Josefin and Daniel on Finding the New Business As Usual


Josefin Eklund from SEB and Daniel Ewerman from Transformator shared insights from their collaboration to make SEB a more customer-centric organization. They presented a case study into the redesign of the pension planning process.

SEB is a 160 years old banking in Sweden; three years ago they started from scratch to build a service design capability in partnership with Transformator. Like many presenters they stressed that what worked for them might not work for everyone. Service design isn’t a plug-in process; it’s an approach.

The initial collaboration with Transformator was focused on a particular project; something that had good visibility within the organization. But designing the service alone would have a limited effect; they recognized that they needed to change the organization itself. The service design project was the raw material needed to begin that transformation and engage people within the organization.

The team focused on basic proofs of concept that could be scaled up. They constantly needed to show results and demonstrate value. Internal stakeholders stressed KPI metrics.

Service design helped SEB to connect at the strategic, tactical and operative level. Touchpoints are primarily tactical but the governing insights and guiding principles helped them to have influence at the strategic level.

Focusing on the customer experience wouldn’t have been enough in itself. The team needed to create new behaviors for the staff. Most people thought they already knew what customers wanted; after all, they had been working with customers for decades. The service design approach helped to challenge some of those assumptions.

The design team wrote a book for service design evangelization within the organization. They joked that “there’s no religion without a book” and SEB needed to make the methods their own.

Ultimately the project didn’t just change ways of working; it changed ways of thinking within the team. Employees started communicating their projects from an end-user perspective and it strengthened the organization’s ability to function in a customer-centric way. This involved knowledge, mindset, tools, experience, processes and change coaching.

SEB has going from 7th to 4th in the pension market over the past three years. Their goal is to be number one by 2020. As Josefin and Daniel mentioned at the beginning of their presentation they stressed that there is no one process that works for everyone. The value comes from tailoring the process to the needs of a particular organization.

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