Embedding Service Thinking In Organisations
Embedding Service Thinking In Organisations
Over the past decade, a lot of organisations have moved their business models from products to services in order to better serve their customers' end-to-end needs. Many organisations are still grappling with this shift and what it means for their product teams, to create and deliver the best products and services.
How do you get your organisation to move from product silos and towards end to end service thinking?
Jason Bootle, Service Design Manager at Babylon, will provide you with the wins and red flags that have arisen throughout his journey helping to align senior leadership around the end to end Babylon experience. In this talk, Jason will discuss:
- How they have structured the organisation around service thinking
- How design outputs can align and empower people in your organisation
- How working in partnership with senior stakeholders you can realise your vision and deliver the best experience for all users
Hi, I'm Jason Bootle. I'm here to talk about Embedding Service thinking in Organizations for UXDX, EMEA.
Today, you're going to learn about how we have been embedding service thinking at Babylon, and I'll be giving an example through a project called the Product Working Group. And if you're new to service design and service thinking, I'll give you some definitions and how we've structured our organisation around service thinking and how design inputs can align and empower people in your organisation to embed service thinking within yours. And finally, you're going to learn how working in partnership with senior stakeholders. You can realise your vision and deliver the best experience to all your users.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the best experience of all? Mirrors reflect reality. They don't lie. Well, unless you're going to a Funfair and you're in one of those halls of mirrors and it was kind of weird ones, or if you're a vampire, maybe. Well, actually I think it, it's probably reflecting a reality you don't really want to know about and that's it mirrors play back a reality and you have to take ownership, process it and figure out what's going on.
Let's just park that thought for a moment. I work for Babylon Health, we're a health care company. We were founded in 2013 and since have delivered millions of clinical consultations and artificial intelligence/AI interactions. In 2020 alone, we've delivered over 2 million clinical consultations and about 3.9 AI interactions. We worked with governments, health providers, insurers across the globe and we support healthcare facilities from small local practices to large hospitals. And our mission is to putting an accessible and affordable quality health care service in the hands of everyone I know and it's a great mission.
And I worked part of the experience design team at Babylon, and there's a team of over 50 of us. Covering many discuplines: design systems, accessibility, user research, product service design, behavioral science, content and localisation and design operations, and we're hiring. So, get in touch, check the job board. And our goal is to understand and design solutions for the people we serve and the people we serve are our members, our patients, and the clinical providers that deliver the service across the world. And as a result, our experience design team spend hours each week talking with these people, understanding their needs. So, we can create a very personalised experience for our members, no matter where they are in the world, whether that be in Rwanda, whether that be in Mississippi, rural Mississippi, or in London. We do this so we know that we're building the right things for their needs. And this reminds me a lot of the quote from Peter Drucker. So, he's an Austrian American management consultant, educator and author, and he has this quote, "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer." Now, some would argue that purpose of business is to create money. And yeah, there's truth in that, but really you create money by creating value and you create value by meeting the needs of people. If you're working in government or nonprofit, if you don't focus on your customer, on the users, on the people you're raising money for, the people you're serving, you will fail. The charity will fall. Governments will be voted out.
At Babylon, if we're not meeting the needs of our patients, of our clinicians we're in trouble as well. And we need to meet those needs globally for people. So, what is a service? "A service is something that helps someone do something." I love this quote, like learning to drive, buy# a house, have a holiday and Babylon it's about, I want to get welI, I need care. And it's been interesting over the past decade or there's been a shift away from products towards services. So, many companies have moved to that. If you think about companies like Netflix or Airbnb, even Tesla. Although it's a product, there's a service attached to it. Dewalt is another one, the power tools where you subscribe to the tools, if the tool breaks or there's a better one that gets swamped out, services move towards services.
Service design is around the shaping of an organisation's resources that result in better outcomes for users. In our case, our users, our members, our patients, care providers, doctors, nurses, our care enablers, the support teams, the operations that deliver the service. And service design is looking at the end to end, where does the user's journey start and where does it end. But we're also looking front to back. We're looking behind the scenes. We're looking in front where the interactions are happening with the users. With service design, there's a lot of systems thinking involved with this. Everything is connected. We're looking for those connections. If you change something at the start of the service, what does it mean further away down and vice versa? And if you think about clinicians, doctors are doing a similar thing, they're looking for connections, they're looking for opportunities. They're looking at that holistic thing about what's going on in your life that could be influencing your health. And if you think about, I was chatting to a colleague about a superpower. Each profession, each discipline has a superpower. And what is the superpower of a service designer? Is dealing with that fuzziness and that complexity. Identifying connections. We like being in those fuzzy complex areas because we have an ability to visualise that complexity and simplicity.
So, how are we embedding service thinking at Babylon? Well, I'm glad you asked. So, the cool thing. Well, the first thing, another cool thing but the first thing to start with is user problems. I mentioned all the users that we have; patients and doctors and support, and you really want to love their problems. Don't love the solution. We want to get into that problem, really understand what's causing it. So, then you can look at all the different ways to solve that solution. The next thing is around measurable outcomes. How do you know you're doing a good job? I talked about that complexity, everything is connected. Those systems thinking. If you make a change somewhere, how do you know it's made the right impact? You need to have measurable outcomes. What does success look like? Are you measuring the right thing?
The next thing we we've been doing about along is we've structured our organisation around experiences. Amy Keeling is our VP of Design and she's set us up around a centralised partnership. This is based on the work of Peter Merheltz and Kristin Skinner, but our team is focused on member and clinical support experiences, end to end and with partnering with feature teams and product and engineering. So, there's this partnership where we owning that experience. We set up our teams around engagement, managing your health, getting care and getting treatment.
So, let me tell you about a problem we had. I mentioned earlier, we have this product working group. We had a north star vision at the start of the year of where we wanted to go with the experience and when you have a vision, that's great. But the hardest part is how to start iterating towards that vision and how to set off. And it was suggested we set it up with this product working group and what that was, was getting key senior leadership across the service, marketing, product engineering, clinical operations, XD, experienced design research, and design and content. And we wanted to be that opportunity to be a mirror to the organization. Oh, hang on. There's that word mirror, we want it to mirror to the organisation what the experience looked like. And the outcome we were looking to achieve was alignment across the organisation, across that experience. We wanted to unblock any barriers to delivering the best user experience. Now, Babylon is a big company now. It's growing very, very fast. I've worked in some smaller companies even in smaller companies, you're going to have some misalignments and stuff. You can see from this quote, we've had that we've grown fast, so there's going to be glitches and there's going to be times where things are just not quite gelling. So, we were keen to actually knuckle down and align and get that alignment.
So, what did we learn from the product working group? There were three things I'm going to talk through. I'll be focusing on one in-depth. The first thing, it was around design outputs. As a service designer, I told you were kind of trying to map complexity. We're trying to visualise complexity and mapping allows you to sort of understand it as is where you are. If you don't know where you are, you can't actually figure out where you need to get to and that allows you to map future stakes. And we do this through a variety of mapping techniques, service blueprint, journey maps, story mapping, and ecosystem mapping. I'm not going to go into depth, but if you want to catch up with me afterwards, we can talk about those. The other thing we did was created a taxonomy from this, and that's a common language to describe things. So, one of the things, when you've got a big organisation, you would want someone in Wolverhampton when they talk about onboarding, they know exactly what it means as does someone in Rwanda or Missouri. We wanted a whole organisation to have a common language across things and we did that by creating this service taxonomy. This allowed us to have that wayfinding, that navigation, shared understanding. The next thing that we learned from Product Working Group, that allowed us to embed service thinking in the organisation was the skills and knowledge transfer. So, we're creating these doubt design outputs, and this is allowed us to actually take a leaf out of the book of surgeons, how they learn. They see one, do one and teach one. So, we created these assets, we created these things which then could actually be used by other teams: the taxonomy and creating mapping templates for people to take on commercial team have used it; user research teams have used it in usability studies, product designers, product. Fantastic and that's it. And these things tap into different mental models, visual, auditory, reading, and writing kinesthetic that; See one, Do one, Teach one. You can build these and it starts to really embed the service thinking that ends wins across the organization and it's being tricky. There's a lot of work to get that text rolling inputted in and fed back, but it's reaped with rewards.
The final thing I wanted to talk about in depth was around a collaborative environment. Now, this is difficult, I kid you not. In many organisations, but we wanted to be: A, we wanted to be that mirror again. We want it to be showing, not telling. We wanted things to be self-evident and people to make the connections themselves. We wanted that ownership. Self-evident like a mirror and that's hard when you're dealing with senior leadership, there are some times you can have egos. Now, we don't have many egos at Babylon thankfully. We have some like any organisation, but you wanted people to leave their egos at the door and you wanted to create a safe space. We wanted to create a safe space for open discussion. Now, being in places where there's been rivalry, the way that the KPIs have been set-up. There's annoyance and whatnot, and you get seagulls come in, you may have heard of seagulls. People that come in and swoop and poop and then leave and HIPPOs the highest paid person in the room who's everyone's worried about saying anything about because they're going to upset them. It's challenging, but we wanted that conversation. We wanted that discussion. We wanted people to see the experience. Make up their own minds and then start having that open discussion. How are we going to unblock things and move it on?
And it's not easy, but we've done it. We've got really good engagement from senior leadership and they're invested in these meetings and we've done that by creating value.
Looking back at my career, I've had these sessions with senior leadership and I realised I've just wasted people's time. I haven't actually used their time and use their skills to the best. We talk about superpowers earlier. What does senior leadership good at? Ask. Blocking things, making decisions, moving things on. We've made sure we've made these meetings around that. What is the ask where are we want from senior leadership? We want to be direct. We've also learned rescheduling doesn't work. Sometimes we've had clashes. You're dealing with lots of busy people across the organisation. People can't make it. We've tried rescheduling. It's made it worse. We've got less people come. Keep the diary date in the calendar and record things. If people are engaged, they will watch it and you can watch things on double speed nowadays. So, that's all good as well.
The last thing really is around understanding business. If you're going to enter this space, you really need as a service designer, you're looking at the end to end. You're looking at the front to back. You need to have a good understanding how business works and what the goals of business are. And before these meetings, we've made sure we've had some rules I think is really important. We have rules of engagement and we've had a clear agenda and we've had outcomes. So, we people know in advance why they're coming and what they need to give, what they need to bring to the table in those sessions. And when you're facilitating, it's really good to have silence. You want to create that space for discussion. You want everyone have a voice you want to keep time, but you want to keep people moving on and you need to up the energy you need to make it enjoyable. It's been hard enough year as it is. So, let's have fun with these meetings and as part of the moving things on anything that's outside of those outcomes that we're trying to achieve. And focusing on those outcomes with parked anything that's not outside of those instead, "Okay. We'll follow up with this later. This is another discussion." And as a result, we've reviewed actions. So, we've kept an action log and we reviewed them because we want to make people accountable. If this is going to be a useful meeting, you've said, you're going to do something. Did you, do it? But practice and be prepared - 100%.
And finally, we wanted to create as part of that collaborative -- we needed collaborative software. We've been in a pandemic, we are in a conference now we're not face-to-face unfortunately, hopefully next year, but thankfully there's lots of software now that's allowed us to do that. We're a global company. We have people in America, in UK, in Asia, Africa. You need that software to collaborate to get together. So, we've been using Zoom, we've been using Mirror, Figma and Slack, and there has a good usability to them. We've ran it all sessions to help people quickly understand how to make comments and leave post-it notes and things like that.
We still have lots of challenges to overcome. This is an iterative process. We're still learning. Getting the right people in the room sometimes, and also making sure the focus has addressed the whole end to end and everyone in the room is weighted right. As a product and engineering team, we often can focus a bit more of that and forget a little bit more about the operational and clinical side, but we're addressing those things which is great.
In conclusion, we've been embedding service thinking by focusing on user problems and measurable outcomes, organising our team around an end-to-end experience, empowering people to create shared understanding through design outputs. And we've created a leadership forum to mirror and own the end user experience. And I'm really proud of this work. I think there's lots of people involved. I haven't been able to shout out, but it's come back in this product quote, "The bigger picture has become clearer, not just individual views of the product. It's helped me identify who to work with rather than hurdles to overcome."
Mirror, mirror on the wall who has embedded service thinking best of all? Thank you.
If you'd like to get in touch about working at Babylon, hit me up. That's on the job board.
Thank you very much.