Week notes – 22nd June 2019

  • Everything a design team puts out, whether for an internal or external audience, should be written in the clearest, plainest language possible. It’s such a good discipline. All jargon, acronyms and service nouns should be avoided. Use the language you normally use
  • Lots of people are being put in the field with tools and techniques but no real consideration of mindsets. Service design, systems thinking, ethnographic research, and agile all came from some pretty deep philosophical thinking. To then turn them into a set of tools and templates that anyone can pick up is utilitarian and dangerous. And we’re seeing the results in a lot of frayed edges, lost detail, and failed business cases. I’m not saying everyone needs to do a PhD, but in the rush to ship the new thing, we shouldn’t forego helping colleagues understand the bigger picture of what all this means.
  • I spend all my time helping service organisations improve and innovate. They think it’s about technology, digital, data and all sorts of things. Often these things are involved, but they’re not often the most important things. After 20 years doing it, I’ve concluded that it really all boils down to being about humans serving humans – something which is aeons old and I think relatively holy in origin. When I see a team rediscover their commitment to serve a customer, it can feel quite a holy moment. Reconnecting that instinct to serve is key to turning a company’s prospects around. Yet here’s the paradox: it’s the data, technology and digital stuff that has got in the way – in the modern world, it’s separated humans from humans. The flashy zeitgeist word is that it’s disintermediated us. My work is increasingly about reconnecting clients and their teams, at a very human level, with their customers, who are also humans.
  • Here’s the jedi mind trick of it all. Customers, colleagues, leaders, managers. We’re all humans. Humans have always had an instinct to serve since time began. And businesses. Guess what? They exist to serve.
  • Humans have an instinct to serve. Businesses exist to serve.
  • Service is the heart of it.

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