In the Moment

Service Design Tools in Action: The Service Design Scorecard

Simon Mhanna

A service design approach fuels the creation of products and services that resonate deeply with customers — when done well. With the lack of evidence and full certainty that ideas will work at the early stages of the journey – before we move into implementation and testing – service designers often struggle with the process of selecting ideas and solutions to move forward.

The Service Design Scorecard system effectively helps to identify and prioritize ideas in an effort to change the conversation.

The design process is not linear

Going through the design process and selecting which path to take requires the continuous involvement of customers and stakeholders. The process is not linear; many concepts and solutions get generated, selected, and refined at various stages of the journey.

As stakeholders go through the design process, decisions must be made. Is the work proceeding in the right direction? Do we have confidence in this direction? While we may think we make these decisions rationally, typically our first reactions are driven by emotion, rather than driven by evidence or information.

In The Rough Guide to The Brain (2007), Barry J. Gibb writes “…as the mind moves through a number of possible choices, it is the emotions that give the thumbs up or down, by fleetingly providing an insight into how the consequences of a specific choice would make us feel. However much it goes against our conception of ourselves as rational creatures, the role of the emotions in decision-making cannot be overstated.”

While gut feeling or low fidelity tools such as the impact/effort matrix may be enough for designers, it gets complicated when service designers collaborate with a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders with various preferences, priorities, and even agendas.

How to make better decisions with your stakeholders

A good evaluation tool asks and seeks to answer key business and design questions. These questions usually go beyond “Do we like this idea?” to delve deeper into the nuances of the specific concept or prototype — how it would be implemented, what impact would it have, how it will be received.

Here’s a question I think all service designers should ask: How do you balance your head and your heart when evaluating your own, or someone else’s, creative ideas?

How do you balance your head and your heart when evaluating your own, or someone else’s creative ideas?

I designed the Service Design Scorecard to help service designers:

  • better approach concept and prototype evaluation
  • provide a framework for selection methodology
  • quickly determine the value of a potential solution, and
  • confidently guide design choices

 

The Scorecard in action

We made the Service Design Scorecard to use with our clients. It has been tested with real teams in multiple industries, including telecom, banking, insurance, healthcare, not-for-profit, and the public sector. It works really well.

I’m sharing this with you for 2 reasons:

  1. I wrote an article about this tool for the Service Design Network publication Touchpoint, and wanted to also make the tool available to friends of The Moment. (The Touchpoint article is behind a paywall, but if you just want the scorecard and instructions, you can get those for free by providing us with your email address here)
  2. As we continue to collaborate on new tools and methods to advance the practice of service design and innovation, I would love to hear how you are using this and any similar tools in your projects.


A Scorecard case study:

I recently worked on a project with a client in the banking industry. We worked with our client to build a sales experience that both delighted customers and met existing business needs. We did this through research insights and co-creation sessions where we spoke directly to our client’s customers. It gave us (many!) amazing ideas and directions to test out.

After low-fidelity prototypes and analyzing both opportunities and learnings, our team presented eight concepts to the client’s larger stakeholder group from across the business. We used the Service Design Scorecard to evaluate and discuss each concept, and prioritize the next phase of the project.

As a result of the Scorecard, I could centre the discussion around the needs of the business and the design, leaving personal opinions and judgments out of it. I find it an immensely useful tool, and one that allows me to easily facilitate productive conversations in a group of diverse stakeholders.

 

Behind the curtain

The Service Design Scorecard is a qualitative decision-making tool in the form of a spreadsheet. It guides a screening process that evaluates and prioritizes your ideas and prototypes.

It integrates four key components: Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability – inspired from IDEO’s three lenses of innovation – in addition to a fourth component, Strategic Value, that examines the degree to which the solution is aligned to the strategic goals of the organization.

The Scorecard has two modes to facilitate confident decision making:

  1. Concept Selection: selecting an early concept (low-time investment)
  2. Prototype Selection: selecting developed ideas (higher time investment)

In both versions, the Scorecard presents a series of critical questions that participating stakeholders are invited to answer and rate against predetermined criteria (included in the downloadable spreadsheet.) The questions ensure the stakeholders study various design and business aspects of the proposed idea(s) and score it according to the identified criteria.

The tool invites different perspectives from stakeholders and enables the team to rank and prioritize ideas — and choose which ideas to move forward. Additionally, by this close examination of each idea, it surfaces key considerations and concerns, facilitating more thoughtful conversations amongst the various parties involved, leading to better insights and better decisions.

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 The original Service Design Scorecard article “Introducing the Service Design Scorecard” appeared in Touchpoint Vol. 10 No. 1 – From Design to Implementation (August 2018).
Touchpoint, the Journal of Service Design, is published by
Service Design Network.

 

To get your copy of The Scorecard, along with instructions, click here.

Please let us know how you are using this tool, we would love to hear from you! Respond in the comments below, or reach out to us on twitter @TheMomentIsHere

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