An Introduction to Service Design

An Introduction to Service Design

Designing the Invisible

Lara Penin

The service blueprint is a time-based matrix. The horizontal axis works as a timeline showing the sequential actions of a service unfolding in time. The vertical axis captures the interactions between users and staff and between frontline staff and back-office operations, breaking down the front-and backstage parts of a service provision. The service blueprint can be an analytical tool to map existing service deliveries (current states) but also work as a generative tool in the design or redesign of services (future states). In essence, the blueprint visually captures a service as a whole, breaking down its interactions through time and by actors such as user, front-office staff, back-office staff, and supporting systems and subcontractors, showing the touchpoints used in each step. The blueprint makes it easier to identify pain-points, flaws, and missing connections. Blueprints can be used to understand soft aspects such as behaviors, cause-and-effect relationships, and the technical components and support processes. While service designers frequently use a number of other time-based tools such as journey maps, the benefit of the service blueprint is its ability to capture information about both users and providers at the same time. It is the best tool available to designers who coordinate the balance between standardization and customization.

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