The Lean Service Design process
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The Lean Service Design process

To meet today’s customer needs, we need to rapidly identify opportunities, generate ideas, test them and learn as much as possible. Eric Ries and Ash Maurya talk about continuous innovation and outline a lean process based on the three steps: Build, Measure and Learn.

Lean Service Design also relies on this cycle. The canvases guide you step by step through a lean and fast process.

But before you enter this cycle, there are some basic questions to clarify. The most important one is the reason for your project. Or as Simon Sinek puts it in his viral TED Talk: “Start with the why!” Why are you doing this? And for whom do you do it?

These questions are answered in the first two canvas steps in LSD. First you deal with the people and their needs working on the People Canvas in order to align them in the next step with the business goals and work out the “Purpose”. The corresponding Purpose Canvas will accompany you through the project and serve as a reference for all further steps. The canvas will be most helpful if you need to prioritize. No matter if it’s about ideas, experiments or features, you can always go back and see if they contribute to the purpose or to one of the formulated customer or business goals.

Identify opportunities before starting with ideation

Once you have clarified these questions and defined the purpose, you can use the customer journey – or “Experience Flow” as we call it – to identify opportunities and fields of action that can generate real added value for you and the customer. Each field of action gives you a framework in which you can unleash your creativity and work out detailed ideas on how to solve a problem or address a need in the best possible way. Ideally, the ideas are developed as scenarios or micro flows that visualize users and interactions. You will have to rate each idea based on the value propositions from the Purpose Canvas, because you can only test the best ideas. Special prioritization canvases will help you with this, which I will discuss in a later post.

Even the most promising ideas are largely based on assumptions that need to be tested before decisions are made and implemented. In the final step of the LSD cycle, you’ll need to use the Experiment Canvas to define these experiments and tell how and what you are going to measure. Once the experiments are complete, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and you can go on with the next iteration.

One canvas for each step

Each of the 5 steps is represented by a canvas, which confronts you with the relevant questions and gives you the right depth of detail. This is what makes LSD so simple, structured and user-friendly. You even can do the 5 steps of Lean Service Design in a single week. We call it a “Lean Service Design Sprint”. It allows you to develop innovative ideas and test them in concrete experiments in a very focused way and in a very short time.

In some of the next posts you will learn how every single canvas works and how you can be applied to your project. So stay tuned!

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