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. What is more hidden and less obvious is the why of the actual service that is occurring 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 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.
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.
Human Learning Systems has great examples of this approach.
Redesigned services will enable leaders 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...
How this Works - The Triple Diamond
Design gives us a way to create different ways of thinking and working. The sequence of working with a service to help them to change can be summarised like this diagram, that takes the original diamond design from the Design Council and develops it into the triple diamond:
See our current service as a system; the what.
What this physically consists of are demand analysis, flow charts, customer needs, staff impacts.
Understand why it is like this; the why.
This is about the underlying structures that create the visible elements of the service. This tends to be measures, systemic barriers, rich pictures, management thinking and behaviours.
Create a prototype of the new service; the how
Here we apply what we learned in the experiments, and create a working team, developing the elements of real operations.
When we get to the point that the prototype is tested and working, we make it normal- by expanding the prototype until it becomes the complete new service.