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    Arne van Oosterom's Posts - WENOVSKI design thinkers network

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    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Course On Service Design

    Just got invited to give a course on service design (two days) in Innsbruck Austria at the MCI. That's going to be great!

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    Brand Book Holland

    Some time ago we created a brand book (a silver box with three books in it... and a Miffy) for the economic image of Holland. This was part of a larger nation branding project we do for the Dutch government.

    We created a mainly visual brand-book and it's used as a starting point and source of inspiration by the Dutch government and other Dutch organizations. We worked on this project with Simon Anholt and I've always been very pleased with the result.
    Especially because we were aloud to tell an emotional story using images and narratives.

    Just a few weeks a go we were asked to put the books online. This means I can share it with you now.

    Take a look at "... and the Dutch created Holland"

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Service Stories #11

    I'm collecting these testimonials because they are of interest to me as a service designer. Besides that they are a powerful sign that the world is changing. Organizations and companies need to realize that they are becoming ever more transparent and vulnerable. If they like it or not. So it's time to pay attention.

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Service Innovation Briefing by Innovaro

    "Service innovation is fast becoming the most interesting and successful area of innovation for businesses. Now accounting for 70% of the aggregate production and employment in OECD nations, service innovation is widely seen as critical for longer-term growth and prosperity. While the economic downturn has hit some parts of the services sector very hard, it is clear that the trend towards service domination in the major economies is here to stay. The ageing population will have a greater need for social and health services; both the obese and the health conscious sections of society will drive an increase in wellness and nutrition services; and the opening up of all levels of education will drive innovation in the provision of teaching and learning.These are just three drivers of growth in the service sector."

    Read the whole thing.....

    (Via Choosenick)

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    What do service designers do?

    Designing for Services in Science and Technology-Based Enterprises was an interdisciplinary research project (2006-2007) initiated by Saïd Business School (SBS) at the University of Oxford.

    The study explored how academics, service designers, and science and technology entrepreneurs understand the designing of services in science and technology-based enterprises, and featured three case study projects in which service designers helped early stage science and technology enterprises (re)design their services.

    Get the details via Putting People First or Lucy Kimbell

    Thursday, December 4, 2008

    Service Stories #9

    I am collecting these testimonies (service stories) from end-users because they are great research material and help us gain more insight. Beside that these videos illustrate the changing world companies and governments are facing.

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Service Design Theory Weary

    The last three days I have been attending the Service Design Conference in Amsterdam. All in all, it has been a great experience and I met a lot of inspiring and inspired people.

    I liked seeing all the faces that belonged to the names I already new. I enjoyed the presentations the second day. Although I did dose off from time to time... but that's me. And I thought the workshop by Carnegie Mellon University and Engine was inspiring. I believe Alex Nisbett (Engine) is just brilliant.

    But after three day's of listening and talking and listening and talking about what service design is or could be I am theory weary.

    I have a restless and insubordinate brain and after a while it starts rejecting everything that has to do with rules and methods thought up by others. Especially academics... with all due respect. Please forgive me but it's just that I am tired of people creating there own little reality and talking in circles. We seem to put so much effort in explaining what service design is... to ourselves. I can't take it anymore. This morning I even started explaining service design to myself in the mirror... I didn't get it.

    I think it's about time we stop talking and go out there, get our hands dirty, do something and deliver. And my bet is that consultancies/ agencies are going to do just that. I'm sure that next year we will see lots of presentations (mainly from consultancies) about clever life-altering solutions with real results. Big and small. And I promise that I will make a worth to watch contribution. If not, I will delete the word service from our website and change it for communication.

    (Alex Nisbett at the Service Design Conference Amsterdam 2008)

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Tim Brown on design thinking in Dubai

    Read Tim Brown's post and join the interesting discussion that follows on his blog.

    "While I can be legitimately criticized for seeing every conversation as an opportunity for design thinking, I came away from Dubai with a strong feeling that design can make a contribution to improving the way we tackle the deep systemic issues the world now faces."

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    New Zealand Engaging Everywhere

    Laura Sommer, Acting Manager, E-government Strategy and Policy, State Services Commission, New Zealand, speaks on New Zealand Government insights from online engagement to enhance policy and service design and delivery.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    The lunch currier

    Draft version of the video presented at the "Changing the Change" conference in Torino (July 2008)

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Service Opportunities

    A great list of service opportunities from Patricia Seybold (Outside Innovation).

    ".... Here are just a few examples of customer-unfriendly policies that annoy customers while increasing operational costs:

    • Placing a multi-day hold on funds deposited at an ATM machine, forcing customers to come into the branches to make deposits so they can access their money (a common banking practice in several countries).
    • Requiring that a serial number match a service contract number before you'll provide technical support or renew a support contract.
    • Requiring that the customer type in a long license key in order to load the software he has purchased.
    • Limiting the number of times a customer can load a game, music, or other purchased intellectual property on his own machines or systems.
    • Making it difficult for customers to return or exchange goods they have purchased.
    • Making it difficult for customers to redeem coupons or rebates in the hopes that they will neglect to do so.
    • Making it difficult for distribution partners to gain approval for promotional programs and deals before they can quote a price to end-customers.
    • Making it difficult for customers to renew, exchange, and/or co-terminate a support contract that covers a number of products, many of which have been added, moved, or amended since the contract was originated.
    • Making it difficult for customers to change the terms of a loan, mortgage, or other financial agreement when their circumstances have changed.
    • Providing networked products that can't self-register and identify themselves when they connect to a network.
    • Requiring customers who travel to pre-notify their credit card providers and their mobile/wireless providers that they are about to travel in order to ensure that they receive uninterrupted service. "

    Read the article.....

    (Via Choosenick)

    Design thinking is basically about being able to make good PowerPoint slides...

    A sceptical point of view from John Maeda:

    "While the corporate world is obsessed with the idea of design thinking -- which relies on data and process for inspiration -- Maeda is skeptical. "Design thinking is basically about being able to make good PowerPoint slides -- the quad-chart slide, the stakeholder slide. I get that. I think it's important. But at the same time, you hear whispers, even at Stanford, that people aren't making things anymore." Scott Klinker, head of the 3-D design program at Cranbrook Academy of Art, who defended the intuitive, qualitative approach to design at this year's Industrial Designers Society of America conference, agrees: "The proponents of the strategy-based approach say, 'Don't worry about form. We'll save you with design thinking.' I think that's crap. Design has always been a complex synthesis of analytical and intuitive processes."

    Read the article...

    (Thanks to Arjan van Woensel)

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Designing Interactions

    A book and a website from Bill Moggridge with some great interviews .

    "Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object—beautiful or utilitarian—but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us stories from an industry insider’s viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome." go...

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Will A New Breed Of Innovation Companies Eventually Settle Into The Realm Of New Product/Service Innovation?

    Idris Motee on Product/Service Innovation

    "Can adv agencies design great products and/or experiences? You would think so? Over the years they have narrowed their skills (rather than broadening) and their core capabilities were reduced to doing the following three things 1/ finding a unique way to positioning a products within its category 2/adjustments of minutia to affect the consumers’ perception of the brand 3/ maximize repetitive exposure and extend reach. Innovation is not a core capability. Deep customer insight is not a core capability (over reliance of traditional research is the problem). Customer engagement is not a core capability (although they refer customer engagement as engaging through a 30sec TVC). It makes you wonder whether a new breed innovation companies will eventually settle into the realm of new product innovation and brand / communication innovation or even push into the space to deliver business model innovation."

    Read the article...


    A service idea for low cost hospitality (and some other stuff...).

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    Service Stories #8

    This sight always effect the service experience of the flight...

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    Service Stories #7

    I am collecting these testimonies (service stories) from end-users because they are great research material and help me gain more insight. Beside that these videos illustrate the changing world companies and governments are facing.

    Bad Experience with Sprint Wireless

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Service Design Network Netherlands

    I am proud to announce that Eden Design & Communication, 31Volts, Creative Cities Amsterdam Area, STBY and DesignThinkers have launched the Service Design Network Netherlands.

    Since June 2008, in monthly informal meetings, Service Design professionals in the Netherlands exchange knowledge and experiences arising from their work in this emerging field.

    Several initiatives to widen this network and mutually promote service design in The Netherlands have already emerged. The network has been officially launched during PICNIC'08 in Amsterdam.

    Service Design Workshop

    Last friday Service Design Network Netherlands gave a hands-on service design workshop at PICNIC08.

    We had a great time working on a real healthcare case-study with real end-users and service providers from the city.

    Here are some pictures.

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Service in Action

    Service Design Clinic with Eric Kansa [Executive Director, Information & Services Design Clinic, UC Berkeley]

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Don't miss it! The first international Service Design Conference in Europe

    From 24th - 26th November Amsterdam will host the first Europe based, international Service Design Conference.

    Now you must now that Amsterdam is our hometown, so we are extra extra happy. It's a great change to meet everyone and create more awareness with clients in the Netherlands.

    Besides being extra extra happy DesignThinkers will be hosting an action packed workshop on mobility at the 26th. I hope to see you there!

    You can register for the conference....

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    DesignThinkers at PICNIC 2008

    A hands-on service design lab at the international PICNIC conference in Amsterdam will bring the service design approach to a wider audience in the Netherlands for the first time on 26 September.

    The event will be an activity that allows participants to experience the key ideas and processes of service design. Organised by STBY, 31Volts and DesignThinkers.

    Want to join us in Amsterdam? Get more information here...

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    Summer School on Service Design Finland

    Last week I gave a lecture in Finland at the Akatemia Kuopio. I had a great time and Satu Miettinen has been a great host.

    Besides having lots of fun attending workshops I really enjoyed the discussions I had with Greg Richards and Marc Stickdorn about the difference between experience marketing and service design. "Does service design actually exist? Or is it just another name for something we have been doing for years"... I miss these discussions in the Netherlands. They keep me on my toes.

    Greg Richards had a great presentation on creative tourism.

    Satu Miettinen talked about social design.

    In one of the workshops we visited a spa. Here's Mikko Koivisto from Ego Beta doing some fieldwork.

    The spa has a public and healthcare service.

    One of the workshop with students and Katja Sorvali.

    The obligatory sticky-notes.

    The obligatory (it's a must in Finland) fire.

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Lauren Currie at DesignThinkers

    Last week Lauren Currie came over from Scotland to work with us on a couple of projects. Just for a few weeks. And although Lauren has only been with DesignThinkers for one week already she has been a great help and inspiration to us.

    Read about her ethnographic field work, experiences in Amsterdam and see some great pictures on her weblog.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Service Design Conference Amsterdam

    The Service Design Network is organising a Service Design Conference in Amsterdam at the 24th-26th of November.

    Keep an eye on for more information.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Summer School on Service Design

    August 27-28 the Kuopio Academy in Finland is organising a summer school on 'service design and well-being'. 

    The academy asked me to come over and speak about service design and some of the projects we do at DesignThinkers. I'm really looking forward to meet all the people from the academy and other service design colleagues in Finland.

    Here's some more information on the summer school... 

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Good design is good for the UK

    The Design Counsel (UK) has published the Good Design Plan. "Design can drive a competitive economy, create a more sustainable society and make our everyday lives better. But only if it’s used well."

    Download The Good Design Plan

    Via Kate Andrews

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Case Study: Improving Patient Care

    Recently I participated in a case study held by the Irish Times. This is the case...

    And here you can read what Ben Reason (live|work), Keith Finglas (Innovation Delivery Limited) and I had to say about improving patient care. The experts' advise...

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Service Stories part 6

    Service delivery solutions

    Grant Lenahan (Telcordia) about how advertisement becomes information.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Thinking like a designer

    I just read an interesting article in Harvard Business Review by IDEO’s Tim Brown on Design Thinking.

    "I believe that design thinking has much to offer a business world in which most management ideas and best practices are freely available to be copied and exploited. Leaders now look to innovation as a principal source of differentiation and competitive advantage; they would do well to incorporate design thinking into all phases of the process."
    Read it here...

    Via Buena Vista

    The first sdn Insider

    And there it is the first issue of 'sdn Insider'. The newsletter published by the Service Design Network.

    Read it here...

    Service Stories #5

    Service Stories #4

    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Service Stories #3

    Bank of America Customer Service

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Demos published their new discussion paper Making The Most Of Collaboration: an international survey of co-design, produced in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Public Sector Research Centre.

    "In 2006 we published Journey to the Interface - an impassioned advocation of the value of collaborative design principles in public services. In the intervening years, co-design has caught hold as an ideal for transforming services - promising to make them more responsive, fit-for-purpose, and efficient. More broadly, co-design provides an avenue for building social capital, and addressing a disengagement from politics and democracy."


    Via Choosenick

    Ezio Manzini on Service Design

    Mikkel Rasmussen on Service Design Part 2

    Mikkel Rasmussen on Service Design Part 1

    Lavrans Løvlie on Service Design

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    Innovative Solutions For Street Prostitution

    The Köln International School of Design (KISD) and especially professor Birgit Mager was invited by the Design Academy of Eindhoven to analyse the problem of street prostitution by addicted women and to find solutions through the method of ‘service design’. The KISD has positive experience in using this approach for developing services for homeless people in Köln.

    Take a look (on the left) at part two of the presentation...

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Now That's Service

    It must be a great service experience using this touchpoint...

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    Social Media in Plain English

    Via Vue Royale

    Service Stories #2

    This clip about bad customer service by Speedo Australia shows (ones again) companies should wake up to a changing world, an increasingly transparent world.

    Service Stories #1

    Service Prototyping?

    I think we can call this service prototyping...

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Designing Services For The Elderly

    Increasingly companies start talking service design/ innovation. Lets hope it's not just talking. But in this short commercial IBM is focussing on yet another reason why service design is going to be very important in the near future.

    Bill Moggridge Keynote on Service Design

    Bill Moggridge at the Service Design Symposium in Copenhagen: "At the same time they only let us design the train..."

    Monday, June 9, 2008


    It's been some time since I posted my last update. It's a thing that happens to me from time to time. It's a good thing though. It means I've been very busy.

    Here's a small sample of what I've been up to:

    We are researching why people do not go to the ports (air and water) of Amsterdam to find a job. The ports need people to grow. But they can't find employees. Can service design provide a solution? We think it can.

    We are developing new ways for a Waterschap to build relationships with it's costumers and making their services visible to the general public. This needs to be done, because no one know what a Waterschap does, but they keep sending us the bill.

    DesignThinkers is opening a center for training, workshops, presentations, eating, drinking etc called 'The End Of The World'. It is located in a magnificent building at the old shipyard of Den Helder (Cape Holland) which they restored beautifully.

    We started a new agency called SLOEP. This agency will focus on maritime projects. Our first project: Round Texel, the world's largest catamaran race. SLOEP will be based at 'The End Of The World".

    There is more. But for now these are my favorites.

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    The Rising Of Service Innovation

    Some great podcasts on service design from Emergence (I enjoyed Oliver King):

    Do Listen...

    And one from IBM's chief service researcher on Businessweek:

    Take a moment...

    via Choosenick

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    There Is No Easy Way Out

    Delivering real service doesn't com natural to the Dutch. Companies and governments in the Netherlands are mainly focused on trade. That is what the Dutch are good at. And service-products are treaded the same as commodities.

    And I guess, dropping a service-product from high above on an unsuspected target group creates a save distance from that most difficult of creatures, the consumer, the civilian, the persons. Having a target group seems to solve a lot of problems and Dutch marketeers love to talk at length about them.

    I just don't like the term "target group". It's just an easy way out and has nothing to do with reality. Of course traditional marketing and advertising can't be successful without focusing on a specific target group. Focusing on individuals is way to expensive and far to complicated. But this approach is a one-way street and therefor a cul-de-sac for service organizations. Thinking in target groups fuels the generalization of personal wants and needs and reduces it to meaningless tag-lines.

    People need to be understood. And people are so much more than age, gender, profession or hobby. There is no easy way out. People are complex and full of contradictions. But only while focusing on the reality and complexity of everyday life service organizations are able to ad true value to their services. This approach leads to meaningful and relevant solutions and true service innovation.

    But like I said, providing real service doesn't com natural to the Dutch. Maybe the Dutch are afraid it will disturb the process of doing business, making money. Actually having a real two way conversation with costumers never even occurred to most managers and marketeers. Simply because it is time-consuming and expensive. And time and money are a rare luxury. They are usually spend on buildings, hardware, paying employees, discussing internal company issues, producing spreadsheets and having lots and lots of meetings.

    It is going to take a whole new breed (or generation) of managers, political decision-makers and maybe even companies to get the Dutch competitive on a international level in the service industries of the future.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    World's Largest Innovation Box

    Felloforce's Challenge Board & Innovation Box is growing. Currently they have 75+ brands connected, like Shell, Nokia, Starbucks, Unilever, Apple, Virgin, Yahoo, Pfizer etc.

    Take a look...

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    Mobile Banking

    Yesterday I went to the Mobile Monday (Momo) meet-up. This time the subject was Mobile Banking. And it turned out to be a very interesting subject. Momo's going to put it all on their website, so you'll be able to watch the whole thing here...

    I specially liked the presentation by Ton Wesseling. Take a look at his slides. With only a few words it actually tells the whole story.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    10 Ideas That Are Changing The World

    Time reveals what's next. "More than money, more than politics, ideas are the secret power that this planet runs on. Here are a few you need to know about"

    And since this is a blog on service design one big idea jumps straight out:

    The end of costumer service. "[...] Only now are technology and public sentiment aligning to truly shift the responsibility of collecting goods and services to the consumer. Consider the last time you rang up your own purchase at Wal-Mart, checked into a hotel at a kiosk or bought a ticket from a machine in the lobby of a movie theater. Companies love self-service for the money it saves, and with consumers finally playing along, the need to interact with human beings is quickly disappearing."

    Read it all here...

    One Line of Service Design

    Marc from 31Volts asked me for a one-liner on Service Design. Here goes:

    Service Design is simply paying attention, talk to each other, listen and dare to be vulnerable.

    Service Design, A Pocket Guide

    This is old (2007) but I missed out on this one. So for all of you who, like me, did not pay attention:

    Last year the Cabinet office (England) made their working paper ‘Service Design Principles, A Pocket Guide'

    "In order for public policy to be effective and reflect the needs of the community as a whole, policy makers need to understand and engage the customer the community and other stakeholders. Engagement can improve both the formulation and implementation of public policy"

    Download it here...

    (via thinkpublic)

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    International Service Design Network

    I just started a Service Design Network on LinkedIn. It's a network of professionals who's aim it is to develop, professionalize an promote the relative new field of expertise called Service Design.

    Are you interested? We probably can use your insights and experience. Just follow this link...

    UK govt reveals design driven innovation strategy

    “Minister for Innovation Ian Pearson believes that design is central to innovation and that innovation is key to improving public services. ‘Building design into the services of local authorities and Government departments is going to be important for the future,’ he tells Design Week. ‘The contribution of design to innovation hasn’t been emphasised enough until now, but user-led innovation always clearly demonstrated the importance of design in developing new products, processes and new ways of working.’”

    Read the article on Putting People first...

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Innovation in Experiential Services

    A report from London Business School

    "Service innovation has proved an elusive area for many reasons, including the intangibility of services, the heterogeneity of services, much innovation being of processes rather than products and the lack of an identifiable R&D function. Much research has focused on services where products can clearly be defined (for example financial services), and where technology is being used to change the nature of the service or the business. However, as Salter and Tether (2006) have pointed out, there is an emerging research stream which addresses the particular nature of services such as intangibility, dependence on people and high levels of interaction rather than technologies.

    This report examines innovation in experiential services. These are services where the focus is on the experience of the customer when interacting with the organisation, rather than just the functional benefits following from the products and services delivered.

    The report is based on a continuing research programme on experiential services at London Business School. In particular it draws on a recent case-based study of eight design agencies and consultancies and nine successful experiential service providers. The report addresses the question of how do experiential service providers innovate, in particular the content of innovation and the process of innovation including organisation for innovation. Studying innovation in experiential services facilitates wider reflection on the subject of service innovation."

    Download the report here.....

    (via Design For Service)

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Service Design: It's a dirty job...

    I've been working as a service design consultant at DesignThinkers for some time and I must tell you that service design is not always glamourous. I'm sorry to disappoint you. Service design is about getting your hands dirty. Real dirty. If you are not prepared to go all the way down the long and dark sewers of big organizations, you are not doing the work you supposed to do.

    Without compromising a service design project is never easy. Great service is all about building relationships. And in the real world a good relationship starts by getting to know and respect each-other. Listen, learn and know when to compromise. Being vulnerable. Trusting the other person and taking changes. So if you are in the business of delivering a service to your costumer, and you want to join the service revolution, this is the task at hand.

    But hold on! Even between the best of friends this is not always easy. Trusting takes a lot of guts. And you must be very strong and secure to really open up and let yourself be vulnerable. Being defensive seems almost second nature to most organizations. And, as a rule, people don't trust big organizations.

    So how can large corporations and public organizations design the perfect service-experience? They can't. It is simply not possible. Big organizations, by default, don't care about their costumers. Costumers are just a means to an end. And superficial marketing methods, simplifying reality beyond recognition is the the path of least resistance.

    It is not that companies and public organizations are evil. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, organization are no more than a complex combination of ordinary people with their own ordinary wants and needs. Good and bad. Usually there is no big story. No vision or higher purpose guiding management and employees while making decisions. Just a lot of personal agenda's.

    And maybe that's the beauty of it. Organizations are not made out of buildings, furniture and computers but from people like you and me. People with all the usual problems a human being has to deal with. Being truly (truly) concerned about the personal happiness of their customers is an unrealistic demand. And we al know this. Most of us have jobs and we don't really (really) care. And the companies we work for don't really (really) care about us either.

    As a service designer I don't let this spoil my fun. This is reality and service designers must practice what they preach: embraces the beautiful complexity called live.

    This is why service design starts deep inside the bowels of the organization. As a service design consultant you must understand the anatomy and psychology of the company you work for. You'll have to know it's limitations and work with them. Push the right buttons. Persuade, guide and fight for what you believe in. Get management involved permanently, empower front office, create short feedback loops. Then raise the gates, open the doors, lower the bridge and give costumers access to the heart of the organization.

    It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Service Design Symposium

    The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) is holding a Service Design symposium.

    "The symposium will act as a platform for deeper understanding of how to harness design thinking as a strategy and adopting best practices in the public sector. Hosted by CIID at the Danish Architectural Centre, it is designed to be a small, intimate event providing an opportunity to meet talented thinkers and practitioners."

    Get more info...

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Making it Personal

    After their first pamphlet on service design (The Journey to the Interface) DEMOS has published "Making it Personal". And again they produced a great report and a rich source of inspiration to everyone interested in the field of service design.

    Download it here...

    The Connected Agency

    A report from Forrester

    "Marketers: Partner With An Agency That Listens Instead Of Shouts
    Today's agencies fail to help marketers engage with consumers, who, as a result, are becoming less brand-loyal and more trusting of each other. To turn the tide, marketers will move to the Connected Agency — one that shifts: from making messages to nurturing consumer connections; from delivering push to creating pull interactions; and from orchestrating campaigns to facilitating conversations. Over the next five years, traditional agencies will make this shift; they will start by connecting with consumer communities and will eventually become an integral part of them."

    Read Simon Andrews Blog on the report here...

    Buy the report here...

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    The Dissolution of Social Networks

    Listen (on Particls) to the eye-opening interview with Andreas Kluth, correspondent of The Economist:

    Podcast: Dissolution of Social Networks

    Thanks to iPlot

    Sunday, February 3, 2008

    Fundamental Changes

    A 'must read' report from Swinburne University of Technology on user-led innovation.

    "User-led innovation is transforming the way many organisations develop new products, services and knowledge. Service-based organisations in particular can benefit from leveraging the participation of their audiences, customers and citizens. Today’s consumers have much greater input into the creation and dissemination of the products and services they consume."

    Download it here...

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Palpable computing: a taste of things to come

    Great story on ICT Results

    "Virtually everyone stands to benefit from the more pervasive use of computer technology. But while adding microchips to more everyday objects can make lives easier – and even save them – the approach creates some unique problems of its own. “Palpable” rather than “ubiquitous” computing promises a solution." Read more...

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Service Design Changes The Rules

    I've been taught some valuable lessons at school. Most of them I've forgotten from the moment I walked out of the school building for the last time. But, oddly enough, some ideas got stuck in my head.

    For example, I learned the difference between branding and marketing. And I actually cherished that rule. For years I've been a pain in the ass of many marketing, brand and product manager telling them time and time again they should never confuse these two disciplines. Never!

    But I feel it might be time to start questioning some rudimental principles. There is a service revolution going on after all. And what's a revolution without changing a couple of rules.

    Let's assume for a second we live in a perfect world and service organisations are bold enough to go were no man.... etc. And they are actually going to embrace all the 'service design' principles. Than service organisations are going to be all about engagement, empowerment, co-ownership, meaningful relationships and building an organisation around the costumer needs and wants.

    What could follow is this:

    Identity = Image
    A direct result of customer (and employee) empowerment, co-ownership and co-production. If you're customers can truly shape your organisation than your identity equals your image.

    Branding = Marketing
    This one scares the heck out of most organisations I know. The rule is: Marketing begins with the customer and branding begins within the company. But this is thinking in commodities not services. Co-ownership will hand over the brand to the customer.

    Marketing communications = Internal communications
    To deliver a great service everyone involved in the delivery should embrace the same set of values. And this means a customer-centered organisation can't differentiate between the people who work for the organisation and customers. They must be treated the same and given the same information. The only differences is that employees get paid.

    This is just a thought that's been rattling around in my head for a while. And at DesignThinkers we use it as an inspiring starting-point to think up some innovative business-models. But my old marketing teacher is going to think I'm a raving idiot, so no change there.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Watch Out! Here Comes The Service Revolution!

    You may not have noticed, but In the 'West" we are living in a so called service economy. This means we don't make a lot of stuff anymore. We just buy it.

    We are able to do so in ever increasing quantities with the money we earn sitting in office buildings looking at computer screens. Producing spreadsheets. And if we are not looking at our screens we are sitting around a big table with lots of comfy chairs. Talking about our spreadsheets.

    Sounds all right. But there is a problem. We don't make a lot of stuff anymore, but we don't provide a real viable alternative for it. My gut feeling says that If we don't use our hands, we should be using our head. And we are not using it. You don't have to be a economist to figure this out. If we don't change we will be in trouble. We won't be able to compete on any level with the big and slowly awakening giants like India, Brazil and China.

    We, in the west, are living a service economy, that's a big change from a industrialized economy. But our way of thinking, our processes, the way we structure our companies, sell and market our products is still based on ideas developed in the industrial revolution. So it's about time for a new revolution. A service revolution.

    In fact it is taking place right now and it's official name is the "third Industrial Revolution". Basically this is what's happening: Economists divide goods and services into tradable and non-tradable. And service has often been considered non-tradeble (and still is by many). But the boundaries are fading away. This means that more and more services will become tradable. This is were our greatest and possibly only opportunities for the future lie.

    It's going to take some effort. Because, just like the other two industrial revolutions, it is going to change the way we work, live, and educate our children. So it's a big deal. But it's still early days and we don't really know what to do with it. Or we're just to bloody comfortable, rich and lazy and we don't want to see the necessity for change. So we just keep pushing the snooze button one more time. But it's time to wake up. Because it's never a good idea to sleep through a revolution. You'll miss all the fun.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    What The Hell? (Talking Service Design)

    I've been spreading the word on how important it is to stop treating service as a commodity for quite some time. I am, as you might already know, an enthusiastic supporter of the methods and tools 'service design' provides us. I feel like a preacher sometimes.

    But soon after I started answering my calling, there is one thing I learned. I had to change the language I used. There is a particular jargon that accompanies this new field of expertise, and it can take some time getting used to. It can make everything sound a bit mushy and alien.

    If I start orating about co-production, empowerment, service-delivery-blueprints, costumer-journeys, touch-points, service-ecology and so on, my clients generally start to get nervous. "What the hell is he talking about? I thought we were working on a marketing plan?"

    So I changed my language. I started using words from the more familiar fields of branding, experience-marketing and, my personal favorite, life in general. This sounds easy, but customised words are sometimes pretty handy if you want to get to the point very quickly.

    But until everyone knows what exactly a 'service-ecology' means, I'm going to shut up about it. It makes my quest a lot easier. And if clients still don't know what the hell I'm talking about, at least the familiar words give them a warm fuzzy and comfortable feeling. And that's all I want really.

    Saturday, January 5, 2008

    I don't like them

    I really don't like European Tenders. They just don't make a lot of sense. Not from where I'm standing, and certainly not from the clients point of view.

    In my line of work it's almost always the same. Some selected agencies are being asked to write down an advise (amongst other things). But non of the parties can communicate with the client. This way all the agencies have the same information. Sounds fair.

    But how can this help the company in selecting the best partners? How do they really know for sure which agency is the right match for them? In the end companies can choose between a lot of clever written documents pregnant with generalizations and assumptions. But an adviser must first and foremost be a good listener and work in close partnership with his or her client. It's the personal relationship and, dare I say it, chemistry which is such an important element if you want to do great and remarkable things.

    And now they have a pile of paper in front of them. How can anyone really judge the content of these documents? It's such a waist of time. And not just the clients time. I can see them now, all those talented people battering away on there computers, hoping that their guesswork happens to be right on the mark.

    And when the choices have been made. And all those plans end up in that big magical drawer that's never emptied but is never full (how can it be!). Then the real work starts. But client and agency still have to get to know each other from scratch. It's almost a blind date.

    And the client probably liked the clever guy who wrote the document and explained it to them (they always like me), but they might hate the people who they are actually going to work with on a day-to-day basis (I usually lock them up in the basement until the deal is closed).

    So in this situation it is common sense clients make the safest choice. They'll lean towards what they know. The big name, the company they already know or worked with. I know I would. And this means that new, small, less known companies have less of a change to get the contract. And the client has not been given the opportunity or the tools to make the best choice possible.

    Now I didn't do any research, so I'm probably all wrong about this. But I just don't like European Tenders.

    Tuesday, January 1, 2008

    Happy new year!

    I've been on a short vacation. After a very busy 2007 I just had to hide myself from my computer and telephone (It doesn't work the other way round). They searched and called for me for quite some time, the ferocious devils. But fortunately I managed to stay at large for a few days. Just enough to get my downtime I so longed for.

    And now it's 2008 and I feel it's going to be a great new year for the creative industries. There will be a lot of brilliantly beautiful mistakes to be made.

    DesignThinkers can look back on a very successful first year with lots of great projects and clients. Tomorrow morning I will take my first bite into 2008 with a deliciously complicated project on how to get a lot more people out of there car and on a bicycle and yet another 'Holland branding' project. I can't wait.

    I would like to wish everyone a very happy 2008. Have fun!!