Olof and Claudia on Innovation 2.0 in Service Design

Olof Schybergson and Claudia Gorelick from Fjord spoke about the need for continuous innovation. They started with a disquieting quote from Matthew Bishop at the Economist Innovation Forum who observed that the pace of change will never again be as slow as it is today.

They spent their talk exploring these shifts in innovation and the conditions that drive change, pointing to three aspects that influence customer expectations:

  • Direct competitors
  • Experiential competitors
  • Perceptual competitors

Customers have been conditioned to expect magic but the most profound technological changes over the past decade have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Slow hunches rather than sudden bright flashes. Olof pointed to the development of the iPhone as the synthesis of existing technologies with uncommon execution or Amazon’s development of one-click shopping as an outgrowth of their dominance in supply chain management.

They proposed that the current decade is building on the success of the web, internet and mobile technology with the emergence of “living services” that are profoundly customized for each user and that serve as the antithesis of the one-size-fits-all strategy at the heart of the industrial revolution.

Living services have the ability to learn, evolve and change over time. Olaf and Claudia predicted that these living systems would have wide-reaching effects on our homes, bodies, families, education, work, transport, finances and shopping. I enjoyed the followup question from a biologist in the audience who observed that living things eventually die…

Ultimately, Fjord tied this back to service design with the observation that user centered processes were already at the heart of the discipline. That positions service designers to help organizations grasp the importance of user-centric understanding.

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