Don Norman on Service Design

It looks like Don Norman’s got himself a little of that Service Design religion. He recently gave a lecture on the subject at the Institute of Design in Chicago:

The overarching topic was that service design is the same as what the business world calls “operations” and that there is so much opportunity in this area. Operations, though, doesn’t get this yet. Business-driven operations mostly focuses on optimization and efficiency in driving down costs but this is so often done in silos with short-term profits in mind, leaving huge opportunity to optimize what’s most important — profits — by looking at areas for designing meaningful experiences that improve long-term customer retention in the front stage of the service and enhancing the many employee-to-employee interactions in the back stage.

From a glance at his website, it looks like Norman is viewing service design through the lens of the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering. It’s not particularly surprising, but seeing service design reduced to operational concerns and stripped of the moral imperative of a triple bottom line is a little disappointing. It’s also not clear how far a School of Engineering would go toward embracing principles of co-creation. On the other hand, Norman conflates experience design with service design (using Disney as an example of the later) so he’s casting a wider net than I would expect from a purely operational perspective. It’s a tossup.

I’d really like to see a transcript or podcast of this talk. It was an hour and a half lecture so I’m sure he covered a lot of ground.

Update: Transcript added.




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