Journey Maps

Any great performance – whether theater, opera, musical, or film – relies on two key elements: strong character development and a compelling storyline. Great service design also relies on these elements. The characters in your service – your customers, employees, and external partners – take center stage as they interact and create value with each other. Their personal narratives interweave to form a composite storyline that embodies the comedy or tragedy of your current service interactions and the promise of tomorrow’s. In Forrester’s new book, Outside In: The Power Of Putting Customers At The Center Of Your Business, we discuss two tools that can help service design teams develop characters and storylines that will have a positive business impact. These tools are personas and journey maps. PERSONAS HELP YOU DEFINE THE PLAYERS IN YOUR SERVICE

Personas are fictional characters that embody the key behaviours, attributes, motivations, and goals of a group of real people. A typical persona is created from primary research insights and takes the form of a vivid narrative description of a single person who represents a behavioural segment. For example, financial services 10


firm and credit card issuer Discover has a set of six personas that represent key customer behaviours. “Valerie,” the company’s primary persona, is a recently divorced forty-two-year-old woman living in Seattle. She’s got two college-age kids and also takes care of her aging parents. “She’s being squeezed by all of these things, trying to keep it all together and build some financial security,” says Steve Furman, Discover’s director of e-business. “If we can take care of Val, then other people will most likely get the tools that they need as well.” Since personas draw insights from representative customers and present them in vivid and engaging formats, they’re particularly effective at getting employees and

design teams to understand and obsess about key customer needs. They also help stakeholders to see things from the perspective of their customers, which helps teams to create products and services that are useful and easy to use – and to quickly agree about what to prioritize and what to cut. Of course, in service design the quality of customer interactions depends on a sea of internal employees and external partners, each of whom brings his own behaviours, motivations, and goals to the party. Unfortunately, many firms don’t take the time to fully understand the needs of the people who deliver their services every single day. These companies should take note: Personas aren’t just for customers. They’re a simple and effective tool for understanding and defining the needs of frontline and behind-the-scenes employees and partners, too. JOURNEY MAPS HELP YOU DEFINE TODAY’S OR TOMORROW’S STORYLINE

Journey maps are documents that visually illustrate a particular persona’s activities over time. Many journey maps plot the entire

forrester’s take

course of a customer’s relationship with a company — all of the steps that customers take as they discover, evaluate, buy, receive, use, and get support for a product or service — and all of the touch points that they interact with along the way. Others zoom in to just one particular part of the journey. By vividly portraying customers’ interactions with a firm, journey maps help organizations overcome their natural tendency to operate with an internal focus. For examples, a team at Dow Corning recently created journey maps to help employees from its specialty chemical business in China understand the needs of “Eric,” one of the company’s primary personas. Eric’s a formulating chemist, the guy who’s ultimately responsible for developing new products for his company to launch in a particular market. The team had gotten feedback that its product offering wasn’t as broad as customers needed – but it turns out this wasn’t the case at all. As they created a timeline and plotted the specific steps that Eric takes as he considers what chemicals to buy – like attending a trade show, asking for a sample, and calling for lab analysis – the team discovered that the existing touchpoints and

people interacting with Eric simply weren’t able to help him use Dow Corning products effectively. This key insight saved the company from wasting a major investment in new products that its customers really didn’t need. Companies can use highlevel customer journey maps to communicate the overall state of the current customer experience to key stakeholders. Or, they use more detailed journey maps to plan customer experience improvement projects and to define the desired state for new service interactions. While employee and partner personas are still rare today, journey maps more often take on the perspective of these players as they interact with customers and work to deliver a particular service.

today’s service interactions; and to design new service interactions for tomorrow. But personas and journey maps aren’t the end goal in and of themselves. The end goal is deep insights, which just happen to be encapsulated in these particular formats. Unfortunately, many companies and have gotten so caught up in the persona and journey map hype that they skip the research phase and go straight to crafting these documents based on what they think they know. In addition, many companies believe that one version of these documents is all they’ll ever need. However, the rapid pace of consumer technology adoption means that firms must revisit the research that underpins personas and journey maps on a regular basis.


Service design is a holistic approach that designs the front and backstage of services, and personas and storylines are two of the key tools used in the process. They help service design teams to develop a solid understanding of their customers’, employees’, and partners’ needs; to discover how their collective activities create

Kerry Bodine is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the co-author of Outside In. Her research, analysis, and opinions appear frequently on sites such as Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company.



Event Management Meets Service Design Using Service Design Methodology to Develop Corporate Live Communication

Prof. Dipl. Ing. Jürgen Faust is the VP for Academic Affairs and Research, as well as Dean at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences for media and communication in Munich.

Delivering customised service offerings becomes particularly exciting when service design is applied to existing routines of planning and developing services within companies. In collaboration with BASF and the event agency Circ, the service design team from Macromedia University for Media and Communication – students and their supervising faculty1 – co-developed an ‘Event-Blueprinting Kit’ to plan events based on the event manager's working habits. As event managers are often caught up in their routines, the Event-Blueprinting Kit offers an outside perspective that encourages innovation and constantly improve service quality. STAGING A STRATEGIC REALIGNMENT

Christoph Merdes is completing his Masters of Service Design at MHMK Munich, holds a B.A. in Digital Media and co-founded Silversun, a media design company.

Caspar Siebel works on his Master of Service Design at the MHMK Munich. He develops an improv theater format that builds upon service design methods.



BASF, as the current largest chemical company in the world, introduced the We Create Chemistry World Tour in 2007. With this series of international events, BASF was able to introduce its clients and employees to the scope and range of its innovations. It is a well-known fact that exploring the innovative power of a company increases the identification of each employee with the company. In a second series of events in 2012, BASF aims to highlight its role within society and to communicate the new corporate strategy to its employees. Part of the company’s strategic realignment is a shift from

offering chemical commodities to focusing on customer-specific solutions. To be able to move from a productbased- to a service-oriented strategy, the employees need to internalise the new values of the organisational culture and to take part in the process of establishing new value propositions. To approach this challenge, Circ developed a concept referred to as the ‘Marketplace of Innovations’. In the setting of a traditional market, employees can gain insights into the current range of innovations at different market stands. The market situation creates an atmosphere of open conversation and stimulates individual participation.



The event managers’ approach to their work has grown from practice. Similar to agile development processes, the team comes together in weekly meetings and invites specialists like building teams, marketing experts and product designers as and when needed. During the week, the team members execute the planned tasks individually. Three main tools, which serve as a reference point during the meetings, structure the planning process: • A set of slides depicts all phases of the event including the look and feel of the installations • A floor plan provides a physical overview over the planned event site • A central run-sheet lists the activities of all stakeholders and is used for coordinating the interplay of the firms involved, the departments and the stakeholders, as well as for highlighting expenses, locations and resources

In combination with a weekly meeting, these three tools enable the event managers to invent and organise events in a rapid fashion. Based on their observations, the service design team identified a set of opportunities of the event managers work structure: • Professionals are often caught up in their routines. • For external stakeholders, it is hard to understand the complexity of the event flow. • Staging only happens in the virtual space of imagination. STAGING IN EVENT MANAGEMENT

An event manager – like a service designer – can be seen as a choreographer as they carefully plan and organise the sequence of touchpoints of an event. Hence, introducing the terms ‘staging’, ‘role-play’ and ‘theatre’ in a business environment turned out to be challenging. Drama is often understood as a mystifying art form that creates illusions, rather than reducing risks or encouraging innovation. During the project, the design team avoided contrasting staging with established business practices. Techniques like desktop walkthroughs, experience prototypes and simple visualisations appeared to be more accessible in a business environment. One of the outcomes of this effort was the realisation of the importance of the customer journey map to illustrate the interactions of a visitor within the

The ‘Marketplace of Innovations’ highlights BASF’s innovations in an open and interactive way. touchpoint 13

customer journey

visitor‘s actions


service blueprint

front stage actions

back stage actions

perspective cards





The event Blueprinting Kit: In combination with the floor plan, a set of cards triggers multiple perspectives on the event.

event. The customer journey map creates a visual reference point to provide an overview, while playing with a variety of techniques to model, visualise and to act out smaller parts of the event. This would not have been possible with the set of slides used earlier. What before existed only in the head of the leading manager is now accessible to all stakeholders. Information is projected in signs and symbols and is, therefore, readable by others. The customer journey as a communication tool enhances the rapid imagining, planning, prototyping and execution by the event management team through the specificity of the service design approach: visualisation and control. PERSPECTIVES BEYOND EVENT MANAGEMENT

During the introduction of the customer journey map, the event managers found it refreshing that service designers brought new perspectives and asked new questions. Soon it became clear that the same routines that empower the event managers to work under extreme pressure were limiting their view on their own work. Using elements from past events to structure new ones is an efficient base for 14


working, but it prohibits gaining new perspectives on the event. The outside perspective of the service designers on well-established working environments has been identified as one of the key benefits during the project. As a consequence, the service designers looked for ways to gain new perspectives onto the event. Looking beyond the fields of design and event management,into areas like exhibition design, flow theory, education and group- and perceptual psychology provided a reference point for gaining new perspectives. To integrate these perspectives into the event manager’s workflow, a set of cards breaks down complex theories into easily applicable questions. Brought into the event management routine, the cards triggered creative discussions. Questions were transformed into ideas and solutions within minutes. The speed with which the cards were integrated into the workflow shows how the service design approach can be adopted to the fastpaced event management environment. Finally, a service blueprint was added to cross the gap between the designer’s focus on visitor


experience and the manager’s focus on organisational tasks. The service blueprint translates the customer journey with its accompanying perspective cards to the high-pressure style under which the event managers execute their ideas. Structuring the organisational run-sheet used by the managers into front-stage and back-stage tasks created a document that can be used for executing organisational tasks while maintaining a clear view on the visitors perception. THE EVENT BLUEPRINTING KIT

To support the rapid planning and execution cycles it takes to plan an event, the team of service designers combined the created tools into an Event Blueprinting Kit. • The Customer Journey Map represents the journey through an event in an accessible, rapid, and cocreational way, while remaining a strong focus on the visitor’s experience • The Perspective cards reframe the view on events and, thereby, carry new ideas into the event management process • The Blueprint depicts the experience of a visitor’s journey, but breaks it down into organisable steps. At the end of the process, the Event Blueprinting Kit served as an invitation to embrace and translate the principle of staging beyond role-play. From the process of this collaboration, it became evident that utilising design principles that build upon existing routines, rather than disturbing them, can enhance the workflow of professionals and help to bridge the gap between service design and related disciplines.

two examples of perspective cards illustrate the outside perspective on events The Group Dynamic Lens When planning an event, groups of people who do not know each other come together. As in all freshly formed groups, certain dynamics take place. Ask yourself: • Do visitors know each other enough to voice their opinion? • In which setting can you establish an honest discussion? • Is there a setting for visitors to bid a proper farewell? The Feedback Lens Visitors will happily give you their opinion and feedback if they feel they can make a difference. Making visitors ‘shapers’ or ‘co-designers’ of the event can be a great motivation. • How do you show visitors the effect of their feedback and presence? • How do you show visitors that their voice is important to you?

References 1 Prof. Oliver Szasz, Emily von Eschwege, Nicole Hirschberger, Christoph Merdes, Franziska Semer and Caspar Siebel. (2012). BASF We Create Chemistry World Tour. Service Science project of the master class Media and Design, MHMK Munich.

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froodmat /


Service Design on Stage

Exploring the Relationship Between ServiceDesign Designand andthe thePerforming PerformingArts Arts Service

A Performing Arts Perspective on Service Design

Raymond P. Fisk, (B.S., M.B.A., and Ph.D. from Arizona State University) is Professor and Chair, Department of Marketing at Texas State University. His research focuses primarily on services marketing, service design and the art of serving customers.

Stephen J. Grove, (B.A., M.A. from Texas Christian University; Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University) is Professor of Marketing, Clemson University. His research focuses primarily on services marketing and the art of serving customers.



The performing arts offer many concepts and techniques that can be applied to service design. In this paper, we summarise strategic insights from decades of prior research in applying the performing arts to services. We identify key perspectives that can facilitate service design and discuss current service design initiatives that were strongly influenced by concepts from the performing arts. The arts include subfields such as architecture, dance, design, drawing, film, language, literature, music, opera, painting, photography, poetry, sculpture, and theatre. These subfields are often grouped into the performing arts, visual arts and literary arts. The performing arts (dance, music, opera, and theatre) are transitory arts that must be experienced in real time if they are to be appreciated. While the visual arts and literary arts are also relevant to service design, we focus on the performing arts because they involve live human interaction and they are deeply rooted in the social and very emotional core of human experience. Performing arts concepts and techniques are valuable in service design for four reasons: First, the performing arts are concerned with aesthetics and beauty. The performing arts can enrich the

aesthetics of service design, whether those services are offered in bricks-andmortar settings or in cyberspace settings. Second, the performing arts spring from human creativity. Creativity is a complex phenomenon necessary for the generation and application of new ideas or concepts. The performing arts offer powerful concepts and techniques for fostering creative service design. Third, the performing arts have fine-tuned the processes for delivering positive emotions such as joy, contentment, surprise, or excitement. Such positive emotions are central to human life, but are frequently scarce in service encounters. The performing arts are ancient forms of emotionally based service design. Fourth, the performing arts are learned skills that draw their inspiration from centuries of history. One of the most

service design on stage





Logic of Service Theater

challenging aspects of service design is building service systems that transfer learned skills from one generation of service employees to the next generation. All service organisations need to maintain and nurture their service designs. The performing arts are humanity’s first system for simulating human interaction in real time. All services require human interaction. Most of our research focused on discovering insights from theatre’s ability to simulate human interaction and applying those insights to enhance service design and delivery. SERVICE THEATRE

We introduced the service as theatre1 framework in the early years of the service marketing field. Erving Goffman 2 and the sociological perspective of this human interaction – dramaturgy – inspired our initial

work. Subsequently, we realised that, like Goffman, we should investigate the source of dramaturgical thinking. A deeper investigation of theatre provided cogent insights that we have utilised to expand the service theatre logic (e.g., Grove, Fisk and Dorsch 1998)3. Service theatre provides a holistic design system for structuring services, managing service participants, and delivering successful service experiences. As a performing art, theatrical performances provoke, on cue, a diverse range of emotions such as laughter, sadness, elation or despair. Very few service organisations are skilled at designing experiences that elicit emotions touchpoint 17

as well as does theatre. Theatre offers simple, but profound concepts such as staging, actors/audience and performance that can aid in the design and delivery of any service. STAGING

The staging of a theatrical production relies on scenery, props and other physical cues to create desired audience impressions. Decisions about what to present frontstage or backstage are essential. To create the desired service performance, organisations must decide which service aspects should appear frontstage (in the customer’s full view) and which should occur backstage (away from the customer’s inspection).

If an organization decides to bring backstage features to the frontstage, greater attention to other theatrical components, such as the actors’ roles and their scripts, the audience’s participation and the physical cues of the frontstage are necessary. For example, moving restaurant stoves from the backstage to the frontstage requires careful attention to how the stoves and cooks are perceived by the customers. ACTORS/AUDIENCE

At the heart of any theatrical performance are the actors who fashion the show for the audience. The actors’ task is to present a believable performance. Hence, theatrical actors engage in impression management, or the creation and maintenance of a credible show. Impression management relies on actors’ abilities to convey their roles effectively. Beyond learning their parts, actor’s interpretations of their roles through such things as their

personal front


impression management


Foundation of a Believable Performance 18



service design on stage

facial expression, gestures, and vocal inflections have strong effects on the audience. In a services context, employees who interact with customers carry similar impact and should adhere to the mandates of an actor’s role. Every theatrical performance is designed to appeal to particular audiences, so attracting the appropriate audience is important. The same holds true for service performances. In both cases, the right audience has a vested interest in seeing the performance unfold smoothly and will overlook minor performance flaws to allow the show to go on. Like audience members, customers can sometimes enhance the service performance and the experience of other customers by providing feedback regarding the performance and adhering to conventions of social protocol. PERFORMANCE

Theatrical performances are holistic combinations of actors’ behaviour, front and back staging and audience reactions that occur in actual time. As such, they are quite fragile and easily disrupted. An actor flubbing several lines, a misplaced stage prop or an audience member’s cellphone ringing can completely undermine a performance. Services possess similar circumstances. The most powerful tools from theatre for improving performance are scripts and rehearsals. Service designs should be scripted and rehearsed as well. For example, franchise prototypes are employed by many service firms as a means to ‘work out the kinks’ in the service performance prior to the ‘curtains going up.’ Of course, in the interest of preserving authenticity in the

“At the heart of any theatrical performance are the actors who fashion the show for the audience. (…) In a services context, employees who interact with customers carry similar impact.” service design, a critical concern is how tightly or loosely should a performance be scripted. To guard against customers perceiving rigidly scripted service delivery as ’programmed personalisation’ (e.g., employees emotionlessly sputtering “Have a nice day!”) or insincere enactment (e.g., employees attending to tasks with robot-like behaviour), it is probably best to allow, if not to insist upon, some flexibility in the scripted performance, which can be instilled through rehearsal and improvisation training. IMPROVISATION

Improvisation4 is particularly relevant to service design because it captures interactive human dynamics and creativity that are often a cornerstone of service delivery. Improvisation is the creative act of spontaneous invention. In many ways, the hardest part of designing new services is creating successful human interactions. Theatre provides a framework that enables the improvisational testing of alternative service interaction designs. Improvisation infuses corporations and their employees with more spontaneity and more creativity, a critical concern touchpoint 19

in designing many services. Stage actors receive improvisation training that is pertinent to services such as game playing, group expression, responses of approval or disapproval, audience sensitivity and physical movement. Such training emphasises learning to observe, to listen, to express oneself through body movement, to develop a sense of teamwork, to become comfortable in front of an audience, to overcome inhibition and to become confident and resourceful. APPLICATIONS

Performing arts concepts and techniques can be applied across a broad range of service delivery opportunities. Two different service design efforts illustrate how performing arts concepts and techniques can be applied. Patrício et al. 5 structure their service design method using the theatrical concepts of frontstage and backstage. The Fraunhofer Institute created its ServLab ( design system using the same frontstage and backstage logic. ServLab is a virtual reality service design, yet simulation technology still faces a challenge in emulating human interaction with any degree of perfection. Hence, ServLab hired Vitamin T, a theatre training company, to add interactive system design support through integrating improvisational human-to-human aspects of service design. Beyond these examples, the performing arts offer insights to effective and efficient service design across a wide array of service concerns such as the design of the service setting, the enactment of workers’ roles and the nature of customers’ participation. 20



Finally, performing arts design concepts and techniques can cross international boundaries, since all cultures have their own performing arts. The general design structure will not change, but the specific design of setting, actors/audience and performances are likely to vary across cultures and service type. Ultimately, the concepts and vocabulary of the service theatre framework can serve as the foundation for designing services in any cultural setting.

References 1 Grove, S. J. and R. P. Fisk (1983), “The Dramaturgy of Services Exchange: An Analytical Framework for Services Marketing,” in Leonard L. Berry, G. Lynn Shostack, and Gregory D. Upah (eds.), Emerging Perspectives on Services Marketing, Chicago: American Marketing Association, 45-49. 2 Goffman, E. (1959), The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Garden City, NY: Doubleday. 3 Grove, S. J., R. P. Fisk and M. J. Dorsch (1998), “Assessing the Theatrical Components of the Service Encounter: A Cluster Analysis Examination,” The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, 116-134. 4 Daly, A., S. J. Grove, M. J. Dorsch and R. P. Fisk (2009), “The Impact of Improvisational Training on Service Employees in an Airline: A Case Study,” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 43. No. 3/4, 459-472. 5 Patrício, L., R. P. Fisk, J. Cunha and L. Constantine (2011), “Multilevel Service Design: From Customer Value Constellation to Service Experience Blueprinting,” Journal of Service Research, 14 (2), 180-200.

service design on stage

creating a believable service performance: insights from theatre Ritz-Carlton Hotels constantly reminds its employees that they are on stage. Every service worker creates customer experiences that involve the trappings of a theatrical production. To fashion a service performance that demonstrates genuine care and concern for customers requires service design that incorporates employees who are adept at impression management. Based on insights offered by Erving Goffman 2, this means that, like actors on stage, service workers must maintain the proper personal front and adhere to practices that maintain the sanctity of the performance. Whether it’s the teller cashing a client’s check at a bank, the waiter delivering a meal to a diner or the stylist clipping a patron’s hair, the service employee should look the part and act the part. This is particularly true since, from the customers’ point of view, the employees with whom they interact are often perceived as the service itself. Workers’ personal front, shaped by appearance and manner, should reflect the role they play in the service performance in terms of both their attire and grooming and their demeanour and conduct. Careful attention to dress, facial expressions, gestures and deportment help convey a message of service diligence. Moreover, frontstage employees are obliged to be loyal, disciplined and circumspect when performing their service delivery tasks. This suggests that

workers must manage the impression they project by accepting the importance of their service role, avoiding disclosing secrets regarding its enactment, learning their parts well, guarding against unwittingly committing acts that may destroy their performance, and being vigilant in anticipating how best to serve the customer. An employee who reveals inside information pertaining to the service (e.g., the secret ingredient of a recipe) is being disloyal. An employee who allows personal problems to undermine their interaction with customer (e.g., becomes distracted by marital issues) lacks discipline. An employee who fails to read customer cues accurately (e.g., doesn’t recognise the patron is in a hurry) is not circumspect. Like theatrical performances, the impression portrayed in service delivery is fragile and easily shattered by even minor contradictions. Hence, loyalty, discipline and circumspection among employees are needed to preserve the aura of service excellence. Those responsible for the design and delivery of service should consider making the cornerstones of impression management – the workers’ personal front, loyalty, discipline and circumspection – standard parts of formal and informal employee evaluations. After all, the impression conveyed by an organisation’s employees is a significant contributor to perceptions of service excellence!

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Boom! Wow. Wow! WOW! BOOOOM!!! James Bond, Miss Marple and Dramatic Arcs in Services

Markus Hormeß and Adam Lawrence lead WorkPlayExperience, a service innovation consultancy with a uniquely theatrical approach. With a joint resumé that includes process design, rock musicals, psychology, theoretical physics, product development and standup comedy, their mission is to help companies “... put the rock and roll into their services.” Markus and Adam work worldwide with major players in telecommunications, financial services and other fields. They are also the initiators of the Global Service Jam.



Since ancient Greece, dramatists have known that to achieve a satisfying experience, the structure of a play is just as important as the content. From Hollywood to Disneyland to music studios, showbiz professionals use the concept of the ‘arc of suspense’ to make experiences go BOOM! So what does it mean for service design? This article examines some of the most effective dramatic arcs in show business, looks for them in services, and discusses how else this concept can help service design. POPCORN, ICE COLD COKE. THE LIGHTS GO DOWN.

Big establishing shot, then straight into the action: tension, danger. No backstory, no context, just Bond, James Bond. Stunts, shots, explosions. Your heart already pumping: James jumps into the plane, roars through the fireball – Boom! – and the opening credits roll. Ah, London! Miss Moneypenny, M Q. Some talking and a new mission, then off on the first stage of the adventure, the first of several key locations. Maybe it’s Paris, then Moscow, then Bangkok, each a little more risky, each a little more thrilling than the last. Wow. Wow! WOW! And, before we know it, we’re at the Evil Supergenius’ lair, the world is in peril, the clock is ticking. The cavalry shows up: shootouts, rockets,

ninjas, bigger explosions. The bad guy goes down, the world is saved and the superweapon goes up in smoke. BOOOM!! But it’s not over yet. We need James to be mortal again, so there’s the gag at the end: James is in his rubber boat on the Pacific, about to give the girl Her Majesty’s Service, when the US submarine surfaces right under his keel. We laugh, relax: hey, dating trouble, just like us! And we sigh contentedly... Aaah! THE STORY ALL TOLD: BOOM! WOW. WOW! WOW! BOOOOM!!! AAAH...

Go to a rock concert, you’ll find the same story. Start with the current hit (Boom!), go through the catalogue, varying the pace, with increasing energy (Wow. Wow! WOW!) Then the closing medley of all the old hits (BOOOM!). And

to bring us down, a final encore: usually a slow ballad for the cigarette lighters (Aaah..) Writing his Poetics 2300 years ago, Aristotle spoke of the oikeia hedone (‘proper pleasure’) that arises when a story is correctly told: when the right events happen in the right order and our emotions are engaged correctly. Modern showbiz folks talk about the dramatic arc (more correctly, the arc of suspense) and they know that it can make or break an experience, services included. Every film, every piece of music and every service has an arc, but which ones work best, and how can we design for them? Let’s look at four examples.

‘Frodo Baggins’, the slow-starting epic form also found in many rap songs.

our day with major attractions or ‘wieners’, then enjoy the final parade and fireworks2. Or on a cruise ship, there’s the First Night Ball, a new island each day – each more fun than the last as we make friends – the dazzling Captain’s Ball on the last night, then a tearful morning farewell as the ship leaves us, trailing paper streamers. Boom! Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! BOOOOM!!! Aaah... THE OLDEST ARC: ‘FRODO BAGGINS (THE BOOK)’

‘007’, the classic BoomwowowowBOOM of a thriller, romantic comedy, cruise holiday, Disney park, rock concert, stand-up show or Global Service Jam.


Our first arc – let’s call it ‘007’ – is one of the most satisfying. We’ll find the same structure in a pop song (hook-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-climax), a John Grisham novel1 and in a Disneyland visit: we arrive open mouthed through the Castle gate, punctuate

A simpler arc – ‘Frodo Baggins’, – is that of the epic, like the Nibelungenlied or the book version of Lord of the Rings3. Rooted in the oral tradition, a slow, slow start builds and builds, until whole kingdoms fall in flames. It’s a thrilling experience, deeply satisfying if completed, but with the danger of losing the viewer’s interest during that long, slow start. How many millions have abandoned Tolkien during the first 100 pages? In service terms, we might compare this to the experience offered by an event management or construction service: the completed house will be wonderful, but it’s hard to understand what I am paying for when all I can see is a field of mud. touchpoint 23

‘Miss Marple’, a development of the epic arc

you want to talk about Kahneman’s peak-end rule, or basic three-act story structures, like beginning-middleend, identification-suspense-release or Aristotle’s own motive-intention-goal. AN ARC FOR RECURRENT SERVICES: ‘SOAP OPERA’


Detective stories are more popular than Wagner these days, and one reason might be the ‘Miss Marple’ arc. It’s similar to the slow build of ‘Frodo Baggins’: after all, most of Marple consists of an elderly lady drinking tea and asking pointed questions. But there is a very different start: a chilling murder that holds our attention by promising a thrilling final dénouement. That promised BOOM! is missing in many services that might potentially have this curve, like a loan, for example There are handshakes and free diaries when I sign up, but the final payment is usually acknowledged quite coolly, and if I celebrate I am not thinking of the bank. BUILD THE TENSION

So, we have three arcs there, all deeply satisfying. They all build over time to a strong finish, and two of them have a strong start and clear middle phase too. That’s not insignificant, whether 24


Let’s take one more: in the ‘Soap Opera’ we have a regular episode rhythm, building to a cliffhanger each week: “It’s not your baby!”. The next episode doesn’t start here, but switches to another breakfast table and builds to a new climax. Recently, arcs have come to stretch over the entire season, with thrilling season finales like Desperate Housewives’ plane crashing onto the street party. We see the same arc at the Irish pub (Saturday-Saturday-Saturday-Saint Patricks Day!) or the Vatican (Sunday-Sunday-Sunday-Easter!). Those spikes are important: as the photo board at the Irish pub will show you, it is here that emotional bonds are forged. How far removed is this from a telecoms rhythm of monthly bills, punctuated by unpacking a shiny new iPhone every two years? And what could it suggest for services that have a regular cycle without peaks,and that soon become routine and boring? But what is the ‘suspense’ that we are talking about here, and what does it have to do with service design? With Bond, a graph of (gun)shots per minute might give just the 007 curve, but a romantic move can have the same arc without a single Walther PPK being used in anger. There, the first ‘Boom’ might be the promise of the initial meeting: but it goes wrong and they part ways4. Then a series of tribulations with increasing heartache and the final encounter where they look into each other’s eyes, the music stops… they finally kiss and the audience cheers.

‘Soap Opera’, a regular rhythm with emotionally energising highlights

This is very relevant to service design: the vertical axis of a service’s arc of suspense is not just action and dazzle, but also relevance, emotion or even customer value. And it’s not just a case of ‘more is better’. After Bond’s opening stunts, the relative peace of the London scene is exactly what we need5. A service journey that is only ‘BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!’ will not only be costly, it will soon leave us cold or overwhelmed. The parallels to customer experience – and to the service design behind it – are huge and valuable. It is not just the discrete events (touchpoints?) that matter, but also the order in which they occur, the timing and the relative engagement, flashiness or value of each one. Drawing an arc of suspense over a customer journey can be very revealing. Has our initial promise been fulfilled, or do we need to invest more in later stages? If our final ‘Boom’ is relatively weak, should we dampen the initial one, to avoid anticlimax? Are we swinging up into a renewal of contract, or sinking down into irrelevance? And what about that co-creative design session? Did it have a satisfying arc throughout the day, grabbing your attention at the beginning and finishing on a high note to boost buy-in? Or was it ‘just another workshop’, forgotten a week from now? Aristotle can tell you. Or if that’s too much trouble, just ask 007.

References 1 Grisham interview, Writer’s Digest July 1993, “You have to start with an opening so gripping that the reader becomes involved. In the middle of the book, you must sustain the narrative tension, keep things stirred up. The end should be so compelling that people will stay up all night to finish the book.” 2 You’ll find exactly the same arc on individual Disney attractions, like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This is important: there are arcs at all scales, (cycle > opera > aria or customer lifecycle > service incidence > touchpoint). See also Frank Capek’s http:// effective-experiential-storytelling/ 3 Peter Jackson’s film version has an action movie arc more like 007, compressing the first 140 pages of the book into a few minutes of screen time, and even adding an opening battle (not in the book) for that initial ‘Boom!’ 4 In There’s Something About Mary, this is the zipper incident. In Four Weddings and a Funeral, Carrie goes back to the US and gets engaged. 5 Don’t confuse arcs of suspense with emotional curves (one, two, three smileys). On an emotional curve, down is always bad. On an arc of suspense, down can be just what you need to catch your breath and reflect. 6 Hiltunen, A. (2002). Aristotle in Hollywood. Bristol: Intellect Books.

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In contrast to the fluidity of our experience of time, calendars create boundaries between activities, often prescribing the amount of time we should spend on something. Overloaded with deadlines and fast-paced schedules, we let Microsoft Outlook rule our lives with every choice scheduled and programmed. We seem to have lost the pleasure of the random, the pleasure of surprise. And yet, the unexpected is a fundamental element of creativity, of innovation and of change. We experience it in our daily activity at Continuum. Discontinuity is a pause for reflection, a mental and emotional detour that can be an exciting and pleasurable way to reinforce relationships with other human beings, with brands and with places. And if business nirvana is about attracting, delighting and retaining customers then, in this sense, discontinuity and surprise can contribute to bringing a competitive advantage to businesses. With this idea in mind, I recently started connecting the dots between performing arts and contemporary music experiences, and how they can potentially be very inspirational for businesses. On closer inspection, some forwardthinking businesses are already navigating this territory. So what can businesses learn from the performing arts and contemporary music experiences? What can the service industry, for example, learn from apparently unconstrained artistic experimentation? Of course, you may say it is somewhat different to envision a one-shot experience versus creating a continuous service offer. Theatre, however, offers great examples of well orchestrated continuous and complex experiences, constrained by very similar elements of other businesses, such as the presence of different ‘actors’, complex journeys, touchpoints and interactions, a back- and a front-of-house design challenge, timing, economics performance and emotional engagement. Theatre plays are complex experiences supported by an approach that is not all that distant from certain design (thinking) processes like collaborative work, abductive

Managed Complexity: Ariella Vidach’ID 26


The Lost Pleasure of Randomness and Surprise

This article will provide some food for thought for designing ‘pleasurable’ surprises in products, services and other systems in order to create or reinforce human relationships and to consequently generate stronger human-centred and potentially ‘surprisingly’ successful businesses.

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photo by Fabio Di Liberto

What the Service Business Can Learn from Apparently Unconstrained Artistic Experimentation

photos by Fabio Di Liberto, photo of Pavillon by Walter Nicolino

Unrepeatable unique experience: Garon by Yuval Avital and Dirty Corner by Anish Kapoor

thinking, fast prototyping of ideas and cycles of iteration, to mention just a few. The examples below represent interesting systems that are ‘designed to surprise’ and designed to disconfirm a previously established schema or expectancy with an undeniable effect on memory-based satisfaction. OFF GRID

Consider the Burning Man festival, a perfectly orchestrated, large-scale experience: an example of what anthropologist Grant McCracken calls ‘Culturematics’: systems that start small but can scale up ferociously, bootstrapping themselves as they go. Burning Man represents the perfect antidote to a world where we cannot guess what’s coming next. In this sense, Culturematics cultivate the odd and the counterexpectational, to work off-grid and against the grain. They are conceived as fast prototypes of new messages, new memes, new products and new services. UNIQUE EXPERIENCES

Dirty Corner is a 60 metre-long, 8 metre-high Corten 28


steel tunnel, a site-specific installation that artist Anish Kapoor created expressly for the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan. For the close of the exhibition, a unique concert, by the name of Garon, was ‘designed’ by composer Yuval Avital. The steel tunnel became not only an auditorium, but also one of the musical instruments used by the musicians to contain, produce and spread vibrant and haunting sonorities. Besides the forty-five tubas, Avital’s work numbered six percussion instruments, a fourteenvoice chorus and four soloists, cymbals, gongs and three conductors who were connected together via video link. Everything was enveloped by live electronics and real-time sonorities, from the inside to the outside of the installation in an uninterrupted, centrifugal stream. The unique soundscapes created by the performers of this large-scale sonic experiment around and inside the gigantic, site-specific installation were simply amazing. The whole performance was envisioned to be unique for every single participant moving autonomously through the space, producing a truly memorable experience for the complex architecture of meanings and structures.

service design on stage

Digital Water Pavilion by Carloratti Associati


Another example is the Sleep no More performance by Punchdrunk, a British site-specific theatre company: an immersive production inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, told through the lens of a Hitchcock thriller, blending classic texts, physical performance, awardwinning design installation and unexpected sites. The participants (the audience) are given a mask at the entrance and the freedom to roam through the environment to experience a unique sensory journey as they choose what to watch, which actor to follow and where to go. Lines between space, performer and spectator are constantly shifting. As the audience is free to encounter the installed environment in an individual imaginative journey, the memorable part of this unique theatrical adventure is the childlike excitement of exploring the unknown in a very personal (read unrepeatable) way. RANDOMISED SYMPHONY

Now, close your eyes. Imagine you are walking through a park. Let’s say Central Park. Imagine the trees, statues

and lakes were all part of an invisible performance and the conductor was nothing else but your own feet. If you’re not dreaming, then you must be listening to Bluebrain’s album app, a site-specific, location-aware music composition for Central Park in New York City. As you walk through the park, new musical themes hit you every 20 or 30 steps, as if they were emanating from statues, playgrounds, open spaces and landmarks. This project provides a unique sound installation that changes every time you walk a different path as different tracks play, all meshing and colliding in surprising ways. (UN)WANTED NOISE

Another example, in a different context to performing arts and music, is represented by the ‘Digital Water Pavilion’ by Carlorattiassociati. Designed for the Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain, the pavilion consists of a flexible and multifunctional space. The challenge of the pavilion was to use water – water being the theme of Expo 2008 – as an architectural element. The walls were composed of numerically controlled water droplets that could generate writing, patterns, openings for access touchpoint 29


© 2012 Continuum LLC Proprietary and Confidential / illustration by Stefano Bianchini

a conceptual interpretation of the journey map model


Given a set of guiding principles, attributes, ingradients and directions, along with appropriate “elements of discontinuity”, the experience stream unfolds based on specific mode the actor is in.


New and unexpected moments emerge from partially orchestrated random elements.

Designing Discontinuity

and so on. Result: an amazing, reconfigurable interactive space in which each wall could potentially become an entrance or an exit, while the internal partitions could shift, depending on the number of people present in the hall. However, technology can sometimes fail: during the exhibition, the system crashed, sensors stopped working and the water walls started creating random effects – and that was when real fun began! Kids would gather to play, taking advantage of the chaos. As Carlo Ratti said: “As architects, designers or sociologists, […] we always think people will experience things as we design them, but, in reality, human beings are a surprise.” Even if the examples above illustrate interesting cases that might appear to be distant from the design of services in other fields, there are good examples of different industries already leveraging the engaging charm of surprise and the adrenalin-charged attractiveness of random experiences. 30



An example is last year’s Store Raffles’ at Marc Jacobs boutiques. In celebration of ‘Marc by Marc Jacobs’ 10-year anniversary, the brand’s best-selling accessories were given away to customers, generating an unexpected, fun and business-oriented experience. A MINUTE OF FREE SHOPPING

In a supermarket in Dubai, new customers are offered a loyalty card and the chance to win prizes by playing a Wheel of Fortune. The easiest prize to win was a minute of free shopping. Each winner, accompanied by an employee with a stopwatch, has sixty seconds to fill the shopping cart with any goods that they want. These will then not be charged for at the checkout! You could be forgiven for thinking that the management is crazy. However, think about all those new customers who won a minute of free shopping and who would

service design on stage

have to map an entire new environment in a blink of an eye: the brands, the positions, etc. and to become familiar with the space. Not to mention that those 60 thrilling seconds will have a tremendous impact on footfall, via word of mouth. So, do you really think the company will not get a sure return on its initial investment (which is probably partly paid for by its suppliers), especially on a customer-experience level? A WARM CURRENT OF RANDOMNESS

American Express recently launched an interesting an unusual service called ‘Nextpedition’. On a Nextpedition vacation, you don’t get an itinerary, but rather a succession of surprises. Twenty- and thirty-something travellers can pay to have a travel itinerary planned to fit their particular interests, which are identified through a short online quiz on the program’s official site. There, you’ll have the opportunity to find out what your travel sign is. This cool service creates not only a sense of anticipation: (What Will Happen?), serendipity: (What Could Happen?) and adventure: (This Should be a Blast!), but, most of all, it also delivers a warm current of randomness or carefully managed chaos. THE PLEASURE OF GETTING LOST

Last but not least, the Get Lost app by Smart comes to mind. The app uses location-based technology to locate a driver’s geographic position and then suggests a randomly generated place for them and their passengers to visit. The user can dial in how brave they are feeling, for example how far they want to travel (so they don’t end up in Belgium) and then they’re given step-by-step instructions on how to get there. The destinations are randomly selected, so users could find themselves anywhere from a local new bar to a chocolate museum. It’s definitely one for people with a lot of time on their hands, but a pretty fun and relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The app offers the chance to enjoy a truly impulsive experience in your car and to get lost in an exciting, smart adventure. Imagine the business potential and emotional power of being a brand that can

recommend places, people and content that you didn’t even know you liked, based on your digital footprint! ONGOING THOUGHTS

All these examples have something in common: it’s a certain level of designed discontinuity that shapes the experiences and an element of surprise that more or less necessarily emerges. Creating a surprise culture and implementing surprise strategies isn’t easy: it’s both a science and an art, as we need to embrace the very things we normally try to keep out of the system, the noise that obscures signal or the eccentricity of the individual. Designing discontinuity has implications: it may require a new kind of designer or, at the very least, a new kind of sensibility, maybe different design and business classes, new kinds of managers and a new type of business or organisation. However, is this surprise culture something businesses can neglect? Neglect to design pleasurable surprises in products, services and other systems, in order to create or reinforce human relationships and to generate consequently stronger human-centred and potentially surprisingly successful businesses? I believe there’s a great space for business to challenge the ordinary and to move to the extra-ordinary by designing discontinuity or using the laws of chaos to pleasurably enrich our ‘outlooked’ lives, leveraging emotion, as opposed to reason, to design the ingredients of experiences with interrupts and breaks that we genuinely live through and not simply experiences that we merely move through.

Fabio Di Liberto As Principal of the Strategy Practice at Continuum (, Fabio is a brand master and consumer advocate with over 10 years’ experience in helping international and local companies move meaningful and business-relevant innovation through their organisation. Interested in design in its wider definition, he is a Fulbright Scholar with numerous awards and scholarships to his credit.

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Prepare to Improvise Losing the Script Builds Better Services

Toby Bottorf, Principal, Digital Design, Continuum Innovation. Toby is an award-winning creative director, teacher and critic of graduate level design, and frequent conference presenter.

Daniel Sobol is a design strategist at Continuum. Daniel’s work focuses on service and experience design and has ranged from rural shop owners in China to health care in Mexico to new restaurant concepts. Daniel is an actor, director, playwright and dancer.



As service designers, we know that front-line staff are key to any brand experience. They are the ones who interact with customers, respond to customer needs and ultimately deliver the service. So how can we enable service providers to play their role naturally and with confidence, to better relate to customers and to perform best in the kinds of unanticipated scenarios that are intrinsic to any service delivery? We think the answer begins in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, on a snowcovered street just a few minutes from Red Square, at the Moscow Art Theatre. Founded in 1898 by directors Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, the Moscow Art Theatre revolutionised Western theatre. It was, after all, at this theatre that Chekhov developed and premiered his major plays. Stanislavsky believed that the magic of theatre is when an audience feels as if the characters on stage are living the story in front of their eyes, not just reciting a memorised script. What was so breathtaking about this kind of performance was that the actors did not seem to be acting: the plays felt lifted from daily life. To prepare his actors to perform in this naturalist way, Stanislavsky developed a method of training that

focused on enabling the actor to feel their character’s emotions, think their character’s thoughts and – most important to our discussion today – react honestly in the moment to the other actors in the play as the events of the play unfolded. In other words, Stanislavsky used techniques of improvisation in rehearsal to create performances that felt so real that they could have been improvised themselves. This practice has been taken even further by Hollywood. In shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld or the movies of Christopher Guest and Judd Apatow, actors are given loose scripts of the scenario and then improvise within the scene as the camera rolls. In these cases, characters are often at the same time more believably real people and more distinctively surprising. Character, not plot, carries the drama. When the

service design on stage

improvisation itself becomes the performance, it creates an even more compelling experience for the audience. The best services are also the ones that feel improvised. Customers respond poorly to services that feel robotic, automatic or overly scripted. They want to be treated like a person and know that their situation is being handled based on their specific needs in the moment. Just as drama that feels improvised captures audiences, so, too, do services. In this light, by looking at the Moscow Art Theatre’s approach to performance and acting training, we can learn several valuable lessons about how to design better services for our customers. LOOSEN THE SCRIPT

Part of the brilliance of Stanislavsky’s approach is owed to the revolutionary style of Chekhov’s plays, which they developed together at the Moscow Art Theatre. Chekhov’s plays demonstrate an approach to scenewriting that gives actors an enormous amount of freedom to develop character. On the page, characters in Chekhov plays can seem underwritten. Simply reading Chekhov, characters can seem preoccupied and trivial and many readers find the plot, frankly, quite dull. But it’s what Chekhov purposefully leaves out of the script that is often the most compelling part, especially for an actor or a director. To be any good, a production of Chekhov is all about the subtext. Chekhov gives actors and directors a great deal of space to work in, because he creates a frame within which they can explore. The play is written to put its own success in the hands of the actors and directors. There may not be jokes on the page, but a production of The Seagull can be hilarious. It may seem boring to read, but a production of The Cherry Orchard can keep an

audience on the edge of their seat. It all depends on how the actors and director interpret and play the script. The best script for a service should be similarly underwritten, in order to leave space for action and improvisation by managers and service agents. A role that is precisely defined is hard to fully inhabit. Companies that deliver good service understand this. Take, for example, our client American Express. Interviewed in Fortune magazine1, American Express EVP of Customer Service Jim Bush explained their philosophy: “We converted from a robotic, scripted environment to a conversational environment that brings the personality to life and brings one-to-one connections, which is what ultimately builds and sustains relationships.” Having the freedom to improvise, and not be limited to a set script, enables staff to provide a more personal service and react in the moment to guest needs as they arise. TRAIN TO IMPROVISE

If we are to deliver good services, we need to permit our staff to be comfortable enough in character that they can react and respond in the moment. Christopher Schmidinger, Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and General Manager of Four Season New York, puts it this way: touchpoint 33

“The key is that we want people to be who they are. We want people to be able to serve the customer in ways they feel most comfortable and that is by letting their personalities come out.2” But to be comfortable enough to go off script takes training. To help actors prepare for reacting honestly in the moment when on stage, Stanislavsky’s training method involves improvisational etudes, or short improvised scenarios. In these etudes, actors explore what is beneath and around what the script gives them. By improvising the gaps not explicitly written in the script, actors are able to more deeply understand their characters and strengthen their relationships with the other characters in the play. This enables actors to react more honestly to the events of the play as they take place, which creates the compelling dramatic production for the audience. Translating this training practice to service design means enabling staff to rehearse their role, not rehearse a script. Using role play in staff training, we should give trainees a scenario within which to improvise, rather than a script to memorisze and perform. Play out lots of different scenarios so the trainee can rehearse improvising within their role. Throw them curveballs: how will they react to a frustrated guest demanding a free night because the air-conditioning was broken? How will they respond to a frantic guest whose luggage has been lost and who needs a new suit? How will they assist a guest who’s forgotten his wife’s anniversary and now every nice restaurant in town is booked? Playing out scenarios – not scripts – equips staff 34


to understand how to react honestly to any situation and develop strong relationships with guests. YOUR ROLE, YOUR CHARACTER, YOUR BRAND

Going off script is risky. Scripts exist in order to reduce risk, to standardise, and define the level of the minimum acceptable standard. Scripts are not intended to describe an ideal service interaction. To raise the level of the best possible service encounter requires improvisation. Companies that pursue this strategy are aiming to deliver exceptional personal service and to encourage variation because it means delivering more personal service. To go off script effectively, however, requires a clear understanding of the guardrails. For actors preparing, improvisation is not entirely open ended. In a Moscow Art Theatre etude, or in a Christopher Guest film, for example, actors improvise within a clear set of constraints: their role, their environment and the established world of the play. Service agents must also have the right guardrails within which to play, if we want them to go off script. As service designers, we can help service agents ‘get into character’ and, thus, effectively improvise by designing the right systems to support them. Brand Personality In the case of a service, the ‘world’ of the play is the brand. Understanding the personality of the brand helps create the world within which the service agent can improvise. When designing an interactive product or system, we often do an exercise in which we ask “if this were a person, what would their personality traits be?”, to help our clients articulate the personality of the brand. On a recent project for a technology-focused service, we found that, while we had initially perceived the personality of the brand as powerful, what consumers really wanted was a friendly helper. We were able to redesign the service experience based on the brand personality we hoped to achieve. Roles Within an Ensemble One of the core tenets of the Moscow Art Theatre is the notion of ensemble. Stanislavsky’s actors train as a

service design on stage

team, understanding that in any play, each actor’s job is to support the other actors, and to together tell the story. This is a critical component of service delivery. Each staff member has a role, but must rely on other staff members to help them perform. It is through the collective ensemble that effective services are delivered. Incentives What does it take to improvise a natural, conversational relationship? Often, service employees feel forbidden from giving exemplary service. They serve two masters: a set of rules that constrain their behaviour and the reality of the situation they are in. But establishing proper incentives can get teams on board. Zappos is famous for empowering its employees to make decisions and act on the customers’ behalf. Because employee empowerment is a key feature of the Zappos brand experience, the incentive structure reflects this, rewarding employees for longer phone calls. Empowering service agents to go off script is powerful because it enables service agents to create more honest relationships with customers and to resolve situations effectively – but not necessarily as swiftly as possible – as they come up in the moment. Design Elements When we design spaces, graphic materials and digital tools, we design for the big picture of the intended drama. What is important is not the designed artefact in isolation. What matters is what happens as a result of the whole system. In thea-

tre, the elements that make up the production design are the ones that are most similar to service design elements: lighting, space, props and costume. All these are communicative to the audience, but they also help an actor get into character. The design elements of a service provide cues to help a service agent act on brand as well. They help provide direction to the improvising actor. In a shop where your uniform is a tropical-print shirt, you are given license for a different kind of conversation than if you were wearing an issued logo-shirt. CONCLUSION

If having service agents who are empowered to go off script will help create the best customer experiences and thus help companies win, then we need to train our staff to do so. Just as Stanislavsky trains his actors to be able to react honestly in the moment when on stage by improvising in the rehearsal studio, we should train our staff to help them be ‘in character’ and do the same. Furthermore, we need to support our service agents with consistent brand touchpoints that support them in getting into character and performing their roles. Service design is like theatre in that it is about connection and relationships and it is created and delivered in the moment. Both require preparation to bring the script to life and to prepare for the unexpected. Design for unanticipated use cases. That may seem like a paradox, but it is possible. Service design seeks to enact a particular story, and so it should follow Aristotle’s enduring prescription for good drama: it is inevitable and yet surprising. Those are also the qualities of good design.

References 1 Colvin, Geoff, How can American Express help you? Fortune Magazine, April 19, 2012 2

Staying on Top of the Game, Interview in Leaders Magazine, Volume 35, Number 1

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The Creak of the Back Gate Playwriting Techniques in a Service Design Context

Louise Taylor is an interactive media designer at Northumbria University School of Design’s Centre for Design Research and a playwright whose work has been performed at Live Theatre, Northern Stage, ARC Stockton and Riverside Studios, London. service design and the art of serving customers.

David Parkinson is a PhD student at Northumbria University. His research explores the relationship between design and storytelling, with particular focus on the impacts that different storytelling approaches can have on their audiences. art of serving customers.



The delivery of a service is frequently compared to the delivery of a theatrical performance or play, and the similarities are easy to see. Both live (or die) on the strength of a connection created between performer (service provider) and audience (service users). However, the point of service delivery is not where the similarities between service design and theatre begin: they can, in fact, be traced back to a performance’s origins in the craft of the playwright. Many service design projects begin with the identification of a problem, with the exact shape or form of its solution yet to be discovered. Similarly, plays often originate not from a specific character, place or plotline, but from a situation or social issue that a playwright wishes to explore or expose. The playwright, like the service designer, embarks upon a new project by immersing themselves in a context through techniques such as desk-based research, interviews, exploratory workshops or field trips to key locations. From the information discovered through this process, the playwright can begin to locate pressure points that can provide a rich source of dramatic conflict, much as a service designer will map out an existing service in order to locate the key touchpoints of human interaction.


When creating a play, the playwright will first construct the story: that is, a full series of relevant events in chronological order. However, this is just a starting point, as a chronology does not directly provide the structure of a play, nor would we necessarily want it to. The very nature of theatre gives us the ability to play with the unfolding of time, in order to give our intended message a greater impact. With a series of events, the playwright will set about creating their plotline through selecting and ordering those events in a chronology that best communicates the intended message. ANGLE OF ATTACK

A plotline begins with an angle of attack: where are you going to begin the play itself? Before the main event happens,

service design on stage

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User focus group session, Circle of Influence exercise

as it unfolds or in its aftermath? From which character’s perspective do you unfold the plot in order to give the story you’re telling the most impact? Northumbria University School of Design’s Centre for Design Research (CfDR) have been working with Newcastle University’s MoveLab on the development of ‘Movement as Medicine’, a pilot training pathway that educates primary care practitioners on the importance of physical activity in the management of Type 2 diabetes. The training provides them with behavioural-change counselling skills and practical toolkits that help them support Type 2 diabetes patients in making a move towards a more active lifestyle. The design of this service

began with the assumption that we would be training GPs to deliver the message on physical activity to patients. However, the contextual research undertaken by the design team challenged this assumption and revealed a new ‘angle of attack’ from which to approach patients. As part of a focus group session we created a Circle of Influence exercise that asked people with diabetes to identify the individuals they considered most important to the successful management of their condition. This exercise revealed the true hierarchy of influence surrounding our patients and made clear that the advice of support groups like Diabetes UK and, primarily, nurses in general practice surgeries were touchpoint 37



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considered more important than that of GPs. In response to these findings we changed the ‘angle of attack’ for our training pathway, making practice nurses the main deliverers of our physical activity message to patients. CREATING CHARACTERS

The process of contextual research allows both the playwright and the service designer to explore the viewpoints of all those involved in a situation. Through this work, we discover the relationships between individuals and the language they use to talk about the challenges they face. For the playwright, this process will also begin to reveal potential characters and the dramatic conflicts that exist between them. The techniques of character creation resemble the service designer’s familiar process of persona creation, but other stages of the service design process can also benefit from the introduction of characters as a vehicle for discussion and debate. 38



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User-character creation exercise

CfDR are currently working with the Carers’ Team at Newcastle City Council on a project to improve the hospital discharge process for patients and their carers, in the expectation that this will reduce rising rates of readmission. Working towards the implementation of ‘quick-win’ service prototyping, we conducted oneon-one interviews with carers and a discharge process mapping workshop with hospital staff. DRAMATIC PROBLEM-SOLVING

All drama is said to emerge from conflict, and theatre provides a valuable forum in which to address challenging social issues as “through performance, group processes [can] lead to direct actions that [change] participants’ lives.”1 The most successful issue-based dramas do not preach a message or shout out answers but, instead, present situations and characters that allow the questions the playwright wants to ask to emerge naturally in the audience’s minds, prompting them to consider what the right answer would be. Although it was important to address the problematic situations that had been identified in our interviews with individual carers, the design team recognised that it would be inappropriate to share specific and sensitive patient stories in the staff workshop. To make it easier for

service design on stage

staff to talk about difficult situations without discussing real patients, we created a fictional patient ‘Doris’, a woman in her 80s suffering from dementia, and her carer and husband ‘Frank’. We kept these patient and carer personas brief in their detail, and found that the workshop participants instinctively begin asking questions about those characters and filling in the gaps for themselves, providing examples of how different family situations, medical histories and communication skills might influence their hospital discharge experience. This, in turn, led them to consider

how things could be improved for Doris and Frank’s particular situation, beginning a process of idea generation that is now feeding into service prototyping. THE UNTOLD STORY

For the playwright and the company of performers tasked with bringing their work to life, the most valuable writing can be that which is never spoken on stage. Playwrights will often generate additional scenes and backstory to help their actors generate an understanding of what motivates their character, grounding their performance and bringing real conviction to their actions. You can try out one of these techniques in a service design context by completing the user-character creation exercise2 on this page. Using the single piece of information provided (‘the creak of the back gate’) as a starting point, picture the character that would give that answer and then answer the following questions for them. Next, place this character in the context of your service design projects: what would they think of the service you are evaluating or designing? How could it impact upon the daily life, family connections and future plans you’ve pictured for them? But, most importantly, is this character more alive to you than any personas you’ve created before? Since a service blueprint is meaningless until it is brought to life through service delivery, so a play is “...both a complete literary object and a fragment that needs to be completed in performance.”3 The fine line between these two disciplines does not represent a boundary but a possible merging point and, at the Centre for Design Research, we continue to explore how the fields of service design and drama can inform each other’s development.

Top: Physically representing contact with patients and carers through a line-up. Below: Describing the hospital discharge process

References 1

Hawkins S.T. & Georgakopolous A. (2010). Dramatic Problem Solving: Community Conflict Transformation through Interactive Theatre in Costa Rica. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 3(8), 545-560


Exercise adapted from March 2012 writers’ workshop held at Live Theatre, Newcastle and facilitated by Dan Herd, Associate Director at Soho Theatre


Rebellato D (2012) Review: Three Kingdoms by Simon Stephens http://www.

touchpoint 39

Directing Design Using Theatre to Capture the Human Element in Service

Emmanuel Fragnière is a Professor of Service Management at the Haute École de Gestion in Geneva, Switzerland. His research is focused on the development of risk management models for decision makers in the service sector.

Marshall Sitten is a New York-based communications strategy consultant and co-founder of Flashing12 Communications. He also collaborates on service design research with Professor Fragnière at the Haute École de Gestion in Geneva, Switzerland.



If we are to undertake a human-centric approach to service design, then understanding human behaviour is a key component to designing the services people use. Apart from the behavioural and social sciences, theatre provides an important set of tools for making tangible the invisible, implicit, yet essential elements that make up a service encounter. Nowadays, it’s easy to find out how to do almost anything. You can fire up your trusty web browser, run a few searches and, within minutes, locate enough howto’s, Wikis and instructional YouTube videos to get you started on nearly any task, from preparing confit de canard to building a deck for your house. So, if the average person has access to all the same tools, ingredients and technical know-how as the professionals, why do we still spend money on French restaurants and carpenters instead of doing it all by ourselves? Why do we prefer to troubleshoot computer problems with the help of a living person rather than an automated phone system? What are the qualities that separate linear, industrialised service platforms (,, etc.) from truly co-created service experiences (travel agents, for example)? The design and improvement of services require more than just knowledge

of the technical elements and business requirements of the service itself. It requires an intense understanding of the cultural environment, relationships, behaviours and, most of all, a capturing of the tacit knowledge that an experienced service provider brings to each service encounter, not forgetting the desire to benefit from a service without necessarily investing one’s time and energy in an unnecessary manner. For the past three years at the Geneva School of Business Administration Service Lab, we have explored answers to the questions above by combining ethnomethodology –the study of how people make sense of their world and form social codes through the daily rituals of work – with the techniques and implicit knowledge gained through the contribution of Swiss stage director Yves Pinguely’s career in the dramatic arts to produce a process for creating, improving and learning about services.

service design on stage

“A Shareholder’s Meeting”: a service design experiment simulating a corporate Annual General Meeting which was performed by the HEG Geneva Service Lab for a live audience and filmed for Swiss public television in 2009. Since service interactions are relatable human experiences that can be recalled and described as stories, many of the skills involved in creating an experience that audiences can relate to in the theatre are directly applicable to the process of service design, such as building and improving a scene through iteration and rehearsal, identifying and conveying values and motivations and making sense of people, places and moments that comprise a story. Our theatre-based approach to service design takes place in four steps: 1. Ethnomethodology through site visits, immersion work and semi-directed interviews with service providers and clients in order to identify the salient attributes of a given service experience 2. Development of a theatrical script that makes fully tangible the key elements of the service interaction 3. Rehearsal of the script using a trained director in order to maximise authenticity, properly visualise the service

and to work through the design process iteratively 4. Development and delivery of ‘operating modes’, redesigned scripts for the service based on the results of the rehearsals In order to explain how the technique works, let’s return to the example of a carpenter and focus on the initial client consultation as the service. ETHNOMETHODOLOGY

The idea behind ethnomethodology is that during the course of our everyday lives, we collectively take part in daily rituals and habits that form our social codes. For example, the daily morning rituals involved in working in an office building – swiping a badge at a security touchpoint 41

scanner, riding the elevator and exchanging pleasantries with co-workers and sitting down to log in at your computer – are all part of what form the social codes of office life. For the purpose of theatre-based service design, we’re interested in learning about how the settings, the procedures, and the tacit knowledge required for service production are expressed in the service environment. Understanding these rituals is a crucial part of constructing an authentic simulation of the service: we gather this understanding by performing a combination of immersion work, semi-directed interviews and direct observation with people from both the provider and client side of the service engagement. In using ethnomethodology to build a script for the carpenter’s client consultation, we would try to observe how carpenters behave as service providers: how do they speak with clients during the client consultation? How do they speak with each other? Is there an office? How is it arranged? What jargon do the carpenters use, how do they dress and how do they conduct themselves during each phase of the project? And then there is the element of tacit knowledge: the level of skill and understanding that seems automatic to the carpenter and that manifests itself in the types of questions asked and types of advice offered



when doing the initial project consultation with the client; the shortcuts taken or pitfalls avoided during the project; and the choice of one type of design or building material over another. It is in large part the carpenter’s expression of tacit knowledge that earns the client’s trust and willingness to pay and are what distinguish an ‘artisanal’, co-produced service from one that can be industrialised and performed by anyone without training. BUILDING AND RUNNING THE SCENE

The results from the ethnomethodological study are processed to produce a theatrical script that depicts the service encounter of a carpenter-client consultation in a realistic and authentic way. Volunteers from the ethnomethodology phase – both carpenters and clients – are invited to volunteer to participate in the simulation, taking the roles of the actors. The scene is rehearsed, with the director (Pinguely) guiding the actors and making sure that the motivations, movements, dialogue and physical characteristics of the scene remain authentic and relatable. The team continues to rehearse the scene, making changes to various parts of the scene with each iteration, in order to seek out problems and test improvements to the service script. At the end of the process, a set of thematic

service design on stage

recommendations – new ‘operating modes’ that include suggestions for improvement of the client consultation service – are delivered to the carpenters. These operating modes address obser vations made during the rehearsal process of factors related to problems in the service experience – physical factors like workspace layouts, or psychological elements like trust – and provide specific recommendations for action. ART IMITATES LIFE (UGH, SORRY)

Most of us know what it’s like to use a service that seems like it was designed on paper: clumsy, linear, overly focused on metrics and measurable outcomes, services designed in 2-D often skip right past the important human elements and create frustrating experiences both for those who produce and for those who use them. By contrast, the theatre-based approach offers a highly collaborative process that incorporates the stakeholders of a service directly into the production of the service script itself at every phase. It offers the ability to adapt and experiment while, at the same time, leveraging the experience of a trained director to ensure that what is produced is authentic, rich and realistic.

fidelity over frameworks When building a scene for a service design simulation, “...don’t get locked into one specific framework or theatre technique.” says Fragnière, “You should select the tools you need in order to accurately reproduce the salient attributes of each service experience. It is important to be flexible.” This can be illustrated by comparing two kinds of totally opposed service experiences: a high-end fashion boutique and an Apple Store. The customer is never left alone to wander in the highend boutique: the salesperson, an expert whose role is diagnostic in nature (‘What’s the occasion?’ ‘How about this colour?’) is stage managing the customer’s experience from the moment the customer first enters. In this experience, the ‘trusted advisor’ relationship forged through the salesperson’s expression of tacit knowledge is a key element to building the scene. Contrast this with the experience of walking into an Apple Store: the customer wanders freely through a mostly self-service environment, a technology ‘petting zoo’ where customers are given the space to examine and to test drive various pieces of equipment on their own before actively engaging a salesperson. Here the setting itself – the physical customer journey – is the primary attribute of the service experience.

Swiss stage director Yves Pinguely of the HEG Geneva Service Lab leading students and instructors in a rehearsal exercise. touchpoint 43

“Call Me a Cab! But first…” Empathy Principles and Techniques for Service Designers

Robert DeNiro rode with a cab driver for months in preparation for his role in the movie Taxi Driver. This approach to acting is call ‘method acting’. Method actors first ‘check-in with themselves’ by working to understand their own biases and assumptions regarding their roles: “I don’t like cab drivers who don’t speak English”, ”Most cab drivers are out to cheat passengers”, etc… These personal biases and assumptions must be acknowledged before the actor goes into the field and attempts to empathise with the subject of their role development (i.e. cab drivers). DeNiro’s goal was empathy. Service designers have successfully used tools and methods rooted in ethnography, including user observations, interviews, personas, etc, to empathise with customers. But we think that there is an important step missing in the search for empathy, a step that can be borrowed from method acting that enables designers to check-in with their selves before attempting to empathise with others. We haven’t come across any independent design firms or design teams within corporations that provide training for this kind of self-reflection. Yet the corporations that designers work with or for often have this kind of training for employees, in the form of diversity and inclusion training. Diversity and 44


inclusion initiatives often involve training for employees around awareness of their assumptions and biases, and how these can affect hiring decisions, team building, innovation, customer interactions, and profits. We have found that service designers benefit from a similar training customised for their needs. For the past ten years, Dramatic Diversity has used a theatre-based approach that includes customised workplace scenes, improvisation and simulations. In our workshops with corporations, we use exercises to help employees improve self-understanding before trying to communicate with others and re-designing their organisational culture. We’ve applied these same tools while working with designers. We call our offerings DD+D: Dramatic Diversity + Design. Recently, we added a workshop

called Design Empathy that helps designers to check-in and acknowledge their own biases and to explore assumptions before going out and doing research. When biases are removed, it engages people to have more open and honest conversations, which results in stronger and more meaningful connections. It also helps design teams to consider diversity – do we have the right people at the table for this job? – and to find ways to create an inclusive work environment so that everyone’s voice is heard and appreciated. For example, we recently partnered with a team of designers, all under the age of 32, who had studied design at the same or similar schools. The majority were male and had similar socio-economic backgrounds. This team was charged with developing a service that would help youth here in Chicago to make healthier eating choices. The team was working with a nonprofit organiszation located in a low-income, multicultural,minority community: a community suspicious of outsiders asking questions. Our Design Empathy workshop started with an overview of the community, a review of key stakeholders, (youth, parents, non-profit employees, local store owners, etc.) and the challenge andthe preparation needed to approach these stakeholders respectfully in conducting their research. All members of the team were to be involved throughout the design process. To build empathy, we must first develop trust. And, in building trust, we must let go of our fears and make

service design on stage

ourselves vulnerable. We leveraged Spolin’s improv exercises to build trust in the group and to get the designers to physically and mentally free themselves. We then played ‘What’s in a name?’ where participants share the history and meaning of their first and last names. The exercise revealed participants’ cultural backgrounds that had not been shared previously. It also helped them think about their possible similarities and connections with the community members and not to focus solely on the many differences. We also used Keith Johnston’s exercises to look at social status. Johnston’s ‘Bully, Victim, Saviour’ exercise helped team members reflect on their roles as service designers going into what was characterised as suspicious community. We developed ad hoc personas based on the community and had an open and honest discussion about race, poverty and differing world views. The design team reported that the workshop helped them personally to understand and isolate their biases and assumptions about community residents and healthy eating, re-frame the design problem, improve their approach to research and, ultimately, to create better design solutions. Building empathy with others means: • first turning inwardly for self reflection • developing trust, and letting go of fears • a willingness to open up and share stories

This all leads to forging strong connections and deeper understanding. We’d love to hear how you prepare to research on our LinkedIn group Theatre + Design.

References: 1 Boal, A. (2000). Theater of the oppressed. London: Pluto. 2 Dramatic Diversity www. 3 DD+D

Byron Stewart, Design Lead, Dramatic Diversity/ DD+D is an actor, director, consultant, facilitator and presenter and is owner of DD+D. Byron has applied theatre-based techniques to the design field, facilitating theatre and design workshops for McDonald’s, Critical Mass, RTC, IIT’s Institute of Design, DePaul University, Columbia College and for Northwestern University’s Design for America Fellows. He is a local leader and presenter for Chicago’s Interaction Design Association (IxDA) and was service design consultant for the University of Chicago and coordinator of the Chicago Service Jam ’11. He is a cofounding member of the Service Design Network Chicago.

DD+D in action touchpoint 45

Providing Patients With a Big Stage Using Theatre To Engage A Healthcare Audience This article will focus on the challenges and rewards of using a theatrical play to communicate research findings: the risks to be managed, the logistics to be coordinated and the impact that can be made on stakeholders. Christopher Ferguson, Partner, Design Strategy at Cooler Solutions. Chris brings his passion for translating the lived experience into practical design solutions. Chris leads teams of design strategists, researchers and designers with client partners including Roche, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Genentech, and Specialized understanding and translating needs to designs that stick. Chris is based in Toronto, Canada. learning experiences.




Theatre is a powerful medium. When an audience watches a play, they are transported to another world. The world portrayed on stage becomes the viewer’s lived experience. Since a play is enacted by real people on stage, the experience creates a heightened level of intimacy, far beyond watching slides or even a video on a screen. In 2007, Cooler Solutions was hired to design services for the launch of a new drug for Roche Pharmaceutical’s U.S. affiliate. The mission involved helping the organisation to understand patients’ and physicians’ unmet needs, in order to find areas of differentiation within a highly competitive $40-billion diabetes market. The team supporting the launch comprised several hundred people with functions ranging from brand sales and marketing professionals to legal consultants and medical affairs and regulatory personnel. Enrolling this large, cross-organisational team would prove a challenge. The pharmaceutical industry is extremely conservative and, as a result,

their commercialisation process has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s. Large teams of sales professionals are sent to ‘detail’ physicians about their product. This approach relies on an informal gift economy, where sales professionals buy lunch for the office staff, give out small gifts and provide free samples as a means to gain access to physicians. In 2008, the regulatory environment changed, eliminating many of these gifts as a means of gaining access and promoting products. Within a one-year period, this legal change, along with increasing pressures on doctors to see more patients, caused a 20% reduction in physicians who would see sales representatives. Even with this major regulatory change on the horizon, pharmaceutical companies were struggling to develop new approaches to servicing the market. This is due, in large part, to the reliance on accumulated data on salesforce size and structure as a predictive tool for estimating market impact. When a pharmaceutical company is launching a new product, the most

service design on stage

predictable thing to do is look at what worked in the past to estimate future growth. Because of this over-reliance on historic data, introducing new services required communicating the unmet needs of physicians and patients in an extremely compelling manner, so that the project stakeholders had the impetus to take action and look for new opportunities. The communication needed to be clear and specific, detailing clear opportunities for innovative new services. Considering the size and magnitude of the change, the medium of communication also needed to be differentiated, so that the internal stakeholders were sent a signal that we were going to be doing things differently with this project.

Our team of researchers and designers worked closely with Roche’s internal production team. This team had a lot of experience developing videos for internal events and training, so they had invaluable expertise. We developed a plan that detailed how we would leverage the organisation’s experience in constructing sets, lighting and sound and in sourcing actors from the New York area to play roles we needed filled such as sales professionals and doctors. Using the video storyboard, we convinced the team that a play would be a valuable and differentiated way to communicate and engage with the broader organisation. The combination of including internal experts and developing high-fidelity examples of how the play would work, helped reduce the risk the play for our clients. To address the risk-averse organisational culture, execution needed to be flawless. Roles were cast with professional actors and the script was based on verbatim


In order to engage the large and diverse team of stakeholders, Cooler put on a live-action play. In the case of Roche, risk management for this play was two-fold: managing their organisational culture’s adversity to risk, as well as the individuals on the client team’s personal risk. Companies can have long memories. With an audience consisting of leaders from across the organisation’s functional areas, the members of the client team were hyper-aware of their personal associations with the play. To help sell the clients on the idea, the Cooler team developed storyboards in much the same way we prototype a new service concept. Our designers animated the storyboards and we hired professional voice actors to narrate the story in order to bring the idea to life. touchpoint 47

transcripts from the ethnographic study we had completed for the project. Sets were constructed to resemble the actual environments encountered in the field. As a result, the team was able to tell a multi-layered story that represented a variety of stakeholders’ viewpoints. The play also needed to deliver our understanding of the diabetes market in a compelling and relevant manner. SOCIAL DYNAMICS, STIGMA, AND STEREOTYPES

There were many benefits to using a play, as compared to traditional means of delivering spoken content. The first benefit was the ability to tell the story of diabetes from the perspective of the patients themselves. Type-2 diabetics often face stigma because of a commonly-held assumption that they ‘did this to themselves’. We were able to unpack the social dynamics: issues like external



prejudice, along with internal dynamics like avoidance and guilt, were more easily communicated and understood within the context of social relationships between diabetic patients, their friends and family and their physicians. Within the U.S., diabetes disproportionately affects Latin- and African-Americans. As a result, many of our research participants came from within these ethnicities. The play allowed us to portray these people as the complex and dynamic human beings we had experienced, and not some exaggerated or stereotyped caricature. Producing a presentation as a play also enabled us to communicate the pain

service design on stage

points and preferences of physicians and patients in a chronological and contextual frame that much more effectively represented reality than does reducing the multi-faceted complexity of diabetes to a slide full of bullet points. The ‘customer journey’ was understood in a more nuanced and, therefore, more valuable way, allowing the audience to see clear opportunities for innovation. We were also able to share complex information with a large number of stakeholders in a relatively raw and ‘real life’ context and with minimal reductionism. Wherever possible, Cooler had included client teams into our fieldwork, as this provides invaluable understanding and commitment to the people we are designing for. With such a large team, this was simply impossible, so the play acted as a comparatively immersive and enveloping experience.

when to play big in healthcare • The client organisation has limited access and understanding of the human experience of the targeted area • Complex social dynamics between patients, physicians, caregivers, and other stakeholders exist • The client organisation includes a variety of departments and functions that must be enrolled in order for new solutions to be introduced • Audience size and potential market opportunity justify investment in an enhanced experience

The play followed a main character before, during and after an appointment with her physician. The storyline was paralleled by a sales professional who is calling on the same physician whom the patient was seeing. The play also involved interactions between patients and other people and between patients and their physicians. The script was based on transcripts from immersions with patients, observations with patient-physician interactions and from ‘ride-alongs’ with sales professionals to hospitals and physicians offices. The play was performed in three acts, with a narrator calling out specific insights after each performance. Between acts, the entire group broke out into facilitated workshops where participants identified opportunities to develop services or tactics that would address the pain points and preferences the actors had just presented. This in turn deepened the understanding and increased buy-in by the broader organisation. Producing a large-scale play within the context of a large pharmaceutical organisation was incredibly complex and risky. In the end, five pilots were launched resulting in two new in-market services. The first is a social network where diabetics can talk to one another about how to understand and cope with the disease. The second is a live video detailing service that provides a video link between pharmaceutical representatives and physicians on their computer. Live video detailing gives physicians 24/7 access to disease state information and the ability to order samples and schedule visits from a pharmaceutical sales representative from any location with an Internet connection. Both have been extremely successful and have been scaled up since their launch, proving to be a success in a completely new commercialisation model. If we hadn’t been able to use a live play to convey research insights, it would have been extremely difficult to achieve buy-in to design these two new services. By applying theatrical methods, our research was effectively translated into innovative new services that are bringing tremendous value to both physicians and the diabetic patients whom they treat.

touchpoint 49

Beyond the Service Journey How Improvisation Can Enable Better Services and Better Service Designers

Lara Penin, assistant professor Parsons The New School for Design, coordinator Service Design Area of Study, founder Parsons DESIS Lab. PhD in Industrial Design (Milan Polytechnic) and BA in Architecture and Urbanism (Univ. of São Paulo).




“When we come together to play and be, we are truly ourselves. When we are truly ourselves it is wonderful, and when we act collectively in that wonder we do transformative work for our community and our world.” This quote, from artist Brad Colby, represents exactly what improvisation is: a gathering of individuals coming together to investigate the unknown in order to develop the muscle of spontaneity for a greater goal. Improv frees our instincts so we may say ‘yes’ to what partners are offering us and build upon their ideas. It liberates our imagination while embracing our authentic selves. Improvisation through playing theatre games offers the artist a tool whereby they may examine, discover, and release the blocks that are in-

hibiting their maximum potential: “Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reconciling cognitive difficulties. The abilities to make new patterns, find the unusual among the common, and spark curiosity and alert observation are all fostered by being in a state of play”1. But how does improvisation work in practice? The examples below help illustrate the scope and nature of some improvisation exercises. FAMILY PORTRAITS

Divide the group into ‘families’ of four to seven people. The leader will have prepared a list of words in advance and stands in a chair, emulating an old time photographer. The leader starts calling one family, saying, “You are the […] family.”

Photos: Yaprak Büyükteoman

Roger Manix is an adjunct professor at The New School and Brooklyn College, as well as a coach in The Mastery in Communication Initiative at Stanford University. He delivers an interactive workshop to enhance innovation and collaboration specific to a brand or company.

What is improvisation? And how can it enhance the service design process? Through a system of exercises, we will describe how to infuse a sense of play in the classroom, in the context of a service design-related course. These exercises shed light on how people (service users, providers, citizens) are connecting (and disconnecting) from one another. Service design insists upon a holistic approach towards the human experience and builds upon human interactions. Its processes, therefore, should reflect this integrated view by working across disciplines.

The ‘mouse’ family, the ‘Rodin’ family, the ‘murder’ family.

This is not a stick, this is: a golf club, a guitar, a phone

From left to right: (1) Participant says: “This is not a stick, this is a ...?”. (2) After several seconds: “Oh, I’ve got nothing!” (3) Leader says: “Look at it, let it inform you. Toss and throw it around a bit.” (4) Participant starts playing with the stick until, many seconds later: “Oh, now I know ”. (5) Participant uses the stick as a cane.

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problem framing

design directions and concepts

synthesis of findings



Improv exercises for collaboration and empathy

Improv exercises for synthesis

Improv exercises for insight and breaking linear thinking

- This is not a stick

- Family portraits

- This is not a stick

tested prototypes


A simplified model of a service design process, with improv exercises introduced at key moments.

That family then runs up to the enactment area while leader says “1, 2, 3, CLICK!” and snaps a picture with an imaginary camera. They all freeze on ‘click’. If someone were to look at that frozen tableau they would immediately be able to tell: ‘Oh, that’s the [...] family’. The list of words will include a variety of themes, amongst them: ‘sensual’, ‘zombie’, ‘purple’, ‘kitchen’, ‘Los Angeles’, ‘New York City’, ‘pug’, ‘imaginary’, etc. THIS IS NOT A STICK

The leader has something resembling a stick (e.g. a rolled-up newspaper) and starts tossing it across a circle of people. One person catches it, immediately says, “This is not a stick, it’s a…” and then uses it for what they think it is. For example, I catch it and say, “This is not a stick, it’s a…” then I squat down and start rowing, using the stick as an oar, saying, “I can’t believe we hit an iceberg!” Then quickly throw it to someone else and the game continues. Don’t tell me what it is, use it for what it is. Ask participants not to pre-plan. 52



Service design is often defined as a holistic kind of practice, where “...the entire environment of a service should be considered.” (Stickdorn and Schneider, 2011)3. Given its integrative nature, designing services often requires quite a structured process and a variety of methods. In this context, we often recognise the need to incorporate approaches and techniques from other disciplines, such as ethnographic methods for user research. According to Stickdorn and Schneider, service design is, by definition, an inter-disciplinary practice. Engine Group suggest a design process that starts with an ‘Orientate and Discover’ phase with different levels of research, followed by a ‘Generate’ phase on which they “...conceptualise and explore visually many responses to the challenge” followed by a ‘Synthesise and Model’ phase in which service models are prototyped and tested. This threestep process, based on research, ideation and prototyping is never a linear process, but rather consists of iterative

service design on stage

cycles that rely on consultations with clients and users and on tests. What, then, would be the specific phases and steps that would benefit from the kind of insight the improv exercises can generate? CASE STUDY: WORKSHOP AT TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN

In May 2012, senior students of the Transdisciplinary Design MFA at Parsons The New School for Design engaged in a 3-hour improv workshop led by Roger Manix. Six exercises were implemented, including the two described above. The exercises were conducted without previous explanation as to how they could impact the design process. At the end of the workshop, feedback sheets were distributed. On the sheets, we articulated some hypotheses on how each specific exercise could help enhance or remove blocks at specific junctures in a typical design process. We asked students to provide further insight and react to our initial hypothesis. From the data collected we observed that the improv exercises could be grouped into three main categories: • Exercises for collaboration and empathy • Exercises for insight and breaking lateral thinking • Exercises for synthesis These three categories are further articulated below, in relation to each specific exercise. FAMILY PORTRAITS

Exercises focus: collaboration and empathy; synthesis This exercise develops collaboration, communication, spontaneity, trust and creativity by prompting instinctive reactions within a group, developing a ‘group think tank’. The feedback provided by students pointed to yet another interesting direction, that being the synthesis. There is very little time for the ‘families’ to communicate and make a plan before posing. It requires, therefore, a lot of capacity for synthesis to be able to have an idea, communicate and agree among the group and finally execute the pose, which needs to be quickly recognisable as such.


Exercise Focus: insight and breaking lateral thinking; collaboration and empathy We felt strongly that this improvisation would be valuable in cultivating innovation. The exercise highlights how difficult it is to trust the creative process. The example below illustrates how the idea came to the student once she began to engage the stick with the space around her in varying ways. In addition, the feedback regularly indicated how supportive the participants were when a colleague had the stick, and the shared joy and relief they experienced when the other participants guessed what it was supposed to be. CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we feel that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg on how to bring improv into the service design process. Moving forward, we identified some promising areas to continue this investigation. First, it would be critical to verify different applications of the exercises according to the design phase. Several design tools are useful in different steps of research and design development and can be used iteratively. This would likely be the case in improv exercises. Secondly, we need to measure the impact of introducing improv in design processes, by comparing and contrasting a design process with and without consistent improvisation. Finally, and more specific to service design, would be the exploration of how to bring improv more consistently into the prototype phase, for example using improv to explore different service narratives.

References 1 Brown, S., Vaughan, C. (2009) Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. New York: Avery. 2 Engine Group (2012) Our process design/our_process/ Accessed May 14, 2012. Stickdorn, M., Schneider, J. (2010). This is Service Design Thinking. Basics – Tools – Cases. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers 4 Hormeß M., Lawrence A., (2012). Beyond Roleplay: Better Tools to Steal from Theatre. Touchpoint. The Journal of Service Design, Vol. 4 No.1, 64 – 67. 3

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service design on stage

Shaping Vision through Collaboration Clubbers Inspire the Creation of a Progressive Nightclub The Heineken-sponsored global design project, which went under the title of ‘Open Design Explorations Edition 1: The Club’, invited 19 emerging designers from around the world to co-create the club of tomorrow. To immerse themselves in the nightlife journey, the design team connected with over 100 design-savvy clubbers in an online research community. The experiences, needs and motivations of these clubbers were integrated into an interactive customer journey map, in order to fuel the creative process. This service design tool stimulates interdisciplinary design teams to transcend their individual disciplines and develop a user-centred vision of club design.

“While the hosts provide you with a warm welcome at the entrance, the waiters wander around, suggesting playful dares to get you out of your shell.”

Thomas Troch, Senior Research Innovator, InSites Consulting, combines a background in industrial design with a passion for research.


The historical legacy behind Heineken’s design credentials is what led the brand to pursue its progressive roots and to encourage emerging designers. In 2011, the aluminum bottle, which has since become rather famous, won a design prize at the Cannes Lions, and Heineken is now connecting with design that goes beyond just beer, by enhancing ‘beer moments’ in a unique collaborative project. Open Design Explorations Edition 1: The Club crowd-sourced young, talented designers from New York, Tokyo, Milan and São Paulo to develop a pioneering nightclub by inviting them to submit their portfolio via Heineken’s Facebook page. Live presentation events in these 4 design cities resulted in the final composition of the design team, which involved product, graphic, fashion, interior and motion designers.

Tom De Ruyck, Head of Research Communities, InSites Consulting, is responsible for InSites’ global community activities.

Caroline van Hoff, On-site concept develop manager, Heineken International, is a creative director driven by the challenge of complex problems.

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The Heineken concept club community THE HEINEKEN CONCEPT CLUB COMMUNITY

To develop a relevant and impactful take on club design, understanding the needs of clubbers is crucial. During the selection of the designers, Heineken and InSites Consulting conducted a global research project with club goers to provide the design team with relevant and real consumer insights, acting as a briefing, a source of inspiration and a springboard for ideation. Engaging a group of trendy clubbers to participate in research can be quite a challenge and, although the club of the future is an aspirational topic, the selection of the research methodology still needed careful attention. Online research communities connect consumers with their favourite brands and facilitate the co-creation of products, services and campaigns. The asynchronous and longitudinal connection allows community participants to join the online discussions at the time and at the location of their choice, resulting in vivid conversations, enriched with personal pictures.1 ‘The Heineken Concept Club community uncovered insights from the club life of over 100 clubbers, based in the 20 ‘hottest’ cities in the world, during a 3-week inspirational adventure. In addition to their current experience and the role of clubbing in their daily or weekly routine, their view on the ideal night56


Interactive bar

life journey led to the project’s focus and theme: Changing Perspectives. To develop a holistic view on the needs of clubbers, a movie metaphor was used to guide the conversations. From the actors in the ideal nightlife journey, to the scenery, the director and the scenario, no element remained unexamined. REPORTING RESEARCH FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT

The dialogue with clubbers resulted in over 2000 comments, providing a unique view on the meaning of clubbing in their lives. To engage the designers with the research results, a customised reporting format was developed. The analysis of the discussions resulted in

service design on stage

Interactive consumer journey map: the shaping of 28 insights, each linking a challenge for the design team to the needs of their audience. Service design thinking inspired the integration of these insights – spread over six touchpoints – in a customer journey map that visualised the experiences, needs and motivations of the club goers. A customer journey map provides a high-level overview of the factors influencing user experience, constructed from the user perspective. This enables the identification of problem areas and opportunities for innovation, by combining an overall view on the journey with the detail of the individual stages. These service moments not only take the actual service period into account, they also integrate the influence of elements in the pre- and post-service period.2 By reporting the customer journey map as an interactive infographic, designers were able to ‘browse through the night’ and discover the insights in the

different phases of a night out, from ‘preclub drinks and meeting-up’, to ‘entering the club’, ‘going for a drink’, ‘dancing’, ‘chilling’ and finally to ‘going home’. In the spirit of the open design exploration, the infographic is available for anyone to inspect at FROM INSPIRATION TO CO-CREATION

The selected designers received specialist coaching from famous designers in their respective fields. After the briefing and the immersion in the clubbing scene, designers and coaches joined the clubbers and the Heineken team on the online community touchpoint 57

Artistic impression of the Heineken Concept Club platform, where they could spark ideas and share first sketches with each other. In this way, the project took full advantage of the characteristics of the online community platform, providing a 24/7 connection to stakeholders from all over the world for a longer period of time, supporting true co-creation. MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2012

The interactive customer journey map not only served as a briefing and a source of inspiration, the research also proved crucial in making the final selection of ideas to be part of the actual club. By taking the journey of clubbers as a starting point, The Heineken Concept Club, showcased at the Milan Design Week 2012, successfully providing the design critics with a pleasant surprise. From the layout of the club, to following the customer journey map and to the shelves where clubbers can leave their drink while dancing, the whole experience is designed to provoke a truly enjoyable and memorable night out. 58


While most clubs currently focus on their entertainment value, the clubbers in the community reminded the design team that going out is also about hospitality. The fashion designers transformed the staff and dressed them in other-worldly, origami-inspired outfits to match the identity of the club and to radiate positive energy. While the hosts provide you with a warm welcome at the entrance, the waiters wander around, suggesting playful dares to get you out of your shell. When it’s time to move on, a friendly concierge guides you onwards, giving directions and arranging cabs home. Even the simple act of ordering a beer has been creatively deconstructed and carefully considered, anticipating the clubbers’ need to attract the attention of the barman. Tap a bottle-shaped icon on the interactive bar surface and pulsing, concentric circles attract the server’s attention and tell him that you have priority over the guy next to you. When your beer is served, the barman

service design on stage

“Even the simple act of ordering a beer has been creatively deconstructed and carefully considered, anticipating the clubbers’ need to attract the attention of the barman.” club design and, thus, emphasising design as a key part of their brand DNA. Service design proves to be one of the most powerful tools to create a memorable journey, with the customer at the centre of the creative process. The communication value of this project goes beyond the outcome, as the process and the findings are equally important. Interviews with guests attending one of the opening nights confirm this, as the impact on the brand perception is already phenomenal. taps the icon to ‘explode’ it, showing that the order has been fulfilled. SPREADING THE VIBE

With initiatives like the Open Design Explorations, Heineken is setting itself apart by pushing the boundaries of

References 1 De Ruyck, T. et al (2010). How fans became future shapers of an ice-cream brand. Research paper for Esomar qualitative 2010, InSites Consulting & Unilever. 2 Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2011). This is Service Design Thinking. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.

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Shaping Service Experiences Through Character Roles

Graziella Prando, founder and director of Spark SD, a service design consultancy from Brazil. She has a background in graphic design and holds a masters degree in strategic design.

Rafael Soldatelli, director of Spark SD with a masters degree in strategic design. Previously he worked as a business analyst and project manager for the IT industry.

Patrícia Sacchet is an actor with a master in performing arts. She is a member of Cia. Ondina & Tufoni Cultura e arte, an organisation dedicated to clown interventions, comic spectacles and workshops. 60


Imagine yourself going off on holiday and all the different things you’ll need to accomplish before enjoying that well deserved time off. Imagine all the places you’ll go and people you’ll meet during the trip. When you return home, all the memories of things you did could well become a story for your friends, with you in the leading role. But think of all the services you used during this trip: did they have a significant role on your play, or support you accordingly? In this article, we explore more ways to interact with services, rather than just going through processes and repeating plain scripts. Services are composed of people’s interaction with touchpoints at every step of the way, and the quality of these interactions directly influences the customer’s experience and perceptions. Normally, services involve different actors or groups of people as customers, service personnel, managers, suppliers and backstage staff. When buying a service, customers receive a benefit and travel on a journey that involves the participation of some of these actors. These relationships and steps that form a service often have a transformative power on the user, who follows a path and overcomes obstacles to achieve their goal. This transformation process is common in narratives, especially in the lead role of the hero who changes the course of a story,

but it is also a process present in our lives. Searching for inspiration in narratives applied to performing arts in the studies of Christopher Vogler1, we can identify many similarities between the archetypes analysed by the author and their roles in the narrative and the actors involved in a service. Extending this comparison, the archetypes can work as a tool to create roles with well defined functions in different types of services. Considering the user perspective of a service, the user’s role can be compared to the protagonist or the hero of a story. The protagonist engages the audience and interacts with other characters that make up the plot. Like a protagonist, the user is the focus of a service, promotes the action

service design on stage

higher self shapeshifter




and makes decisions. Each of us, when we use a service, are the protagonists of our own context of use. Besides the protagonist, there are other types of characters, or archetypes, common to many stories. They represent standards and qualities common to all humans. One way to understand the archetypes is to consider them as different aspects of the protagonist’s personality, representing possible ways they can follow. We will talk about four of the most common ones: the hero, the mentor, the threshold guardian and the trickster. Evidently, many other archetypes can be found in stories. Each of these characters has a specific role in the narrative and each represents certain aspects of the hero. As mentioned earlier, the hero, or protagonist, is the focus of the plot. This central character can represent many functions: identification with the audience, learning and growth throughout the story and making important decisions. The journey model proposed by Vogler is divided in 12 steps and, according to him, it is one of many paths from one point to another. To better characterise the archetype of the hero, we can take the example of a tourist trip: the person who will be travelling would be the hero and protagonist of the story. Before the trip, they seek help to choose their destination, prepare, make reservations and, finally, to embark on the ‘adventure’. During the trip, they will enter an unknown world and maybe even experience some setbacks, but will also have people to help them, as their mentor. The mentor is a character who helps and teaches the hero, encourages them to join the adventure and provides them with knowledge and security. Other than teaching, the mentor can also give gifts to help the hero


threshold guardian

trickster shadow

on their journey. In the example of the trip, the mentor may be a travel agent, who puts together an itinerary and gives tips about the destinations, but the mentor can also be a tour guide, or a maître d’ in a restaurant. Besides information, these actors can also provide documents or objects useful to the traveller during their trip. In these cases, the mentor’s role is to encourage people to experience a different culture and to suggest places to explore. However, the mentor may not necessarily be a person and may manifest itself in other ways, such as a travel guide or a tourist information device. Generally, the hero comes across obstacles during the adventure, often represented by the threshold guardian.This character is normally there to test the hero’s abilities. When confronting a guardian, the hero must overcome a test or unravel a puzzle to move forward. Staying with the tourism example, we may think of an airport check-in attendant: for passengers, this is an obstacle that may even prevent them from travelling, but the attendant’s association with the archetype helps us to better understand their role and reason to exist. This archetype could also be represented by the front desk personnel of a hotel or customs at the airport, which come into play when the traveller is put to the test. They also represent the closing of a story arc and the beginning of a new stage, helping our hero to realise that a change is occurring. touchpoint 61

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The hero’s journey Another common archetype in stories, the trickster, brings fun and a shift of energy to the story. This character helps by releasing the tension in a story and gives perspective by pointing out the reality to other characters. The trickster’s ‘mask’ may often be used temporarily by other characters: a threshold guardian may, at some point, represent this role. Back to our trip example, a check-in attendant could play the role of a trickster to make this step less stressful and tiring for passengers by talking or telling a short story. Similarly, a flight attendant, a tour guide or a taxi driver at times can play this role, showing the protagonist that they are not on home ground anymore. In good scripts, each character has a well defined function and a reason to be part of the story. The hero does not evolve alone in stories. Analysing archetypes and understanding their functions and activities in stories can help in defining new roles or in complementing the existing roles in services. Working with archetypes gives reality and continuity to services and helps explore the potential of each individual involved in it. For service managers, the archetypes can also represent a reference for recruiting and training purposes. As a casting of actors, the service roles indicate the characteristics that must be present in the team, and they help staff members to understand their function in services and to define their attitude towards the public. In theatre, the cast of characters is usually done from an analysis of the profiles of those most appropri62


ate for each role. For instance, at the Moscow Art Theatre, founded by Constantin Stanislavski2, although the distribution of roles according to the profiles and physical attributes was not of central importance, it still had to be taken into consideration: people have qualities that fit in naturally with certain roles. Similarly, this way of thinking may be useful for actors involved in a service to identify the roles they feel more comfortable playing. This reasoning can also be followed by companies while recruiting and training people, by helping them identify the most important characteristics that need to be performed by that role. Recently, for a project for a local hospital, we proposed the creation of certain roles to improve the patients’ experience in the Diagnostic Imaging Centre. Based on previous research and analysis on the centre, we observed that some patients felt lost and insecure during the examinations. The stages of these examinations were not clearly communicated to patients, and the process was very fragmented, with customers interacting with several different people. For these reasons, one of the solutions proposed was to create certain roles for the front-line staff: a ‘guide’ who would function as a mentor for patients; ‘facilitators’ who would also help the patient or function as threshold guardians, verifying if everything is prepared for the start of the exam; and a ‘funny helper’ who would be like a trickster and help the patient to relax during the examination itself. While doing so, we naturally started to identify staff members who could fill these roles, matching their behaviour and attitudes with those of

service design on stage

the defined roles. Besides these characters, seeing the patient as a hero and the process as the hero’s journey helped us to see the moments of greatest difficulty and what could be added to improve the journey, complementing it with other elements and providing tangible evidences along the way. Rehearsal techniques can also contribute to the training of a team. As an exercise, certain roles can be assigned to different team members to challenge them to discover and develop new skills, to improvise and to identify problems that may occur during the service delivery. The exchange of roles may be set up as a dynamic training, aiming to understand the other roles and their functions at each stage of the service journey. Moreover, this change strengthens awareness of the need for complementary roles and the harmony of a group for a more fluid and efficient service. In one of her books, the Brazilian professor of theatre, Mirna Spritzer3, recounts her experience of this exercise with theatre students. According to her, the exercise gives an actor the opportunity to watch a colleague interpreting their role, and it causes a detachment of the actor from their role. The actor gets



• The protagonist • Represents the ego • Has universal qualities and emotions • Learns and grows in the course of the story

• Helps and trains the hero • Provides knowledge, security and special gifts • Encourages the hero to undertake the adventure and fece the unknown

a more critical view of his character and other ways to interpret it. According to Mirna, it is as if we are hearing the words for the first time, since new meanings and intentions arise from the voice and interpretation of others. It is also a way to contribute to our colleagues’ work, by showing them the words and subtleties they have not yet discovered. As presented Lawrence & Hormess’s article Beyond Roleplay4, the different actors in a service, like backstage and frontline staff, as well as customers, can get involved in an investigative rehearsal. This technique can be used by a group to play out a certain scene, and the idea is to stop the scene any time an idea of how something could be played differently arises. It provides an opportunity to think about the scene and to test new ideas, and in this sense it could be also useful for defining and testing service roles. The performing arts can be a real inspiration on how to design services. The definition of roles with specific functions inspired by narratives is a useful tool for service providers, both as a way to architect a service – identifying the right staff and training – and to actively involve their customers during service delivery. During consultancy work, our experience and discussions on this topic show that one of the key issues with several types of services is its continuity across different touchpoints. As in a plot, the combination of different roles gives a sense to the service as a whole and enhances the continuity of its stages. When observing a service through the eyes of a director, we can cast our customers as protagonists, naturally enhancing the focus on them and their success. We invite you all to think of your customers as heroes and design the most incredible stories for them.

threshold guardian trickster • Represents obstacles during the journey • Tests and confronts the hero • Symbolises change and the beginning of new phases

• Incorporates the energy of change • Provides comic relief to the story • Points out the reality to other characters

References 1 VOGLER, C. (1992). A jornada do escritor: estruturas míticas para contadores de histórias e roteiristas. Rio de Janeiro: Ampersand. 2 STANISLAVSKI, C. (1970). A Construção da Personagem. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira. 3 SPRITZER, M. (2003). A formação do ator: um diálogo de ações. Porto Alegre: Mediação. 4 Lawrence, A., & Hormess, M. (2012). Beyond Roleplay. Touchpoint: the journal of service design, 3(3), 64-67.

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service design on stage

Theatrical Improvisation for Participatory Design RePlay is a framework developed by the author to observe a concept she has described as Creativity in Action. The framework explores spatial requirements, experiential knowledge and or other contextual information by utilizing the body as a resource for design process via creativity in action. This feature summarizes a month long study conducted with children where by RePlay was used as part of a bi-directional participatory design process within an applied architectural planning context in the Kabadkhana housing community in Bhopal, India. The effectiveness of improvisation, body-storming, informance, role-play (amongst other names) as part of design process has been well documented by Brandt et al.2, Sawyer5, IDEO1 and many others yet there hasn’t been a great deal of research regarding understanding the nature of this activity as a valuable part of design process. Gongora has designed a framework called RePlay which uses specific games to facilitate a type of creative process which is of great relevance to service design. Gongora describes this as creativity in action, a process characterized by reflection,

RePlay session in Railway Park

flow, perceptual shifts, improvisational creativity, enactive perception and bodily externalization34. In this instance RePlay was used with children from the Kabadkhana improvised housing community to facilitate urban planners, architects, and community stakeholders to integrate feedback from the children as gatekeepers to the community and translate these findings into an architectural proposal to local government, NGOs, CBOs and other stakeholders during an international project called Global Studio. Although our outcome was to create an architectural proposal including architectural drawings, 3d mock ups and plans the use of RePlay also facilitated the creation of a set of educational tools that would also serve to support activities. Games covered themes such

Alan Dix is a computing professor at Birmingham University and researcher at Talis Ltd. He works on most things that connect people and computers.

Layda Gongora, is a Mexican/Canadian Media Artist, Designer, Researcher, and Project Manager. She is currently a Phd student at Lancaster University in the Computing Department.

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Architectural plans for Kabadkhana primary school


existing situation

proposed solutions

• garbage removal • tube well unhygienic

• tube well renovation (filtering out debris) • better garbage containers • clearing of green spaces backyard (garbage collection contest)


• lack of social space • lack of teaching spaces • tube well unhygienic

• chalk board games painted on the courtyard (Lido, Hopscotch) • garbage separation area • creation of staff area • vegetable garden, play areas • new tube well filtration system


• need permanent roof • finish community hall • lack of security

• recommend a better roof solution and materials • rebuild stage platform to be used in community hall • create a second level as a watch tower for security guard

Project milestones and proposal for Kabadkhana primary school 66


as garbage collection and hygienic hand washing stations that via conducting RePlay were identified as important services to the community. Educational tools included a colouring book, a set of icons as teaching tools, and a logo of the Kabadkhana community. One of the unique characteristics of RePlay is that it provides a way in which experts and non-experts can establish shared mental models as well as explore social aspects of an experience such as place making. RePlay presented the opportunity for the children to communicate about the building site as well as the kinds of activities that were important to the community. RESEARCH DISCUSSION

Two RePlay sessions were conducted, first at a local primary school and later at an informal park setting. Children who were students of the primary school and above the age of 7 were involved as well as other local children. In between the first and second session part of the design team generated mind maps that highlighted services that had been expressed by the community as being important as well as design proposals. During the Design Mapping activity the children highlighted areas they felt were important to the community such as gardens, play spaces and clean water. Informed by this process,

service design on stage

Community map by Kabadkhana children our team then focused on particular locations we had collectively identified as areas where improvements or design proposals could be made for the school. These were the courtyard, backyard and community hall.

References 1

Prototyping. In Proc. DIS 2000, ACM Press (2000), 424-433. 2

Brandt, E. and Grunnet, C. Evoking the Future: Drama and Props in user Centered Design. In the proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference, Cherkasky, T.,


Briefly summarized RePlay encouraged exploring physical parameters such as spatial requirements, experiential knowledge and or other contextual information by utilizing the body as a resource for a bi-directional design process. Due to its low entry threshold and informal nature it offered the opportunity for children to participate and offer feedback as part of a complex architectural design process.

Buchenau, M. and Fulton Suri, J. Experience

Greenbaum, J., Mambrey, P. (eds), New York, November 28–1 December (2000), CPSR, pp. 11–20. 3

Gongora, L. Exploring Creative Process via Improvisation and the Design method RePlay, DIS2011: Creativity and Innovation in Design, Conference Proceedings, SGCHI ACM Digital Library, Aarhus University, Copenhagen


Gongora, L., Dix. A. (2010) Brainstorming is a Bowl of Spaghetti: An In Depth Study of Collaborative Design Process and Creativity Methods with Experience Design Practitioners, The First International Conference on Design Creativity (ICDC 2010) Kobe, Japan.

5 Sawyer, K. (2007). Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. San Diego, Basic Books

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photo: Judywie /

Tools and Methods Service Design Related Techniques, Activities and Deliverables

How Stanislavsky Changed Medicare

Daniel Sobol is a design strategist at Continuum, a global design and innovation company. Daniel’s work focuses on service and experience design and has ranged from rural shop owners in China to health care in Mexico to new restaurant concepts. Daniel is an actor, director, playwright and dancer.

Yuhgo Yamaguchi is a senior service experience manager at Philips Healthcare. He focuses on designing innovative, home-based health care experiences for people of all ages throughout the world. He was previously a senior design strategist at Continuum, where he worked in a variety of industries.



In this article we introduce tablework, a tool originally developed by theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky. Tablework is a useful tool for identifying new opportunities for service design innovation. Service designers can use it to find patterns in seemingly disparate stories and experiences, without losing the emotional drivers that make contextual learning so valuable. Tablework is made up of four key elements. We will review how each element is used in theatre and how they can be used for service design today. We focus on how tablework helped us better understand the Medicare insurance experience, and we draw broader conclusions about how this tool can be used in a variety of industries and contexts. In 2011, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, the largest private provider of Medicare insurance in the United States, asked Continuum to help them better understand their members’ current experience. Medicare is health insurance for individuals 65 years and older in America. It is partially subsidised by the government, and beneficiaries have the option of enrolling in plans administered through private insurance companies. Our ultimate goal was to identify new opportunities for creating

consumer-focused innovations, but David Shapiro, vice president of Member Experience, knew UnitedHealthcare had to start by building empathy among its employees. To do this, they needed to understand the Medicare experience through their members’ eyes. We met Medicare members across the United States to better understand their experiences and interactions with Medicare insurance. They shared stories about emergency room visits, cancer scares, mammograms and prescription refills. While stories about unexplained

tools and methods

bills, frustrating calls with their insurance company, and sales agents who helped in a time of need aren’t necessarily the stuff of blockbuster movie plots, these stories were important for us to understand, because they were presented in the context of the members’ daily lives. After we completed in-depth interviews with more than 30 individuals, we had to find a way to help employees at UnitedHealthcare understand their members’ experience both specifically and generally. When we analysed members’ stories, we realised that we had effectively documented scripts of major health events in each person’s life, as if each story was one scene from the play of their life. So we asked ourselves, if we were directors or actors approaching a play, how would we analyse these stories overall, without losing the emotional detail? We turned to a technique called tablework. Originally developed by Russian theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky, it is used to identify key elements in a play or scene, based on the assumption that every human action is driven by an internal need. Many actors and directors begin rehearsals with a week of tablework. They read through the script to identify and articulate what each character wants, why they want it, and how they go about getting what they want. Understanding each character’s internal motivations helps actors understand how to play individual scenes, as well as the emotional arc of the entire play. We used this tool to analyse our research and to identify opportunities for innovation in the Medicare experience. Tablework helped us synthesise a wide breadth of information from consumers using a uniform and efficient process, connecting functional problems with people’s values to help us develop new ideas.


Tablework involves understanding four key components: 1. Objectives 2. Tactics 3. Obstacles 4. Enablers Understanding these four components helps us to identify what matters to people, why people take the actions they do, and what helps or prevents them from achieving their goals. Objective: What does this person want? What are they fighting for? What is their goal? Understanding a person’s objective in a particular situation helps us to understand the motivating forces behind a person’s behaviour. Once we understand a person’s objectives, we can identify opportunities to design services that help people achieve their objectives. For example, in the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf’s objective is to eat a nice big lunch. Tactic: What’s their strategy for achieving their goal? When we look at people’s experiences, we want to understand what tactics they currently use to help them achieve their goals. Sometimes, a person may use multiple tactics to achieve their objective. They might have tried one tactic, failed and then tried another. Or they might have used a multipronged approach to get what they want. The wolf uses deception to achieve his goal, but employs multiple tactics: first, he distracts Little Red Riding Hood and then he disguises himself as her grandmother. touchpoint 71

Obstacle: What’s getting in their way? What’s preventing them from achieving their goal? Obstacles prevent a person from achieving their objective. Obstacles can be internal or external forces, they can be concrete or abstract. When we design, we want to remove, avoid or help people overcome obstacles. We never want to be the obstacle or create one. The wolf’s obstacles include the grandmother, whom he eats, and the hunter, who rescues Little Red Riding Hood. Enablers: What’s helping them achieve their goal? Enablers are the opposite of obstacles: they help people achieve their goals. We want our service experiences to either be enablers or leverage consumers’ current enablers. The wolf’s enabler is Little Red Riding Hood’s innocence. OUR APPROACH AND OUTCOMES

Tablework helped us analyse and synthesise experiences that at first seemed too unique to compare – these were the very personal accounts of very private and frightening moments in people’s lives. Tablework enabled us to find patterns across their experiences. What objectives and tactics did they have in common? Did others encounter similar obstacles? This tool also highlighted key outliers that differentiated one person’s experience from that of the group. Finding outliers is critical to service design, because if one person had an extremely positive experience whereas everyone 72


“Analysing disparate stories using tablework”

else’s was negative, then we could examine what this person did differently, what tactics they used and which enablers they employed. We can learn from the elements of one person’s great service experience to help others have one just like it. In our project with UnitedHealthcare, a story we heard often involved unexpected, costly medical bills. Many people had a common objective: resolve the issue as quickly as possible to get the bill paid. Several people faced an obstacle of perception. They perceived the insurance company as an impenetrable monolith not worth fighting against. As a result, they just conceded and paid the bill even if they didn’t believe they should have. But one woman in this situation used fight as her tactic. She called the insurance company over and over, took meticulous notes each time and pursued the issue doggedly until her issue was resolved. Another woman had a good relationship with her insurance agent: her agent was her enabler. She called her agent for advice on how to handle the bill. Armed with this knowledge, she was able to swiftly resolve her issue when she called the insurance company herself.

tools and methods

By applying tablework techniques to these stories, we understood what people wanted, which tactics were successes or failures, and what helped or hindered people from achieving their goals. Tablework enabled us to glean key insights about how to design a better member experience. We synthesised our insights into one comprehensive member journey map that charts both the overall member experience and steps within different parts of the journey. The journey map is currently being used across UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare business to help its employees empathise with their members and create innovations that will improve the member experience. WHY TABLEWORK WORKS

Tablework is a very flexible tool. It can be used on any project to help service designers better understand the motivating forces behind people’s actions and their experiences with critical service elements. Our deep understanding of these experiences is a critical input for improving a service or designing a new one. • Tablework can help service designers find connections in disparate, individual experiences without sacrificing the emotional elements that make each experience meaningful. Surveys are great for ensuring data consistency so that we can easily find patterns, but they lack the emo-

The key components of tablework.

tional depth that service designers need to develop empathy and to inspire us to create new ideas for people. Tablework helps us find these patterns in the data without losing the emotional richness that ultimately inspires us to create new ideas that resonate with people. • Tablework is a tool primarily used for analysis, but it can help us to do better ethnographic research by ensuring that we understand the key elements of peoples’ experiences. We would not directly ask someone during research what tactic they used or what obstacle they faced: most people don’t have the objectivity to be able to answer these questions. It’s our job as designers to listen to people’s stories and to extract meaning from what we hear and observe. We can build interview guides using tablework that can act as checklists to ensure that we won’t complete an interview without deeply understanding a consumer’s goals, tactics, obstacles and enablers. • Tablework is industry-agnostic. We used it for a health care project, but it can also be used to better understand why certain demographic groups buy particular mutual funds, why grandparents don’t recycle and compost, or why moms text while driving. Each of these consumer behaviours are driven by goals, enacted through tactics and affected by barriers and enablers. Next time you’re wrestling with a lot of consumer information, trying to identify patterns and to understand why consumers do what they do, try using tablework to structure your data. We hope it brings a new perspective to how you design services to make their lives better.

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Photoboarding Exploring Service Interactions With Acting-out and Storyboarding

Dr. Remko van der Lugt is a specialist in the facilitation of co-design processes utilising generative tools and techniques.

Carolien Postma, MSc, is user researcher at AVG Technologies, specialising in user-centric innovation in the early stages of new product development.

Prof. dr. Pieter Jan Stappers carries out research and is an educator in the early phases of design, with an emphasis on context mapping and prototyping methods and tools.



In conceptualising services, the design team has to consider a complex set of related factors, including user experience, situation, infrastructure and person-to-person interactions. For this they need a shared language that crosses disciplinary boundaries and and avoids jargon. In the film industry, storyboards have performed this function of expressing and discussing visions for over half a century, and in interaction design, acting-out techniques have gained prominence as a means of developing such visions. To convey the essence of a new service, you typically have to tell a story about one or more people interacting with it over time, with the aid of certain technologies. The story addresses the experience of these people (‘Why do they like it?’), the situation where the service is used (home, work or public space) and the machinations behind the screens that make it all work. In designing services, these considerations require a multidisciplinary team to understand and discuss each other’s views, concerns and ideas. Storyboards have proved to be a great vehicle for communication in these matters. They depict situations, people and time in a storyline made of a sequence of images and words. Furthermore, they provide a canvas for adding specialist concerns and opportunities, such as user

needs, infrastructure requirements, unresolved questions and opportunities. The strength of storyboards in supporting team communication is that, like a movie, they tell a story in everyday, experiential language that the whole team understands,and – unlike a movie – they present all this in an overview that can be annotated. The viewer can step into the subjective experience and step back into the objective overview1. Storyboards emerged from the movie industry, where not only the director and cameraman use them to envisage and plan the movie, but also the actors, as well as those responsible for sets, props, costumes, casting and locations. Their advantages are clear: anyone can read and discuss them, and you can point at them in a group meeting. A barrier is that

tools and methods

Storyboards express the what, where, why, when, who, and how of ineractions and experiences

they require visualisation skills in depicting people and environments that are beyond those of most of the team. Acting-out techniques (such as play-acting and bodystorming) became popular in interaction design and experience design during the 1990s, as it became clearer that human interactions and experience are difficult to think about and discuss while sitting at a table, but are more easily conceived and expressed when physically performing the actions[2]. You can talk for hours about picking your mobile phone out of your pocket in a densely packed lift, but when standing together, squeezed in a small room, many abstract concerns become much more tangible (often quite literally tangible). Although many of us feel awkward when asked to act, an appropriate facilitator can usually put team members at ease and can bring them into the mood for play. The advantages of acting-out techniques are that they give direct access to factors such as time (‘How long is 20 seconds wait

in an lift?’), person-to-person interactions (‘Are they standing too close for comfort?’), and comfort (‘Can I do this sitting down?’). The disadvantage is that acting leaves no trace. Even if captured on video, looking at it again takes special effort. Moreover, many aspects that were in the play-actors minds are not explicit in the video (‘The room used for acting out the scenario is not a real elevator’). The photoboarding technique3 was developed at ID-StudioLab in the 1990s to form a bridge between storyboarding and acting-out techniques. With this technique, a group of actors (the design team themselves) conceive a storyline that conveys the essence of the product or service interaction touchpoint 75

Photoboard sequence about brother and sister fighting over the TV’s remote control, and father placing the control out of their reach

and act out a small series of scenes, which are photographed, printed, and further embellished with captions, drawn-in background elements and annotations. The technique forms a bridge between storyboarding and acting-out. It can be used as a quick way to produce a storyboard (without the need for advanced drawing techniques), and provides a practical motivation to encourage people to perform acting-out (as a means of producing documentation) and it introduces them to the development the concept design in the performance. The technique starts by forming a story that conveys the essence of the product or service for its users (in the scenario shown here, a group of people were tasked with selecting TV channels together). Once an initial idea is formed, they should move away from the table (to prevent endless talk), act out the interaction themselves and decide upon at most five images to convey the whole story. The five photos are shot using whatever furniture and backgrounds happen to be available to match the story and printed immediately, preferably in low-contrast black-and76


white, so that details of dress don’t catch your attention and so that it is easy to draw in background elements. Finally, captions are added to explain those things that are not apparent, and the resulting photoboard is given a title to start the viewer in the right direction. The resulting photoboard should be reviewed by the team (‘Is it correct?’), by volunteers unfamiliar with the technique (‘Is it clear?’), and should be improved where necessary. The discussions usually lead to new insights into the concept, which can be acted out again and worked into new iterations of the concept and into the photoboard. After the session, it may be worthwhile to work the photoboard into a storyboard for longer-term use, which may involve tracing over the people, adding more realistic backgrounds and giving it an appropriate aesthetic. We have applied the techniques for about a decade in design courses, conference workshops and projects in industry [4]. Photoboarding helps as a motivator to get the design team into acting: many people are hesitant to act out scenes, but they see the advantage

of posing to create the basis of a storyboard. On the other hand, you should watch out for pitfalls. Some people lose themselves in aesthetics or a striving for completeness. It pays off to be strict about having only five pictures in the story (at least to start off with), and to avoid elaborate explorations of camera angles (using Photobooth on a Macbook worked marvellously, because all the actors could see what the image would be like and nobody wasted their time on finding a dramatic camera angle). In photoboarding, you don’t zoom the camera, you cut the print-out with a pair of scissors. When applying photoboarding in practice, keep in mind how the results will be shared and how the technique is explained to the participants. Producing

the results on paper posters works best during a workshop, but you may want to capture the final results in Powerpoint for sharing it with the team. Also, especially in practice, make sure that the participants recognise the value of the acting (after it's finished): if they don’t realise how the concepts have developed during the acting-out, spending a few hours on ‘just making five photos’ may seem like an exorbitant investment of time. When introduced correctly, photoboarding is an easily-learned, inexpensive and quick technique that can serve as a start for design teams to bring both acting-out and storyboarding into their design process.

References 1 van der Lelie, C. (2006) The value of storyboards in the product design process. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 10(1), 159-162. 2 Boess, S., Saakes, D. & Hummels, C. (2007) When is role playing really experiential? Case studies. In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction, 279-282. 3 Saakes, D.P. & Keller, A.I. (2005) Beam me down Scotty: to the virtual and back! In Proceedings of Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, 482-483. 4 Stappers, P.J., Sleeswijk Visser, F., & van der Lelie, C. (2011) Storyboarding for Designers and Design Researchers. Course at the ACM Conference for Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) 2011, May 7-12, Vancouver, Canada.

“Complete photoboards carry a title, captions, annotations, and drawings to guide the viewer (result of student exercise) touchpoint 77

Bringing Ideas to Life A Typology for Prototyping Services

Katrin Dribbisch works as a research associate at the Social Science Research Center Berlin. Manuel GroĂ&#x;mann is Senior Service Designer at Fjord, Berlin. Martin Jordan is a senior user experience designer at Nokia. Olga Scupin studied business and European media studies and is an alumna of the HPI School of Design Thinking. The authors co-founded Service Design Berlin.

Successful services are rarely the result of a spark of genius. Before a service reaches its final state, it undergoes various iteration cycles. The iterations are often achieved through prototyping. Rough-and-ready prototyping minimises development costs. Moreover, prototypes can identify problems at an early stage and help to continuously redefine concepts. This article looks at different dimensions of prototyping and suggests that prototyping is valuable beyond just communicating an idea. It gives an overview of prototyping methods for the service design field and analyses their strengths and weaknesses. A prototype has three potential audiences: designers, clients and users. On the client side, this includes partners as well as suppliers. Depending on each stakeholder, the prototype serves different purposes. In the following section, the different dimensions of prototyping are discussed and complemented with relevant prototyping methods. CREATING A COMMON UNDERSTANDING AMONGST CO-DESIGNERS

One aspect of prototyping is helping to materialise thoughts. Service ideas can consist of rather abstract components such as business models, interaction paradigms or a communication strategy. When team members only discuss these 78


verbally, it is often unclear whether they share the same understanding of the overall concept. When the components are turned into something specific, such as a sketch or a physical model, it is much easier to determine this. Therefore, prototyping helps to synchronise the team. Any service concept should be visualised early on in the design process. This can be done through concept models, for example. A concept model visually describes the dependencies and relationships between service components. Another way of communicating a service concept is role-play. During role-play, co-designers act out the entire experience, including the various personas and their relationships. This creates an understanding of what a ser-

tools and methods

vice feels like. Even though roleplaying can be used throughout the entire design process including the final presentation, they are a very valuable tool at the beginning of the design process. Both concept models and role-playing can help to create a common understanding of how a service works, early in the design process. COMMUNICATING AN IDEA TO CLIENTS AND CO-DESIGNERS

A key function of prototypes is to communicate a concept or process in its early development stage. Prototyping triggers feedback and thus helps to answer questions about a product or service. Because they are both visible and tangible, prototypes not only communicate an idea at its current development stage, but also encourage active participation of users and clients. Prototypes open up a conversation between all stakeholders involved. By telling a narrative of what will be experienced by the end user, a prototype can illustrate the experience, the entry points to a service and parts of the service lifecycle. For this reason, scenarios in the form of a quick sketch or brief stop-motion videos are good examples for prototypes as a communication tool. A scenario allows empathy and offers a quick understanding of the envisioned situation. Because of its rough and unfinished state, it encourages feedback and thus enables further improvements. Multiple versions of the scenario can be quickly produced and show different features and directions. TESTING IDEAS WITH USERS

One of the most common application areas of prototypes is user testing. The involvement of real users from the

earliest stage in the design process is essential in allowing feedback and in ensuring a user-centred perspective. Following the ‘fail early, fail often, fail cheap’ concept means testing unfinished ideas instead of launching user tests after weeks or months of work. Sometimes the least-mature, low-fi-prototypes, quickly built from office supplies, provoke the most valuable feedback. This is because there is no complex detail to distract from the matter of interest and also because a user confronted with a rough prototype feels more comfortable with actively contributing to it and tweaking it. Unlike high fidelity prototypes, basic ones allow in situ adjustment and consecutive feedback from the same users after an instant iteration. User tests with experience prototypes allow designers to confirm or refute their assumptions, before too much time is spent on polishing. The test subject is forced to articulate their opinion towards the service concept. Any reaction to the prototype is significant – even a reluctance to engage with it. A combination of pure observations, collected think-aloud statements or answers to open questions help to gain insights. Prototypes are crucial to identifying pain points that no one has thought of before and to checking the feasibility of a product or service in time. CO-DESIGNING WITH CLIENTS, USERS AND FELLOW DESIGNERS

Prototyping also has an interactive dimension in motivating fellow designers, clients and users to offer feedback. Interactive prototyping means incorporating feedback in a direct way. It involves clients and users touchpoint 79

Designers presenting their service as a roleplay

in co-creating and co-designing solutions. Active participation during the design process can also make later presentations with clients run more smoothly, because they have been involved at earlier stages of solution-finding and the evaluation of ideas. It is important to choose prototyping methods that encourage participation, especially when clients and users are brought into the design process. One of these methods involves physical models that can be built out of LEGO blocks or the like. LEGO figures and modules are flexible and easily adaptable. What is more, they are familiar and immediately invite participation. But LEGO should not be underestimated: it can be used to visualise personas and to bring scenarios to life that can later be photographed and videotaped for client presentations and deliverables. As another means of co-designing, spatial interaction allows scaling and real-life testing of service concepts. In a life-sized setting with simple building blocks (Made out of cardboard, for example), users can feel and experience a service more directly with their own bodies. By moving around in a given space and experiencing the current design, spatial interaction helps to evaluate and improve current solutions. Repositioning building blocks 80


Below: A physical setting prototyped with LEGO and drawings, an example of an interface paper-prototyped with post-its

tools and methods

and one’s own body is easy and feels natural – the act of improvement is often not even noticed. THE SOCIAL DIMENSION OF PROTOTYPING

There is a social and emotional aspect to prototypes. They can serve as icebreakers on a social level when it comes to interaction with clients, users and designers. Since all types of experiencing and exploring involve emotions, prototypes can function as a social connector and help to communicate on an emotional level. This can be the case within a design team, as well as with clients and potential users. Experiencing a prototype together creates common ground and a sense of belonging. CONCLUSION: AN OVERVIEW OF PROTOTYPING DIMENSIONS AND METHODS

This article has discussed different dimensions of prototyping. In most design projects, the focus is laid on communicating and testing an idea. However, there are less obvious dimensions of prototyping: it can

creating a common understanding roleplay

direct and non-verbal communication

spatial interaction / experience prototype

serve as a communication and reflection tool within a design team, and also as a means of co-designing. Understanding the different audiences of a prototype – designers, clients and users – sheds light on how to use a prototype at each stage. Additionally, prototyping changes as the design process progresses. At the beginning, low-profile, rough prototypes help to clarify features, prove the concept and create a common understanding. Later on, more elaborate prototypes can be used for testing and defining the outer appearances and experience. Different prototyping methods can be employed at various points in the process, some are more effective at engaging users and clients, others work better to establish a common ground in a design team. The overview below specifies prototyping methods for service design and shows their strengths and weaknesses. Although this article cannot give a full account, the matrix is a starting point for further reflection of when and for what purpose different prototyping methods can be employed.

presenting ideas

evaluation based on the real experience

visualizes mental modells

provides a good overview

low-fi-prototypes (e.g. paper prototypes)

quick to build, allows instant iteration

tangible, yet possibly too abstract for non-team members

physical prototypes quick and easy communication


user testing too immersive and intrusive for outsiders

quick and easy communication

concept model

scenario (e.g. storyboard)

enables ad-hoc iterations

provides a realistic experience

not tangible enough highly accessible for non-designers on client-side or users

easy to build and to iterate, allows various test cycles

low barriers, playfulness encourages input

testing specific features

summarising complex service ideas and use cases

The ‘Bringing Ideas to Life Matrix’ touchpoint 81

“Service Design and Theatre Is Exactly the Same Thing” With the topic of this Touchpoint issue in mind, I met Adam Lawrence and Markus Hormeß of WorkPlayExperience to discuss the connection of service design and theater and to find out more about their unique approach. Markus Hormeß and Adam Lawrence lead WorkPlayExperience, a service innovation consultancy with a uniquely theatrical approach. With a joint resumé that includes process design, rock musicals, psychology, theoretical physics, product development and stand-up comedy, their mission is to help companies “...put the rock and roll into their services.”

Miriam Becker studied integrated Design at KISD, Germany and Visual Communication at PolyU, Hong Kong. As projekt manager at Service Design Network she is responsible for the Journal ‘Touchpoint’ and the Newsletter ‘Insider’.



Miriam: You come from a background of natural sciences, Markus and you, Adam, come from a background of acting, right? Adam: It's a bit more complicated: I am a scientist too, originally. A zoologist and a psychologist. Then I worked in marketing and product development. And Markus also has a pretty colourful resumé. Markus: I started off at university with theoretical physics and then moved over to the dark side of business consulting. (Adam: Darth Vader breathing) Markus: Yeah. So I have been involved with knowledge- and innovation management and consulting ever since university. Did you meet in that area or in theatre? Adam: We actually met on stage. I was director of a musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, some years ago. And my band exploded and my assistant director knew a guy who she phoned up and she said: we need a band. And he hadn't got a band, so he built a band. Markus: Yes, I had two days to form the band and then one week of rehearsals

before opening night, which was a tough time scale, but I loved it. Adam: And he did a fantastic job and since then we have been working together. How did you come to acting or to theatre then, Markus? Markus: I am a musician so, ever since school, I have been in bands, and that's where we met. I have been doing theatre slash music slash musical productions a lot of that time. And then you were so excited about each other that you decided to join forces forever? Adam: Markus went to Scotland but we kept in contact. After that, we started various projects in a mediaeval club and we organised events together. We also ran a Jazz festival for eight years and various other bits and pieces. That was the start. It came out of theatre and it was always about human experiences. That was the common thread. Markus: We always kept talking about what we do in our day jobs. I did a lot of


process consulting – improvement of heavily technological services inside companies and the toolset that was used in there wasn't quite up to the job. Then, at some point, I stumbled across the service design field. Its toolset was quite young, but I instantly saw the value of it for my daily practice. So we started talking about it. Adam reached the same point from a completely different angle. Adam: Yeah, I was already looking at where I found theatre in business and I was running a blog about that. Some of the people who were responding to my blog and were suggesting further reading came from the experience and service design field. That’s how I discovered it. So it just happened naturally that both of you turned towards service design? Adam: Yes. And it was already something that we got angry about. We got angry about bad customer experiences and ‘Why do they do it like that?’ We believed there must be a better way. And then we found there actually is a way to do this, there are actually people doing it in another way and they are a cool bunch of people. Markus: And then we realised that there were these three things coming together: the service design, the process consulting and the theatre work. These bits and pieces were at the table when we started talking about our experiences. And we recognised that the language of theatre actually is a perfect way to talk about all this business stuff, without having people learn new words. Especially in a co-creative environment like service design or process design, you get people in for just one or two workshops and you can't always explain to them: what is a customer journey? What is a persona? What is XYZ? Otherwise, you would just be teaching them all the time. You want to get them involved at a low cost

Adam and Markus in action at the service design conference in Cologne, Germany

In the ection Profile s nt e differe c u d we intro es from the ti li persona design. service world of ld you like to u Who wo et us know: ?L see here rvice-designse journal@ netw

so they can share their knowledge. The theatre language provided that tool. Adam: Everyone knows what a script is, everyone knows what a role is, everyone knows what a prop is and what staging is these words you understand. So you can get straight into working without having to teach people language first.

Do you see any connections between service design and theatre? Adam: I think it's the same thing. Other people use it as a metaphor, I don't. I think it's exactly the same thing. What is show business, what is service design? I am doing show business whether I am a singer, a songwriter, a theatre maker, a film maker or a game designer. All these people are trying to set up a process to give people a series of impressions – or touchpoint 83

experiences, if you like – which, at the end, give them a good feeling. That's what a song is, that's what theatre is and that's what service design should be. And, of course, it goes back into process design but so does film-making, so does theatre. We don’t see all of a theatre, we only see what is on stage. We see the head of a caterpillar, but behind that there is a big, big apparatus. A theatre with thirty actors might have 500 people backstage. And they are working away to make this happen. Do you think service design could still learn something from theatre? Adam: I think they can both learn from each other. Absolutely, yes I do. One of the things that we found by using our theatrical tools is they certainly make it easier to empathise and get emotional about a topic. Service design already does pretty well, much better than most business tools. But we think we can go further using theatrical tools. There are other things that I don't think service design addresses very well yet at all like dramatic arcs and timing. That’s a big thing. If a film is badly cut, it's a bad film. The same film, better cut, can be rock'n roll. So where is that in service design? Where is the timing? What do you miss in service design, Markus? Markus: We should strive for being more open for other disciplines that have already been where we are now: we have a co-creative process, we want to change things and companies. There are people out there who have faced all the challenges that are connected to services before and they have solved some of the problems already: people that were involved in change, people in consultancies. We can learn from them how to work with clients, how to handle the process and how to actually get these ideas implemented. Adam: Another thing that we discover a lot when designing services, using our weird tool set, is that there is an awful lot that happens between the process design and the experience that the customer has. Whether it’s an internal service or an external service doesn't matter. There is a big human factor, because humans are doing this. I did a nice workshop in San Francisco where we were looking at a hairdressing 84


a service designer's toolkit

experience. And we got down to how much difference it made whether the guy greeting you at the door had his right foot 40cm from the door or 60cm from the door; whether he turned in at 30 degrees or not. One of them felt like a greeting and one of them felt like a bouncer keeping you out of the shop. Where is that in the service design process? You cannot specify these details. You can't say “Stand 45,70 cm from the door”. That would be ridiculous; that would be Big Brother. So what this means is: in service design you need to leave the people room to interpret the service. Just like it’s on stage. I, as an actor, have a script and it's up to me to interpret this script. It's an interpretive art. And I would do it different from how you would do it or how Markus would do it. You have to remember that service design is about a human being making it real - unless it’s a purely online service, and even there humans are involved. They need to have space to be human beings. And to improvise. Markus: Yes, along certain guidelines. Adam: Yeah, give them some help, give them some guidelines and let them be themselves. And give them a chance to practice it as well: when does that happen? Markus: Look at a really good theatre script like Romeo and Juliet. In the wrong hands you can slaughter the whole thing easily. Some productions I saw were really bad. Adam: ... some school productions (ahem)... Markus: But then there are lots of movies with different approaches to the whole thing. They didn't change a word. But you have a really good Zeffirelli* version


from 1968 which is really traditional – men in tights – it’s fabulous. And then there is the very colourful, very loud, every-song-a-finale version by Baz Luhrmann** where it’s South America, MTV style. Really, it goes to 11. But it’s the same script. So the question is: do you allow your people to interpret your service design in their way? Where is the limit? What kind of guidelines can you give them? Adam: Do you give them a script or a mood sheet? What tools are you using? Which projects are you working on at the moment? Adam: We are continuing a reasonably long project that we have been running for a couple of years with a large Swiss telecommunications company, where we are helping them to re-think their internal education services and change their whole thrust and emphasis on how they educate inside the company. It's been really exciting and very experiential and they’ve been great to work with. What else? Markus: JamJam? Jam? Adam: Yeah. Markus: After the second Global Service Jam and a couple of other Jams coming up, the demand for that is growing. We are now trying to build a platform. It’s not quite clear which platform it's going to be. We cannot really talk about it right now, but there is going to be something more suitable to the community. Adam: We try to help people to more use jamming energy and tools in their work. How does a typical working day look at Work Play Experience? Is there a typical working day? Adam and Markus: No. (laughter) Markus: Basically, I get put in a sack and Adam kicks it … Cut that! Adam: We are quite atypical. We nearly always work at our customer's location. We are totally co-creative in that way. Or we work in the train or in the hotel because we move around so much. So a typical working day is us getting on a plane very early in the morning or waking up in a hotel, going to a client and ‘leaping and screaming’ all day and then we go somewhere else for the next day. But we laugh a lot and we have chickens. That makes it easy.

What advice would you give an up-and-coming service designer? Adam: You should learn to speak Six Sigma. Seriously, you should understand more about business. This is a business field, not just a design field. And I know that’s scary but it's not hard. There are human beings doing business as well, they might wear suits but they are not scary. And visit an improv-class as well, to get more in touch with the emotional and the human side of service design. Get away from the traditional design skills happening on paper or on camera. Get more into the business skills, the physical skills and more into the human skills. To widen your skill set could be really good. It's the T-shaped person approach. Markus: And I think in the whole process it’s a lot more about facilitation than it’s about design. You need to be the facilitator of the process, which is a completely different role. You are not a quiet person that takes stuff in and produces great stuff. I mean, you can be a quiet person but you have to lead groups of people and you need to be able to direct them, so that they can actually create a fabulous outcome. You are the facilitator and sometimes you have to be the ‘difficultator’. And it takes the whole range from, as Adam said, the back stage to the front stage. Adam: One last comparison that’s useful: a theatre director is not usually an actor. He can’t act. And, in the same way, you should remember that the people whom we are designing for know a lot more about their business than we do. And it's very easy to forget that, when you are being brought in as a quite well-paid consultant or designer, you think: ‘I have the wisdom you do what I say.’ But these guys who are working on the front line 37 1/2 hours a week, they know their business backwards. So sometimes a bit of humility is good as well. Like: ‘I got some good questions and some good examples for you, but you guys have to re-design your business and I can facilitate this.’

Editor's notes * Franco Zeffirelli is an Italian film and opera director and producer. For his 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet he was nominated for an Academy Award. ** The Australian film director, screenwriter, and producer Baz Luhrmann is also known for his films Strictly Ballroom and Moulin Rouge.

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dos & don’ts service design

share your service experiences The ‘Dos and Don’ts’ page in Touchpoint is a special feature that provides space for our readers to publish their pictures and experiences from the world of services. Make use of this opportunity and share service flaws or outstanding service successes with an international audience!

the assignment If you would like to see your story published here, please send in a photo, together with a few lines describing

Multi-Faith Chapel The multi-faith room at Gatwick Airport in London is dedicated to provide religious facilities in an environment of pluralism and respect. It is open for everyone. People of all

faiths, traditions and cultures are welcome to explore this space. I do not consider myself a religious person at all, but there is also space for people of no faith to spend a quiet moment.

the situation depicted illustrating your personal service design highlights (or lowlights) to: The Service Design Network office sifts through the all stories that you send us and chooses

Salome Santamaria, Milano, Italy

three to four examples for publication in each issue.

I See You – In the Loo Lately, I've noticed that more and more hotels are putting the emphasis on transparency in bathroom design. Showers have often moved completely out of the bathroom area and into the main room, where protection against water splashes is provided either by glass cubicles or by walls made of high-quality stonework or ashlar. These are interesting approaches to 86


interior design that can create a 'wow' effect and positively surprise the guests. Certainly, such hotels work on the assumption that the people sharing a room have nothing to hide. When it comes to toilets though, I would think that this attitude might not be so widely accepted. Some months ago, I visited my mum and her boyfriend who were, at that time, staying in a so-called 'design hotel' in Southern Germany. As it was getting

urgent, I asked to use their toilet and was confronted with the most loo transparency I have ever experienced: not only did the glass separating wall give a full view into the interior of the bathroom, the giant gap underneath the glass door also provided no acoustic isolation from what was going on inside. For me, this definitely negatively influences the service experience. Barbara Weber, Cologne, Germany

buy touchpoint online!

ro o. 1 | 12,80 eu volume 4 | n

May 2012

Service Design Touchpoint, the SDN d in May 2009 and Journal, was launche service design is the first journal on focusses on one worldwide. Each issue ws and trends, topic and features ne discussions and interviews, insightful s of Touchpoint case studies. All issue SDN website both are available on the d ebook. To as printed version an s or an annual ue purchase single iss issues per year suscription of three p-touchpoint visit

Eat, Sleep, Play Design Principles Sustainably

for Eating


By Michelle McCun

Hospitality Service and Art

as Science

By Kipum Lee

r Airlines:

. Porte Reinventing Flight a Case Study By Christopher Wright

and Jennifer Young

volume 3 | no. 1 | 12,80 euro

volume 3 | no. 2 | 12,80 euro

volume 3 | no. 3 | 12,80 euro

May 2011

September 2011

January 2012

Organisational Change

Learning, Changing, Growing •

Being Led or Finding the Way?

Mary Cook and Joseph Harrington

From Sketchbook to Spreadsheet

Overcoming the ‘Monkeysphere’ Challenge

Service Design Creates Breakthrough Cultural Change in the Brazilian Financial Industry

Jesse Grimes and Mark Alexander Fonds

Better Services for the People Sylvia Harris and Chelsea Mauldin

Innovating in Health Care – an Environment Adverse to Change

By Tennyson Pinheiro, Luis Alt and Jose Mello

Francesca Dickson, Emily Friedman, Lorna Ross

Service Transformation: Service Design on Steroids

Learning the Language of Finance Gives Your Ideas the Best Chance of Success

Using Service Design Education to Design University Services Jürgen Faust

By Jürgen Tanghe

Melvin Brand Flu

Designing Human Rights By Zack Brisson and Panthea Lee

01 01

volume 2 | no. 1 | 12,80 euro

volume 2 | no. 2 | 12,80 euro

ay 2010

September 2010

Touchpoint the journal of


volume 2 | no. 3 | 12,80 euro


Business Impact of Service Design

e ice esi n and Be a io a an e • Designing

otivation or otivating design? ploring Service Design otivation and ehavioural change

Service Design – The Bottom Line

How Human Is Your Business?

Connecting the Dots •

Service Design as Business Change Agent


Service Design at a Crossroads

Mark Hartevelt and Hugo Raaijmakers

Lavrans Løvlie and Ben Reason

ergus Bisset and Dan ockton

Lauren Currie and Sarah Drummond

Steve Lee

• Design and

ehaviour in co ple B2B service engage ents

Ben Shaw and Melissa efkin

harging p: energy usage in households around the world

Stuck in a Price War? Use Service Design to Change the Game in B2B Relations.

Lucy Kimbell

Lotte Christiansen, Rikke B E Knutzen, Søren Bolvig Poulsen

eke van Di k

to uc hpo int | t h e jo urna l o f s ervi ce d es i gn

service design network


volume 1 | no. 1

April 2009


First Issue

the journal of service design

volume 1 | no. 2 | 12,80 euro

October 2009

Touchpoint the journal of service design

Health and Service Design •

Dutch Design: Time for a New Definition

Beyond Basics • Make yourself useful Joe Heapy

A healthy relationship Lavrans Løvlie, Ben Reason, Mark Mugglestone and John-Arne Røttingen

• Do you really need that iPhone


Marcel Zwiers

Mark Jones

Designing from within

Revealing experiences

Great expectations: The healthcare journey

Julia Schaeper, Lynne Maher and Helen Baxter

Design’s Odd Couple

• Service Design 2020: What does

Fran Samalionis and James Moed

January 2010

the journal of service design

What is Service Design? •

volume 1 | no. 3 | 12,80 euro


the future hold and (how) can we shape it?

Christine Janae-Leoniak

Service Design: From Products to People Lavrans Løvlie

Bruce S. Tether and Ileana Stigliani

Gianna Marzilli Ericson

service design network

to uc hpo int | t he jo urn a l o f s ervi ce d es i gn


service design network

to u c hp o i n t | the jo u r na l o f s erv i c e des i g n


service design network

to u c hp o i n t | the jo u r na l o f s erv i c e des i g n


O rder online at


SDN UK Launches

Service design is an established practice within the UK, with some great companies blazing the trail. With the rise of service and experience as key differentiators for UK businesses, the discipline is rapidly increasing its profile in private and public sectors. And for consumerfocused organisations it’s fast becoming a great opportunity. the sdn uk representatives

Sarah Ronald is Managing Director at Nile -Experience & Service Design

Phil Goad, Innovation and Service Design Director at FACE

ChrisRoss Timms, tina Kinnear, Wilson Fletcher Glasgow School of Art



David Singh, Service Design Director, Royal London

Neil Collman, Principal Experience Designer at Nile

We have established the UK network to enable people working in multiple disciplines and multiple sectors to connect, share knowledge and collaborate in the field of service design. The UK chapter was founded in January 2012 by Sarah Ronald, after gaining agreement from the Global SDN committee. Sarah then, together with Philip Goad, brought the founding committee together to establish a ‘formal’ voice for Service Design. The founding group is David Singh (Royal London), Ross Timms (WilsonFletcher), Christina Kinnear (The Glasgow School of Art) and Neil Collman (Nile) who are all members of the global network. Each of the founding members are active and passionate in the field of service design, and have a strong desire to connect people working across research, design, brand strategy, communications and innovation. We believe that individually these disciplines are unable to solve the complex challenges that organisations face today. The current evolution of the field of service design is well placed to develop more holistic and customercentric solutions. Our mission is to get this message out to the wider business community, NGOs and public sector organisations by creating SDN_UK as a formal community.

touchpoint ebooks

touchpoint vol. 4 no. 1 "eat, sleep, play" is now available as ebook! In addition to the printed version, you can read all issues of Touchpoint on your e-reader and on your computer. Enjoy the easy and fast access to leading-edge knowledge on service design and download the e-books at amazon!

The group has physical representation in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. We will encourage and help facilitate events across the UK, as the membership and support network grows. If you are passionate about service design, would like to join the discussion, or simply meet people in the community, simply: • Join the Service Design UK LinkedIn Group • Follow us on twitter SDN_UK

By Phil Goad and Sarah Ronald

d A r u o Place Y t n i o p ch in Tou Do you want to make your institution or company known throughout the world of services? Do you want to grab the interest of future students, employees or customers? Then seize the chance and advertise in Touchpoint – the first and only international service design magazine! We habe set up interesting new advertising packages including free copies of the journal. Members of SDN will enjoy special discounts! Download the Mediasheets here:

member map service design network Australia BT Financial Group, Sydney Georges Klopotowsk, Sydney Huddle Design, VIC Melbourne Meld Studios, Stanmore Proto Partners, Sydney The Hiser Group, Melbourne Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Symplicit, Melbourne University of Canberra, Bruce Austria C Plus, Vienna DTF Business Development, Vienna GP designpartners, Vienna IITF - Institut für Innovations- und Trendforschung, Graz Isabelle Goller, Wien ISN - Innovation Service Network, Graz Katharina Ehrenmüller, Wien MCI Management Center Innsbruck, Innsbruck Mobilkom Austria, Vienna tourismusdesign, Tulln an der Donau Brazil Driven Design Intelligence, Belo Horizonte Erico Fernandes Fileno, Curitiba, Brasilia UFRJ/COPPE- Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - DESIS group, Rio de Janeiro UFSC, Santa Catarina Belgium Annita Beysen, Heverlee CIC, Yvoir Kite Consultants, Waarschoot Originn, Brussels Namahn, Brussels Yellow Window, Antwerpen Canada Ascent Group, Vancouver Cooler Solutions, Toronto lvl studio, Montreal YuCentrik Inc., Montréal Chile Felipe Montegu, Santiago, las condes Procorp, Metropolitana China Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing Guangzhou Acadamie of Fine Art, Guangzhou Jiangnan University, Wuxi School of Software and Microelectronics, Peking University, Beijing TUSD Tsinghua University, Beijing Colombia Los Andes University, Bogota Denmark Aalborg University - School of Architecture and Design, Aalborg Anette Hiltunen,Sonderborg Bharath Bhushan Chivukula, Copenhagen Implement Consulting Group, Hørsholm Innovation Center Copenhagen, Copenhagen Katrine Ofenstein, Aalborg MAN Diesel & Turbo, Frederikshavn Morten Skovvang, Copenhagen Nicholas Jary, Copenhagen 90


Estonia Brand Manual, Tallinn University of Tartu, Pärnu College, Pärnu France Attoma, Paris Axance, Paris DESIGN FOR YOU, Bordeaux Ingersoll Rand, Angers NDS Technologies France, Issy-Les-Moulineaux NEKOE, Orleans Orange-ftpgroup, Paris Pedro Hernandez,Malakoff Uinfoshare, Paris USER STUDIO, Paris, Paris VEEB DESIGN, Rhone Finland Culminatum Ltd, Espoo Diagonal Mental Structure, Helsinki e21 Solutions Oy, Helsinki Grey Direct & Digital, Helsinki Invest in Finland, Helsinki Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä Kuopio University of Design, Kuopio Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Lahti Laurea University of Applied Sciences , Espoo Palmu Inc., Helsinki Yatta Corporation Ltd., Helsinki Germany Audrey Liehn, Berlin Caspar Siebel, Munich Christian Vatter, Berlin Christoph Thomas Merdes, Munich Fjord, Berlin gravity, Munich Hoffmann Consulting, Hamburg Ines Karger, Seeon IxDS - Interaction Design Studios, Berlin Jan Schmiedgen, Berlin Jenny Bauschmid, München Katrin Schöps, Kölleda Kelly Vormelker, Cologne Kiae Seong, Ulm KIT - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe Köln International School of Design, Cologne Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Design, Munich Marius Möhler, Heidelberg MetaDesign, Berlin Michael Wend, München Milena Romero, Fellbach Mitra Khazaei, Wuppertal NavigationLab Innovationsberatung, Nümbrecht Norbert Riedelsheimer, Berlin Petra Neumann, Köln Sinnerschrader, Hamburg service works, Cologne Southwalk., Rheine StrategicPlay, Hamburg Sturm & Drang, Hamburg Tieto Deutschland, Eschborn T-Labs, Berlin Volkswagen, Wolfsburg Whitespring, Munich Work•Play•Experience, Schwaig ZBW - Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Kiel

Ireland Centre for Design Innovation - Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo Japan Keio University, Tokyo Takuya Akashi, Tokyo Korea Creative Design Institute, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon CYPHICS, Seoul design BNR Co. Ltd., Seoul Handong Global University, Pohang Hansung University, Seoul Hyun Kim, Seoul i-CLUE DESIGN, Seoul KAIST Information-based Design Research Group, Daejeon Kaywon School of Art and Design, Gyeonggi-do Korean German Institute of Technology, Seoul Kyung-jin Hwang, Seoul NCsoft Corporation, Seoul, Seoul Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Suwon-si SK Telecom, Seoul teaminterface, Seoul THE DNA, Seoul Vinyl C, Seoul Yonsei University, Seoul Xener Systems, Seoul Israel Whiteboard, Bnei Brak Italy Experientia, Torino Domus Academy, Milano Politecnico di Milano - Facoltá del Design, Milano

Informaat, Baarn Media Catalyst, Amsterdam Miriam Reitenbach, Amsterdam MOC consultants, Breda Océ-Technologies B.V., Venlo Philips Research, Eindhoven Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam Service Science Factory, Maastricht T+Huis, Eindhoven The Other Side Of The Moon, Amsterdam Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht zilver innovation bv, Rotterdam Turkey Altis SMMM ve Danismanlik, Kavacik Beykoz / Istanbul

Luxembourg integratedPlace, Luxembourg Mexico Afirme Financial Group, San Pedro Garza Garcia Federico Hernandez-Ruiz, Queretaro insitum, Mexico City Julieta Bueno Valerio, Mexico City New Zealand DNA, Wellington Ministry of Justice New Zealand, Wellington Nigeria House of Logic, Lagos Intels Nigeria Ltd., Port Harcourt Norway AHO University, Oslo Dennis Heltne Hou,Bergen Designit, Oslo Itera ASA, Oslo Making Waves, Oslo Poland Monika Tomczyk, Szczecin Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu, Poznan Portugal André Tiago Gouveia, Seixal Liliana Dias, Oeiras Mafalda Moreiro, Lisboa Maria Fontes Azevedo Coutinho, Lisbon University of Madeira – Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal Slovenia Gorenje design studio d.o.o., Velenje

Spain Alvaro Aigneren Frodden, Valencia FunkyProjects, Bilbao Mormedi, Madrid Sweden Bisnode AB, Stockholm Business & Design Lab University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Daytona, Stockholm Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg Ergonomidesign, Bromma Design Västerbotten, Umeå Doberman, Stockholm Linköping University, Linköping Semcon Caran AB, Gothenburg Transformator, Stockholm Switzerland customfuture SA, Baar Dimando AG, Zurich Luzern Universtiy of Applied Sciences and Arts, Luzern Patricia Hegglin, Wohlen Sketchin Sagl, Manno Stefano Michele Vannotti, Zurich Stimmt, Zurich Taiwan Chili Consulting Corp., Taipei Institute for Information Industry, Taipei Service Science Society of Taiwan, Hsinchu City Taiwan Design Center, Taipei The Netherlands Delft University of Technology , Delft Dr. Kominski's Social Service Design, Amsterdam Edenspiekermann, Amsterdam

United Kingdom Anna Rzepczynski, Dundee Capita, London Christina Kinnear, Glasgow Cranfield University, Centre for Creative Competitive Design (C4D), Bedfordshire Design London | Imperial College Business School, London Design Wales, Cardiff Elaine Finn, St Albans Engine, London Eurostar Group Ltd, London Flywheel Ltd, Beaconsfield Hyojin Kim, London IDEO, London Jamie Power, Waterford Kate Dowling, Edinburgh live|work, London Markus Hohl, Twickenham Marshall Sitten, Livingston Naked Eye Research, London NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, Warwick Nile, Edinburgh Prospect , London Rocca Creative Thinking Limited, Sheffield Seren Partners, London Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Simon Field, Cardiff STBY, London University of Dundee, Dundee Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, Crawley USA Adaptive Path, San Francisco Alice Cha, Menlo Park Bernadette Anne Geuy, Emeryville Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburg Continuum, West Newton Essential, Boston facebook, Palo Alto Genentech, Inc, San Francisco Info Retail, Atlanta John Huston Rahmes, Brooklyn Kristina Tool, Surf City Kristine Angel, Chicago Lindsay Vetell, Savannah Lopez Negrete Communications Inc., Houston LUMA Institute, Pittsburgh Mc Donald´s Corporation, Oak Broo Michael Sedelmeyer, Cambridge Moment, New York Parsons The New School for Design, New York Rick Otero, New York RKS Design, Thousand Oaks SCAD University, Savannah Skyworks Solutions Inc., Woburn Steelcase Inc., Grand Rapids The Service Design Group, Chapel Hill THE MEME, Cambridge THRIVE, Atlanta

touchpoint 91

THE SDN SERVICE DESIGN CONFERENCES! This year's global Service Design Conference will take place in Paris. Under the topic Cultural change by design we will be investigating how positive economic, social and cultural change can be assisted with the use of design. We will be looking at how service design promotes successful inter- and transdisciplinary projects and how it can transform internal working cultures. Find out more here:



Photo: Tube /

OCTOBER 28 – 30, 2012

About Service Design Network The Service Design Network is a forum for practitioners and academics to advance the field of service design. Our purpose is to develop and strengthen the knowledge and expertise in the science and practise of innovation. Service Design Network Office | Ubierring 40 | 50678 Cologne | Germany |