Magazine

The Livework wish list
for 2017

If we learned one thing from 2016, it was that the business of predicting the future is a fool’s errand. The world is getting more complex and that means it’s hard to understand an issue or a trend in full.

The gap between trends and reality

Consider a tech trend that developed the feel of inevitability last year – driverless cars. Technically they seem to be reaching maturity levels where doubts about their viability are resolved. However, the systemic issues that arise around them are only just unfolding. What will the impact be on jobs, on the data processing required to manage large numbers of cars, on the make-up of our city streets and on the fragility of our infrastructure? Predicting is a mug’s game. We need to use cycles of trialling and learning in order to move into the future with surefooted, research-based answers about real-world impact.

With this in mind, this year’s Livework trends article is going to take the form of a wish list. A brief overview of things we hope to see emerge as trends this year or trends we’ve noted and wish to continue.

Wish 1: More organisations realise the benefits of prototyping

In 2016 more organisations tried out design tools and methods to tackle business and organisational challenges. The process of listening to customers with empathy and generating and prototyping ideas is a very different way of developing and improving products and services. Abstract ideas such as ‘customer loyalty’ or ‘omni-channel experience’ become tangible. Refining ideas based on insights gathered through user-testing means that the strategy is translated to business and customer realities before massive investments are made in people, systems and processes.

We wish for businesses to use design as a way to develop more robust strategies; taking away uncertainty, overcoming resistance and reducing risk of failure.

During 2016, Livework worked with a global luxury company using prototyping as a tool to take strategy into reality. This got everyone from the CEO to the staff on the shop floor engaged and excited about widening the focus of the brand from sales to service. Testing concepts with real staff and customers enabled them to successfully develop and launch a range of valuable new services, with the participation and buy-in of the entire organisation.

Wish 2: Organisations work together across departments to everyone’s benefit

The desire to connect beyond silos and see the organisation as a whole, is growing. ‘It’s so good that we’re all in the room together’, is a phrase we’ve often heard during the sessions we run with large organisations. True collaboration and cross-functional working is a rarity, but the recognition that it’s valuable for alignment is encouraging. When a team comes together to understand how they deliver value to customers as well as for their organisation, true creativity results.

Last year, we got to see a long project with a manufacturing company come to fruition. This project aligned Sales, Product, Finance, Marketing and Technology teams around a common customer need and business ambition. What’s exciting to us is that there are benefits to all parties in the new design. Customer satisfaction is up, sales have doubled and the operational teams are seeing greater efficiency and ease of doing business.

Wish 3: Others follow where Governments and financial services lead

In the UK two sectors have lead the way in turning digital adoption into business as usual and, tellingly, they are both keen proponents of service design. Government work accounted for half the market for service design in the UK last year and this is in line with trends in the Nordics where these sectors have seen service design as a way to tackle large-scale challenges.

For government, digital transformation offers the opportunity to reduce costs whilst meeting ever-higher service user needs. Service design is required to ensure that the new digital services actually deliver on real user needs and can be translated into new delivery capabilities.

For banks, service design does a similar job in defining the customer experience of a radical shift occurring in the industry away from physical and telephony based services towards simplified and seamless mobile and online services.

In both cases there is a clear, central recognition that it is essential to design new digital experiences in relation to pre-existing non-digital channels and to the underlying processes, policies, regulations and systems that deliver them.

We wish for more organisations to recognise service design as a vital element to help translate future (digital) services into reality.

Wish 4: Service design teams up with behavioural economics

The field of behavioural economics helps us to understand and predict people’s behaviour. Government and businesses employ behavioural insights to help citizens and customers make better decisions. The potential is huge because of the scale at which this can be deployed. However, many organisations struggle to understand how to turn these well-proven theories into practice.

Our final wish for 2017 is to develop the field of service design to incorporate behavioural economics and generate massive impact for our clients, their customers and society and the way we live and work.

In 2016, we used behavioural insights and translated them into specific business outcomes. Our designers took insights from customer research and crafted interfaces such as digital forms that led to desired outcomes such as greater honesty and fraud prevention. The results saved the company we were working with thousands of pounds, even within the limited scope of the experiment.

2017: When we say design, we mean business

Our four wishes are part of our ambition to use design to deliver great value to businesses, organisations and end customers. We actively research, collaborate, and share our findings in these areas and many more. We look forward to another year of great work with our current and new clients.

In this edition

Thank you, Uber! Insight
12 January 2017

Thank you, Uber!

Read more
Service is about more than transactions. Service is core to who we are as humans. Blog
11 January 2017

Service is about more than transactions. Service is core to who we are as humans.

Read more
A new offer to tackle missed appointments Client Case
Pfizer

A new offer to tackle missed appointments

View case
Behavioural insights are a gold mine for your business Article
Customer Behaviour

Behavioural insights are a gold mine for your business

Read more

Previous editions View all (58)

A second reading of McKinsey on Design
November 2018

A second reading of McKinsey on Design

Read more
Employee engagement: A salary is not all people work for
December 2018

Employee engagement: A salary is not all people work for

Read more
An agile-CX transformation at adidas
October 2018

An agile-CX transformation at adidas

Read more
Designing for a bright mobility future
September 2018

Designing for a bright mobility future

Read more
Smart machinery - the backlash
August 2018

Smart machinery - the backlash

Read more
Nudges aren’t the holy grail of behaviour change
July 2018

Nudges aren’t the holy grail of behaviour change

Read more
Interacting with Customers: Lessons from GDPR
June 2018

Interacting with Customers: Lessons from GDPR

Read more
Experiential shift: helping luxury brands evolve
March 2018

Experiential shift: helping luxury brands evolve

Read more