Connecting the dots of my Service Design Thinking creative loop

The flow in and out of my creative loop attempts to illustrate the dynamic process of exploration of the problem and development of solutions. It is by nature an iterative process that requires all participants to be aligned on a central focal point: how might we help our <users> achieve their <desired goal> so that <service outcome> is viable and feasible.

Rest assured, I don’t pretend to have invented yet another method… plenty has been written about Design Thinking by very talented authors and industry gurus.

Simply, I would like to share my pragmatic approach based on my experience as a Service Design consultant. It is a mean to an end, an explanation of my creative solution mindset, driven to have an impact and inspire change. From nudging behaviours to implementing (digital) transformation, I have found that it is very valuable to provide clear wayfinding for all collaborators about to set off on this journey.

This process is scalable to fit within current hybrid project delivery practices, with the exploration of the problem and the development of opportunities linked by a converging central point.

Let’s start with probably the most critical yet often overlooked need to align the multi-disciplinary project team and stakeholders to gain clarity and support for the design effort! Engagement is much more than a rubber stamp on a budget sheet… to become aligned, all participants require common ground and dedicated time set aside from daily tasks across the whole Service landscape.

With deep care and empathy, I relate to the service experience of the customers (front stage) and staff (public and internal facing), considering the touchpoint, role played by each actor and the process they follow. User interviews, journey mapping, “as is” service blueprinting, surveys will help build a shared understanding and frame the problem space.

The pivotal point of How might we… is a very effective way to make a positive statement for the project team and define the area of focus of our solution finding efforts. Without a defined scope, it is impossible to manage expectations.

Now the fun part begins yet the hardest! Meaningful change of an existing service or dynamic creation of a new one? The multi-disciplinary team, public or hybrid groups collaborate to ideate. Together we make, prototype desired states and test interactions, test again and validate solutions… Design sprints can be adapted to run over a day or a week. Prototyping and user testing progressively raise the fidelity, the visual quality or the tangible details, of the proposed solution.

Delivery of the most beneficial solution to the Service users, well-balanced with the business goals of the service owners goes hand in hand with capability building and knowledge transfer. Project workshops not only are driven by outputs, they are meant to embed design competencies so the client can iterate, adapt to the changing needs of the users and improve the service over time.


Let’s start a conversation! Comments and feedback are always appreciated.

create-flow@gaetancotton.com