How to use service blueprints
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How to use service blueprints

Design Thinkers Podcast #13
Service design

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About this podcast 

In the latest edition of our podcast, coach Simon Gough explains how to use Service Blueprints and why it makes design thinking even more powerful. 

Simon Gough is an experienced design consultant, facilitator, trainer, speaker and writer with clients ranging from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies to central government. He also teaches our Service Blueprinting course, made up of three sessions of 2.5 hours. A service blueprint is a is a diagram that shows how a service really works in detail. It connects the customers experience with the people and activities that help deliver that service. 

As Simon says: 

"What we're trying to understand with a service blueprint is what are the parts of the service that enable us to actually deliver that customer experience, that user experience?"

"So we get into things like for example: what's visible to the customer? What do they see when they're using the service? But also, what are those things that are invisible? What goes on behind the scenes to actually make things work? How does an organisation actually deliver a service?" 

How service blueprinting and design thinking work well together 

Simon sees two ways in which service blueprinting enhances the design thinking process. The first case involves a project where we may want to improve an existing service. "[It] is very much about what's the current situation. So we're at the very early stage of design thinking process, where we're doing our research, where we're trying to kind of build empathy, and so we might want a good way to map out a whole service." 

But we can also use a service blueprint in the development stage of a new or existing service. "So we might get to the point where we've kind of got some ideas, and we are thinking about a possible service that we want to create. One prototyping method is to build a service blueprint. In other words, how will this service be developed and delivered." 

Overall, Simon sees service blueprinting as an incredibly powerful skill to have:  

"There are not many other tools out there that can kind of give you that kind of level of detail and complexity and understanding that a service blueprint can give you. The ability to kind of visualise and map out a complete service from beginning to end, and every component of that service, is incredibly powerful." 

Why learn service blueprinting from Simon? 

Simon teaches both our Systems Thinking courses as well as our Service Blueprinting course, both which help in service design. "Actually, the reason that I'm probably involved in both of these courses is I'm a bit of a geek.... As a service designer, my whole use of design thinking is in building services."  

"And also I believe that, whatever you're doing, we're all kind of delivering services in some way."