A foreword by Marc and Jakob.

Over the past months more and more people asked us how to “do” service design. What are the most crucial methods? How to use these in real projects to improve customer experience without changing the whole organization? How do I create a persona and how many personas do I need for my project? Which research methods should I use to collect data for my journey map?

We realized that there’s no simple hands-on guide how to create simple service design tools and what to do with these. So, we started “Service Design Basics” as a simple hands-on guide on how to “do” service design. After all, service design is not rocket science. There are simple tools and methods any business from start-ups to blue-chips and any organization from small NGOs to governments could use immediately to iteratively improve the customer experience they provide.

This is an ongoing project curated by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider (read below who we are). Over the next months, we’ll write this guide step by step and spread new posts through our smaply blog and social media channels. Follow us to keep up to date. Also, we’d like to encourage you to give us feedback on the stuff we write here. Let us know if you do it a similar way or if you have a different approach. Also, we’re always looking for examples or cases. So, get in touch!

We believe in co-creation and the power of a "shitty first draft". Like we started our book project "This is Service Design Thinking" in 2009, we'll start "Service Design Basics" with a few posts on this website on certain tools we often use and we think are most important for beginners. This is what we call the shitty first draft. We hope to get support by our service design community. We'll use your feedback to learn and improve and to make it less shitty over time. This is service design thinking.

Marc and Jakob (30 December 2014)

The background story

Who are we to write this?

We work in the field of service design for some years now. If you're interested in who we are and why we think we could write something like this, here are a few links:

  • Our book: This is Service Design Thinking
    In 2009 we started a project to improve how to teach service design. Marc just started to teach a MA module on servic design and realized that there are no real references or even textbooks on the topic. So, we involved the whole service design community to create the first real textbook on service design. We were amazed to see the impact of the book, the awards we won with it and are still overwhelmed by the positive response on the book – even after five years...

  • Our first start-up: Smaply – Visualize customer experience
    Together with Klaus Schwarzenberger we started smaply in 2012. In our service design work, we often saw teams struggling with their workshop deliverables. After a workshop the walls are plastered with post-it notes. Then someone needs to take care of processing the results into e.g. a customer journey map. Too often we saw ugly results using Excel or PowerPoint or we heard complaints that it took too long using professional tools. So we decided to develop a simlpe software for this to create professional deliverables in minutes: smaply.

  • Our second start-up: ExperienceFellow – Research customer experience
    ExperienceFellow is our second start-up in the field of service design. It is an academic spin-off based on the research by us on mobile ethnography from 2008 on. ExperienceFellow is also based on the need from orgnizations to research customer experiences along the entire customer journey and across all channels. It is a combination of a web-based software to set up projects and analyze data and mobile apps for customers to self-document their experience. Researchers and organizations are able to analyze data inreal-time and to visualize real customer experience as customer journey maps in jsut minutes: ExperienceFellow.

  • Our executive schools: This is Service Design Doing
    Together with Adam Lawrence and Markus Hormess (WorkPlayExperience and Global Service Jam), Marc established a global series of executive trainings on service design. With about 160 alumni all over the works, the schools created a community of people practicing service design in public and private companies form various sectors.

  • Research
    Marc used to work as a lecturer and research fellow at the Management Center Innsbruck where he conducted several research projects on service design including multi-national research projects funded by the European Union. During this time Marc and Jakob published several paper and presented at numerous academic conferences. Marc is also pursuing a PhD at the University of EWrlangen-Nuremberg in Germany on ethnography in information systems to develop and establish a new ethnographic research method for service design: mobile ethnography. He won several best paper awards for his work.

  • Teaching
    Marc and Jakob regularly teach service design at various universities, such as ie business school, Aalto university executive education, Laurea UAS, MCI Management Center Innsbruck, HfG Schwäbisch-Gmünd, etc. They teach both at business and design schools and students love their hands-on classes.

  • Keynotes
    We often speak on service design at conferences such as CU2013 in Bangkok/Thailand, UXcamp in Copenhagen/Denmark, ISA2013 in Recife/Brazil, UI19 in Boston/USA, Creativity World Forum in Kortrijk/Belgium, etc. You can find some of our slidedecks on slideshare.

  • Our third start-up: Mr. Thinkr – tools & toys for design thinkers
    Mr. Thinkr is our third venture in the field of service design: A small shop for service design templates and use stuff for our work. In our workshops participants often ask us where we get our templates from, so we created a small shop for this. Laura takes care of the shop. If you like her style, check out what she's doing beyond smaply and Mr. Thinkr.

  • Consulting
    Yes, we need to earn money as well... ;)