listening to what matters, talking about why it matters and doing something about it, together ;)
I'm a Senior Design Researcher and Service Designer in the Fjord London studio, bringing along my digital design and branding/communication experience to service strategy and research. Most of my work is at the intersection of design research and service strategy, which has influenced the way I think about service design in the context of product service systems. Below are few learnings that have been helpful reminders in my work:
Know all your audience groups, beyond the end-user
As a Design Researcher, you have two immediate audiences that require two different approaches: the end user and the design/delivery team. Research planning is just as important as research playback; just as we create different activities for various end user audiences, we also need to create different ways to communicate to our designers/developers/product owners based on their needs, expectations and ways of learning. This is where research inspires and informs the design process, by surfacing new questions, challenging point of views, reframing problems and revealing truths. We are the link between end users and the product team, so we must understand how to communicate with both groups.
Research to learn, not validate.
Exploratory research and tactical research go hand-in-hand. Although they are different in approach, they are both ways to learn; whether it’s to learn about a larger topic or the way someone navigates between pages. If you’re not doing research to learn something, then you’re already limiting possibilities. Hypotheses are there to guide your questioning and find truth, and it’s really just a starting point to dig further once you’ve understood how much of your hypotheses ring true. To stop your research upon proving or disproving your hypotheses is a way of shortchanging yourself from alternate ways of seeing something.
find value in the pivot
Deliberately evaluate design work based on how key insights have informed design decisions, how customer value propositions manifest and how business objectives are met. This will help us understand where we’re heading, and whether we need to pivot.
get real 'n go raw
Half-baked insights are okay to work with and should be shared as raw material in workshops with the product teams [to further refine in real-time]. This will help the development of whole insights and help product team members become familiar with the genesis of such insights.
begin with behaviours
If we’re here to design experiences, we need to understand who we’re designing for and what scenarios our customers usually find themselves in. As we know, designing for ‘everyone’ is the same as designing for ‘no one,’ and defeats the purpose of design. We came across this challenge [about our audience] at Kingfisher, and found the existing research exemplify key behaviours across the 7-step home improvement journey. We grouped these behaviours to use them as ways of seeing and understanding our customers, through context and key moments.
Purpose for behavioural groups:
1. A universal and common language to refer to our audience
2. Representative of our full ecosystem (customers, colleagues, professionals and influencers)
3. Transcend markets, regions and cultures
4. Adaptable and can be segmented into multiple personas based on needs
5. Fluid and allow customers to move between groups or occupy more than one
Most of my craft has come to life in designing and running research-led design workshops, insights-driven design development, service innovation through behavioural modes and experience principles, value proposition design, north star vision work, etc.