Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tools and Temples

Service design- seemed like an extremely confusing term when we first heard it. As students who are expecting to be doing graphics and product designs, it was not something we could relate to.
After a week of classes and discussions with class the term may have become a bit clearer, but its still a mystery to an extent.

We as a group have to design services for a temple. To design services for a temple is not an easy task, considering it is a religious place and is governed more by the people who visit them. Rather than being a structural experience, it is majorly an emotional and spiritual experience. So, in these past few weeks we have tried to figure out certain services we can render to temples. We are still however struggling with whether to work with temples as a concept or a specific temple.

In this whole journey we have used the 'service tools' to guide us. From the very beginning since we started visiting temples to see the problems posed to the service-takers, all the way to the point when we started thinking of the solutions that we could provide.

These are a list of the Tools we used so far,

*Role playing- which was a tool through which we took up the roles of different identities. the roles taken up were of the elderly, the tourists, the devotees, the youngsters and the priest. This helped us a lot to come up with new ideas. It helped us understand the different point of views of the different people.

*Stakeholder Map- this is a Flowchart of all the people involved in a temple, starting right from the government(as temples are government funded) upto the devotees.

*Cognitive Walkthrough- It is alot like the customer journey map only its done after the service is designed, to check if its a viable option.

*Interaction Table- This includes all the interaction that took place in the group while we discussed the services.

*Personas- We take on the identity of the user and think in his/her way.

*Rough Prototyping- Making iterations and prototypes of all the ideas we come up with.

*Mind Maps- We used mind maps to map out all our discussions and all our random ideas, some of which were very useful to us.

*Group Sketching- we used this tool to draw out all our ideas and solutions to all the problems we faced.

After six weeks of working, and discussion with our Facilitator, Deepta, we decided to "Build a Harley Davidson". All this while we were only looking at the physical experience in a temple and looking for problems to solve but this week we finally came to a decision that we are going to rebuild a temple completely. Our aim now, is for the visitors of a temple to have a completely different experience.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thinking about your customer...

The above illistrations are the posters we made as a part of the weekly work we put in our Service Design class.

An efficient bus service is essentially about timely service, with comfort and at the hands of responsible staff members.

In order to make a people-oriented and user-friendly service, it is important to consider what the consumer expects out of the service.

1. The consumer must have the desire to use the service.
2. The service must make itself be chosen by him, over other services.
3. The consumer should not remember the service for a bad experience he had to   face.
4.He must feel like using it again.

The first physical interaction of the service with the passenger takes place at the bus stop.
Hence, the bus stop is an integral part of rendering the service, to give the passenger a positive experience.

Components that make a bus stop not only a touchpoint, but also an "information desk":
1. Proper information about
i. the bus routes
ii. timings of the bus
iii. destination of the bus
iv. time due for arrival to the bus stop
v. Bus number of the approaching bus.
vi. A ticket vending or a coupon punching machine.
vii. Ample space to sit.

Speaking of a smooth bus journey experience, it is important to ensure three things:
1. Crowd flow
2. Fare flow

A general observation in Bus travel in a city like Bangalore is:  The movement of the conductor is resisted due to a large crowd which makes it inconvenient for both him and the passengers to sell and buy tickets respectively.

Hence, we thought about making the ticketing system efficient by installing a coupon punching machine at the bus stop.
Coupons and passes basically replace actual money, hence avoiding any cheating   on part of the staff or conductor.

This is an extremely effective way, according to us, that would avoid bad experiences for the passenger and avoid incidents of misusing of the customers money.

Things that we are working on:
A case study of the transportation system of Curitiba, Brazil.

Tools we have used:

Constructive interaction
Customer journey map
issue cards
mind maps
context panorama
offering map

The Bridging Tool:

A member of our group, Rohit Dasgupta, came up with a new tool called the BRIDGING TOOL.
This tool basically considers two ends of the service- Ideal and existing.
looking at these 2 ends of the service, we formulate a practical service. That takes the best possible from both services.

Monday, August 29, 2011

an amateur encounter with service design

Service Design- A term that would sound vague and absurd when told to a design student, who expects to be ideating and illustrating all the time.
But Service design probably needs a Design background because a Designer is trained to immerse himself or herself into the process and not bask in the result.
Service Design is majorly about PROCESS, since it people from all spaces and backgrounds to use a public service.
Service Design is about making a customer’s experience through any kind of journey, comfortable and hassle-free.
One can call service design the intangible equivalent of “consumerism”, since it is always customer-centric and about impressing the user.
So probably we will be using the word “user-friendly” and “customer-friendly” a lot.
Coming back to making to a hassle-free journey, we define an ideal service as efficient, speedy, comfortable and one that offers transparency.

As an amateur, learning Service Design, me and my co-students couldn’t quite clearly understand what a service means.
Services are so deeply embedded in our life that it is hard to think about them in detail. Usually we end up saying, “Well, the service is still functioning. So it must be fine.”
For instance, our group has to redesign or modify the public transport service.
The important challenge we had to overcome was that of differentiating between a system and a service.
A service is a subset of a system.
A system involves policies, legal things and political connections.
A service is more about the “janta”
It is that which links people to the system that is being run.

Hence, Service Design is for the people, by the people, of the people.

It is about involving people to help people and mutually establish an efficiently functioning service.

Our Topic for Service Design is “Public Transort”

Week 1:
We made an ambitious entrĂ©e. Considering  that we could play with the already existing system, we thought of proposing a reduction in the number of Autos(that actually consume a lot of fuel and are very costly for daily use of common man). The autos would be replaced by buses, since autos in Bangalore do not follow a standard fare card.Buses owned by the State transport could be in three different sizes- large, medium and small- depending on which roads and distances they ply on.

This of course had loopholes, since designing a service does not involve changing the system and most certainly modifying the existing infrastructure is off the charts.

What is on the charts though, is modifying the infrastructure to create an efficient service.
That is what we did in week 2.

Week 2:

In the second week, we tried to define what an efficient bus service meant to us.
That gave us this definition: “An efficient bus service is a subset of an ideal transport system offered by the Government for the residents of the city and other population related to it, to carry people along a defined route, to and fro. The service must have a standard fare system, responsible employees, it must be delivered speedily, must be comfortable and must carry the passengers to the desired destination.”

Then we tried to draw a parallel between the existing and ideal service.
So we concluded that the BMTC fare system was fair and decent.

Speaking about carrying passengers to desired destination, we looked into the number of bus stops in every 2 kms.
We also thought of implementing a supplementary service (like autos-autostands) near every bus depot that ensure a continued tranort service for passengers. Such a service should be reasonable, available 24 by 7, and have a standard fare chart.
Also we think about how we could reduce the duration of the travel (which is a bit hard given the amount of traffic).

Week 3:

During week 3, we tried to begin implementing some rough clauses of an actual service.
Firstly, as students who have come to learn in a new city, where a different language is spoken, we had quite a hard time making out which bus goes where.

So through our thinking, we proposed establishing a information bulletin on every bus stop, bus depot and bus that includes a map, a bus number, bus route etc.
And inside every bus.

Some of the most important elements in a bus service are:

1.     Comfortable seats
2.     Luggage storage
3.     Garbage bin
4.     A readable map
5.     Proper lighting and ventilation

Things that we have begun to think about to make the service more efficient.

1.     Mode of paying fare. (eg. Installing automated machines or appointing a conductor at every 2 bus stops in addition to the ones in the bus to reduce a chaos)
2.     Crowd dynamics
3.     Proper arrangement for toodlers(like low lying handles etc) and senior citizens

So we could say, that we have almost started on the path to thinking of establishing an efficient service.
We can proudly say that though we are not awesomely equipped to design a service, but we are in a much better position in 3 weeks, thanks to Deepta’s knowledge and feedback that she keeps supplying us with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is Service Design Thinking - Book Trailer

This is Service Design Thinking introduces an inter-disciplinary approach to designing services. Service design is a bit of a buzzword these days and has gained a lot of interest from various fields. This book, assembled to describe and illustrate the emerging field of service design, was brought together using exactly the same co-creative and user-centred approaches you can read and learn about inside. The boundaries between products and services are blurring and it is time for a different way of thinking: this is service design thinking.

More information about the book: http://ThisIsServiceDesignThinking.com

Service Design in emergency waiting room



A collection of tools for design.

Soumitri Speaks about his Grabage project at IIT Delhi