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How to amplify your organisation in delivering successful digital services

To develop truly innovative and successful digital services, there is an important factor to recognise. Innovation needs people.

There might be some cases in the past where innovation came from a single source (historical characters like Nikola Tesla being examples), but usually it takes work, failures, optimisation, diverse ideas, errors, goals and motivated people pushing against the boundaries. And if not talking about innovations, even driving successful digital service and good user experience needs all those. Each and every company under digitalisation transformation, or moving toward service-oriented business, understands that the distinction between winners and losers in the competition can be of one little factor: user experience.

Innovations can be technical from the core, but mostly they are about services and solutions that answer the needs, problems and expectations of the users. To get the solution right, you need research, sure, you need insight, sure, but you also need problem-solving – and your entire organisation working together towards that goal.

The distinction between winners and losers in the competition can be of one little factor: user experience.

So, if you are working on large scale service development, should you hire 58 service designers and 34 UX practitioners? Or should you start a transformation towards efficient customer-centric service development by involving the whole organisation to the work as problem solvers?
Besides the obvious fact of efficiency, but also to encourage diverse thinking, the latter option is highly recommended.

Prerequisites and steps to get moving:

You need to understand the problem or the need you are solving and for whom you are solving it

Many times, you have an overview of the business opportunity or user problem you are solving, but the details and their significance in forming a successful solution are unknown. You may also have an overview of your “average users”, their needs and expectations, but you know none of your real individual users match that imaginary average. A great deal of service visions, concepts and features are based on assumptions, hypotheses and sophisticated guesses.

Being honest and transparent on what you do not know helps your organisation in getting deeper understanding of the end users and their needs and thus also getting the solution to better match these.

How admitting the unknown leads to better understanding?

If you are transparent on your goals and assumptions and ask teams to take responsibility for testing and verifying the assumptions and hypotheses, there is a chance you get diverse ideation to get the solution right. Teams might find new innovative ways to serve your end users that you did not think in the first place.

Especially in large-scale digital service development, it is important to share the mindset of design thinking through the organisation. It’s better to have 200 design thinkers working together than 20 in an isolated team.

Your first guess is probably not the one you need

If you conventionally state your problem, you get conventional solutions. To achieve unconventional, new solutions, you need to change both your problem framing and the way you work:

  • Instead of stating what to do, tell teams what they need to solve. Inform your team of the goals and targets, be vocal of what we know and what we do not know.
  • Make sure teams are responsible of delivered value, and they have mandate to decide on the solution that is optimal for it.

Consider giving directions to a tourist you meet in your home town. There are at least three possible routes to the city museum, and you also have different ways to give the directions. You can show the route on a map, walk with the tourist all the way to the museum, or point the direction and tell them to walk 200 meters until the small shop and then turn left. Which one of the possible combinations is the best? For the tourist? For you? Which one of these would work the best for most of the tourists? Could there be some other solution we did not think of yet, like typing the museum address to their Google Maps on the phone and tell them to follow the navigation?

To achieve unconventional, new solutions, you need to change both your problem framing and the way you work.

If you get locked down with the idea someone came up with it in the first meeting, you are probably not finding the optimal solution. You might find a solution, but most likely not the best possible one. If you instead start with centralised clarification of the goals and direction and disperse the ideation to the development teams, you will amplify organisations ideation powers.

End-to-end team engagement is the key

The best people to engage in problem-solving are the ones as close to the solution as possible, especially when optimising already implemented solutions. If your organisation has talented and dedicated Digital Service Design organisation, they probably are still not able to manage and approve each solution, or able to support on iterative optimisation of released solutions.

Instead of your organisations Digital Service Design competences designing journeys, interactions and visuals and giving handover of those to development teams for them to implement, they should focus on cooperation and directing the work towards economical and creative, end-to-end responsibility sharing organisations.

If you got interested on how to get the journey started, contact: