5by5: A Conversation About the Future of Service Design, Larry Keeley

Interview with Larry Keeley, Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting

By Twisha Shah-Brandenburg


“The more subtle and important trend is the ability to integrate many kinds of data and experience dimensions into an elegant whole.” —Larry Keeley


In keeping a consumer / user at the heart of problem solving how can businesses start to think about products and services differently?

Sadly, three decades into the user centered movement, it’s still all too rare in service design. People assume that if their heart is in the right place and they know what they mean when they ask a question, of course the user will understand it. Worse, they assume that the user will bother to invest the time at all—and thus ask too many questions, then wonder why someone abandons the form in midstream.


What are the limitations of service design today and what impact do you think they will have on where the future of service design will go?

There are not too many limits that a savvy, talented service design team cannot overcome. Designers can use pattern recognition, inference engines, social media, Natural Language Processing, Machine learning, big data, design for mobile tools, deep customer memory, integral ratings systems, and a host of other tools.

Even within healthcare and the burdens of HIPPA compliance in the US, it is possible to do elegant work today. The question is: will designers do so? Do they have the chops? Have they got the ability to show clients the art of the possible?


What trends do you think are impacting the adoption of service design?

Mostly the extraordinary growth of services. So that makes it both a growth field and a necessary advance to allow any service to get noticed and used. The more subtle and important trend is the ability to integrate many kinds of data and experience dimensions into an elegant whole.

There are reasons why people love the Uber interface or the extraordinary convenience of Amazon Prime, especially when it is integrated with voice interface, like Echo. This is a huge design frontier, and it anticipates a time not far in the future where most things we care about will come to us with elegant, integrated experiences that make it easy to do hard things.


For a person(s) embarking on bringing service design to their organization what advice would you have for them to be successful?

Be curious—especially about emergent capabilities. Work hard enough to be confident—especially in your own capabilities, once you build them. And be courageous—especially about taking the hard path forward sometimes, instead of the easy one.


A parting thought about what to look at up close and personal.

Always pay attention to the service innovations that engage people in a peer-to-peer world. The best modern ecosystems help people make their own lives better—either as a user of services or a provider of them.


Be sure to see Larry’s keynote presentation at the 2017 SDN Global Conference
Check out other conversations at 5by5.blog