More than five years ago, Adaptive Path created and launched the Service Experience Conference. Today, we announce the journey that launched a thousand journey maps has come to an end. Or has it?
Service design has come a long way since then. More and more, we are seeing actual jobs for service designers. End-to-end customer centric tools, like journey maps, service blueprints, and vision stories have become an integral part of the process, even in places that do not think of what they do as service design. The service mindset that we aimed to foster and cultivate has taken root. Designers and non-designers alike have embraced it. Service design is stronger than ever, and continues to gain strength.
When we launched the Service Experience Conference, this was not the case. We were unsure how the conference would fare. We already had two well-established and successful conferences in UX Week and the Managing Experience Conference. But we felt it important to establish a separate track to expedite the new ideas and tools centered around the practice of service design, distinctly from UX and managing and leading design teams. A new tribe was forming, and we saw it as our role to give this budding community a place to come together.
When Capital One acquired Adaptive Path in late 2014, it was only a few weeks before our second Service Experience Conference. The conference went on without a hitch. I appreciated that Capital One saw value in what we were doing and wanted to keep all of the Adaptive Path conferences running.
With the acquisition, not only did Capital One gain responsibility for one of the leading community leaders in service design, they also gained the strongest internal service design team in any organization (at least we think so!). As we integrated with the organization and the expanding design team across Capital One, service design spread and flourished. We turbo-charged the team, brought tools and training, and focused on strategic projects.
Fast forward several years, and across Capital One, everyone is aware of the tools and the terms. Some business units have integrated them into their operating systems. Design teams across the organization have service designers. Service design is key to connecting the dots across services, experiences, and brands.
In that same time, service design has grown quickly both in the private and public sector. Some governments have even employed service designers to solve complex societal issues and create great service experiences for their citizens. The dialog has evolved from a set of tools and methods to an organizational capability. The challenges have become greater. How does service integrate into business systems and architecture? How does it co-exist with Six Sigma, Lean Startup, and Agile? What role do service design and service designers play in a modern design function? I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of positions that are looking for a service designer. Even VP of Service Design. In some places, service design has become business as usual.
As service design integrated into all aspects of design, it began to pop up in our other conferences as well. Service design became part of the conversation of the Leading Experience Conference (formerly Managing Experience Conference) and UX Week. We see this as a good thing. We helped spark and shape a new revolution in how design is practiced and how organizations work.
We launched the Service Experience Conference to give clarity and focus for an emerging tribe. Now, we want to integrate the tribe, bring the practices of design, which all need to work together, back together. We need to ensure there are connections between the service ecosystem and the individual points of delivery, that design decisions flow from service vision to design execution. For this reason, we’re bringing the Service Experience Conference journey to an end. But we will continue the journey to advance the practice of service design by integrating the dialog and content into the Leading Experience Conference and UX Week.
I am very proud of what we achieved in five years of the conference. I am grateful for all the speakers and workshop leaders who shared their stories and knowledge. And I’m inspired by all the attendees who have taken those lessons and inspiration to go out and change their services, their organizations, and the world. Though the path has changed, the journey and the goal remain the same: advance the practice of design and create great service experiences for all.