From Waterfall to Continuous Innovation
Welcome to the start of our series, in which I want to introduce you to the Lean Service Design Framework in all its facets. I will discuss the most important canvases, explain their purpose and strengths, and provide theoretical excursions on important aspects of service design.
Today I want to talk about the reason why we developed the LSD Framework and why we think it answers today’s challenges of continuous innovation.
But first, I’d like to give you a bit of context. As you can see in this graphic, since the industrialization we had several shifts in the way we built and delivered products. This shifts were never made just because a group of smart people got together and decided to do things differently. It always happened in response to a change in how customers consume and demand our products. This change was triggered by a technological milestone.
When the first software products appeared in the 1970s, we simply adopted the way we produced goods and applied it to software development. We worked in a staged process starting with collecting requirements, followed by a long period of time in which we just built the entire product and then delivered it. Market validation took place years after the first concept was created.
The production of software was expensive then. Not to talk about changes after release. This made the entry barrier high and competition low. So the main objective was to reduce the risk of changes and planning was crucial. The winner was the one who executed the plan on time and on budget.
In the early 90s personal computing conquered the world. The demand for software increased dramatically. Requirements changed while you were building a software. New methods were needed. This was the birth of agile concepts. The development process became incremental. Short cycles of requirements gathering and building were followed by frequent releases. Yet validation was made only periodically after some sprints. The goal was to be fast. Only those who were agile enough to react quickly to changes survived.
With the invasion of the internet in all areas of our lives in early 2000, when products went from being delivered in a box to being delivered over the internet, it was no longer enough to simply build what customers said they wanted. Because by the time you built that, you learned that what they really wanted was something quite different.
In addition, new technologies are fundamentally changing the entry level for small businesses. It has become cheaper and faster than ever to introduce new products, which means that there is much more competition than before.
To meet these changing requirements, we need to fundamentally change the way we develop products and services. We need to get into a fast process of continuous innovation and optimization. And we need to involve our customers at every stage of development to understand what their needs really are. The most successful companies today are those that experiment and learn fast. Because in the end it’s all about the speed of learning!
That is where Lean Service Design comes in
Lean Service Design is a canvas-based approach that takes you from understanding the context and needs of your clients into a rapid cycle of identifying opportunities, generating ideas and translating them into experiments.
Lean Service Design is based on 3 central principles. It is lean and fast with a minimum of documentation. It is collaborative to bring together diverse knowledge and to avoid time-consuming meetings and alignments. And finally it is a structured way to keep the focus and the right scale of thinking. This will make you and your team learn faster!
In the next post we will introduce you to the structure of Lean Service Design. So stay tuned!