Service Design

Service as product is not new, but there is no doubt we are increasingly seeing; greater pressure for services to be attuned to user needs, and services encroaching or even replacing many traditional product scenarios.

In both cases, services can benefit by a structured creative design approach to better meet user needs and compete against ever improving competitors.

Cobalt’s approach to service design (or experience design) is based on our deep new product development experience refined over 23 years and 1200+ projects.

For service design we apply our core new product development principles

  • Understanding user needs and the real problem to solve
  • Developing creative solutions, and
  • Meticulous technical detailing (prototyping, refinement and documentation) to ensure the most efficient implementation and adoption

Traditional and IoT Driven Services

Traditional service industries, such as financial, medical, hospitality etc are all subject to change driven by any number of factors including competition, social changes and new technologies. Therefore these traditional services can all benefit from ‘service design’ where their service is deliberately designed to better meet user and stakeholder needs.

However, the new game changer in many industries has been shorthanded to ‘IoT’. The Internet of Things is where wireless connectivity and app-accessible control has become the key facilitator in ‘services’ enhancing or replacing existing products. For example, city-bike systems are an alternative to traditional bike ownership primarily as IoT technology enables users to find, pay and unlock bicycles through their phone.

Whether new services made possible by technology, or traditional services seeking to differentiate or perform better, Cobalt’s experience in design, engineering and implementation can add value to any businesses regardless of their sentences of finishing or not.

Example 1. Integrated Product and Service Design Assignment

Taking the earlier example, if designing a city-bike system from scratch, we would consider the total user-experience; which includes a holistic, multidisciplinary approach (combining product design, GUI design, electronics and software design management and project management):

  • Physical elements – the bicycle itself, docking station (infrastructure design), comms/battery enclosures
  • Digital elements – app, web design
  • Service elements – the overall user process or system design

In this case Cobalt would be involved in all of the above, ensuring the whole experience users go through from using the app, to adjusting the bike seat are all considered and meet > exceed the users’ expectations.

Example 2. Standalone Service Design Assignment

In other cases, the ‘service’ in need of design may have negligible physical or digital elements. For example, standalone service design assignments might include:

  • How a new food outlet develops a new way customers order and receive meals
  • How a sports products brand manages faulty products (i.e. how goods are received, reviewed and then either repaired > returned, or replaced)
  • How a scientific instrument manufacturer initiates, approves and records improvements and specification changes of their models.