Interview with Boris Divjak, Strategic Designer at Unboxed
By Thomas Brandenburg
“It’s time for service designers to start thinking more thoroughly about the future outcomes of their work, and how they can provide evidence for that early on.” —Boris Divjak
What are the key ingredients necessary in delivering an exceptional end-to-end service experience at scale? How do service designers help?
All the pieces must fit well together. The experience is the tip of the iceberg, it must be supported by the organisation’s culture and vision that influence operational processes on all levels. Quick feedback loops to learn and improve are key as well.
How should an organizational structure be adaptive or change to successfully deliver new services with speed and scale?
Quick communication and open access to information is crucial to learn and improve quickly. Flatter structure can help. Also more open use of technology tools to enable easier communication (Slack, Google Drive, etc.). Putting people in temporary cross-silo, multi-disciplinary teams can greatly enhance communication between different departments.
What is a key lesson(s) you learned over the years in strategy and design to deliver scalable services?
Consider the employee side of things—what do you need to bring new employees on board, and how can you make that process easier. Make sure you hire the right people, that will fit the culture and spread the service vision well. Employing digital is obviously useful when scaling, but not the only way and often isn’t implemented correctly…Never forget the people that work there!
Are there any organizations that come to mind that are successful at incorporating service design into their process and executing it at scale?
There have been a number of initiatives in recent years. I’m not sure which would be the most successful, but some examples would be Capital One (through purchase of Adaptive Path), IBM (through hiring a huge number of designers in recent years), obviously GDS in London and others. I’m also particularly interested in social innovation projects, but couldn’t really think of any single big organisation…it seems to mostly be focused around smaller projects.
“For an established service, a randomised controlled trial is still the best way to really prove the impact.”
What are the most useful framework(s) for measuring impact of the design of services?
It depends on what stage the service is in. For an established service, a randomised controlled trial is still the best way to really prove the impact. I really like Nesta’s Standards of Evidence framework, which explains how services at the start of their journey can start evidencing their impact.
Any final thoughts you would like to share on making new services bigger, stronger, faster, and better?
I think there’s a need to bring service design capabilities in-house even more. And it’s also time for service designers to start thinking more thoroughly about the future outcomes of their work, and how they can provide evidence for that early on.
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