Service Design, the new Change Management?

Some people shout that Service Design is the new Change Management, but I think that's too short-sighted.

 

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Service Design, the new Change Management?

Organizational change can be compared to product change. It is also a design process. How a change is introduced to users (customers or employees) is as important as the change (product, process, organization) itself. It is therefore crucial not only to properly design and implement the change or innovation, but also to properly design and manage the experience around that change. This means that change managers and designers best start flirting with each other.

UX designer, Service Designer, Change Designer

Let’s take a look at two key roles within design: the UX designer and the Service Designer. UX focuses primarily on the product or process aimed at increasing user satisfaction with a product. The UX Designer focuses on creating a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints within the digital channel.

The Service Designer is a sister to the UX designer, sharing many techniques, but with a different focus. Whereas UX designers focus on individual (usually digital) touchpoints, Service Designers focus on the full end-to-end experience (digital and physical). Those physical touchpoints can be things like buildings, hardware, teams and processes. In this sense, the scope of the Service Designer is similar to that of the Change Manager. They look holistically at the entire environment in which a service takes place.

Design is change & change is design

If you view change management as a service to your organization and employees, then it quickly becomes clear that the skills of a service designer can mean a lot in change processes. The skills, principles, methods and tools from UX and Service Design are equally applicable to change processes. That is why it is important that the change manager learns what service design is (learns to speak that language) and also starts working with it himself, especially when there is no luxury to hire a service designer. Conversely, it is also useful for service designers and UX designers to learn what Change Management is.

Service Design, the new Change Management?

Some people even shout that Service Design is the new Change Management, but I think that’s too short-sighted. Service Design can add a great deal of value in designing change. I call that part Change Design, the application of service design principles and methods to change processes. But it is also no more or no less than the front end of Change Management. After design, there is also a whole part of implementation, follow-up and coaching, for which a service designer often does not have the necessary skills. That’s where the change manager, coach or facilitator, whatever you want to call it, has an important role and experience with it.

On the other hand, I do believe that the better change design is done, the less intrusive Change Management will be for the organization. So using design skills in Change Management can reduce the need for many separate Change Management initiatives.


Change Design is that piece where the UX designer, service designer and change manager join forces to improve the experience of users (employees, customers). The ultimate goal is that the intended change actually takes place, because only then is a project successful.

A Ux-Designer is not a Service Designer is not a Change Manager and vice versa. They do all put people at the center of their thinking, but each has their own focus and specialization. We should not simply disregard these, but combine them into a very powerful whole that ensures an optimal customer experience.