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January 24, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

More on health care service innovation & design thinking

Why is service design important?

According to one IBM report, today more than 70 percent of the U.S. labor force is engaged in service delivery. New technology has enabled internationally tradable services. We are at a tipping point. A huge portion of the economy is now focused on knowledge-based information services. I believe that as we shift to this service-centered society, it won’t be good enough to view services from a purely management or operations-based perspective. Companies will need to turn to service design and innovation to differentiate themselves in increasingly competitive markets and to create opportunities that address new challenges in the service sector.

How is designing a service different than designing a product?

When designing a product, much of the focus is on mediating the interaction between the person and the artifact. Great product designers consider more of the context in their design. In service design, designers must create resources that connect people to people, people to machines, and machines to machines. You must consider the environment, the channel, the touchpoint. Designing for service becomes a systems problem and often even a system of systems challenge. The elements or resources that designers need to create to mediate the interactions must work on all these levels and at the same time facilitate connections that are deeply personal, open to participation and change, and drop-dead stunning.


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