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Collaborative Service Design – Building on the Power of Connections

New profession and new practices:

Collaborative Service Design (CSD) is a term used to describe a new profession that is neither traditional ‘design’ nor the ‘provision of services’ as usually perceived. Service design teams work together to align and join the dots in a service in a uniquely simple four-stage approach to establish users’ needs, generate fresh ideas and identify and qualify those ideas with the best potential outcomes. The result is a well-orchestrated business case with an implementable specification for a service combined with new performance measurements, designed to meet the evolving demands of real life.

Focus on delivery and accountability:

Collaborative Service Design combines the best of research, marketing, design and business planning with a high focus on delivery and accountability. Teams of mixed experience and skills step systematically through conflicting issues and requirements in order to work out the trade-offs. Nothing new about that but the tools are practical and hands-on. They have been tried and tested with teams operating in many domains from colleges to banks, young offender services to local councils, travel and transport, retailing and not-for-profits.


Implementable model for a service:

In all these cases, both supplier staff and consumers of the service use the CSD four-stage framework guide, finally, to assemble the component parts of the service at the time and place that it is needed. The results are services that are effective and efficient to suppliers and useful, usable and desirable to the customers.

A by-product of all this activity is a growing pool of talent where participants in projects can learn quickly to apply the CSD processes and deploy solutions where and when the services are required.

The principles and practices of Collaborative Service Design were first used with a multi-talented team of insiders and outsiders to create First Direct, the world’s first telephone bank and has continued to be used for many other services since. 20 years after its launch First Direct is still exceeding customer expectations and internal services standards as well as record productivity and profitability. Today’s smart phone revolution will unleash exceptional levels of joined-up innovation and ingenuity to the benefit of all.









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