Service design for complexity using systems thinking
Innovative techniques come from those few who truly pioneer effective and efficient services, by redefining their approaches. The old ways of managing are being left behind...
Service and Business Design
The development of Service Design, from Design Thinking, has often focused on the Digital tools and tactics for boosting the design of services. An example of this is the work of GDS in government, and improvements made in online banking. What is more hidden and less obvious is the why of the actual service design that is occuring throughout the organisation. The service may well be riddled with poor performance, waste, and disgruntled staff.
Systems thinking is very good at helping to understand the why, and therefore allows managers and designers to delve far deeper into the design of services, so that real transformation can occur - rather than simply improving what we already have.
Complexity is suddenly all around us in the business world. At least, we are recognising that complexity is now something that has to be understood as a key factor in service design. In the past we have not been very good at adapting management to deal with complexity.
Services that contain complexity in their demands, or workflow, will require very different approaches to design than they would for a logical service.
These approaches to design replace and remedy the inability of traditional process design that often fails to achieve satisfactory outcomes. They respond to complexity by creating an adaptable and flexible way of allowing local decisions , engaging with staff directly to create empowered and flexible working that is a step up to the monotony and static mechanical design of yesterday.
This is the ability to view, understand, and design and act on the service and the organisation holistically. We understand how the system behaves in a way that is different to the traditional. Some characteristics of this are:
The outcome is a new type of understanding and methodology where Service Design can have a far deeper impact. And it can successfully used to help managers to deal with complexity.
You don’t fix a problem by solving it. You solve a problem by dissolving the problem. We do that by redesigning the system so that the problem does not exist.
The current mindset and skills that leaders are taught today, have been around for decades. They originated from the core of the industrial revolution, and the techniques developed to fight battles.
An increasing number of leaders sense a growing concern and dissatisfaction with todays approaches, and they are looking around for something better.
Enquire a little further, and you will find that there are a myriad of innovative and effective leaders and managers using different techniques. They are pioneering a systems approach to managing, and demonstrated its effectiveness by being consistent leaders. Argyris, Sholtes, Senge, Ackoff, Deming, Seddon, and others have contributed to developing ideas and practice, that have enabled us to think beyond our reductionist and standardised approaches developed during the 20th century.
Human Learning Systems has great examples of this approach.
Systems that move into modern approaches will enable you to view your entire organisation; how it is working as a whole, and the barriers within it. It cuts through the detail and focuses on the main value, waste, and behaviours that ultimately drive an organisation. It describes the whole inter-connectedness of how things work, it creates and uses collective intelligence that is normally hidden in most organisations.
The outcome of this approach, is the clarity that it brings. Enabling leaders to redefine those core aspects in their organisation that impact performance of the services and people. Enabling you to implement real impactive transformation that lasts.
It has the makings of a new profession, on how to manage correctly...