Firstly, can you please give us a brief overview of the developments in service design and how the importance of service design changed the marketing discipline?
– Turbulent markets are a fact of life, especially for marketers. Today, we are dealing with progressively more sophisticated consumers where traditional marketing tactics have lost momentum and fail to address their needs. One promising solution is to provide offerings and business models that foster the value-in-use of products and services. This is pretty much concerned with the recently discussed paradigm shift from a product- to a service-dominant logic of marketing.
The essence of this discourse: established market players either shift towards services that create superior customer value, or become more and more obsolete due to radically new market disruptors. In this context service design could today be seen as a strategic imperative instead of being a managerial option. Developments in the last years have therefore moved from service design expert discussions about processes, tools or innovative ways of market research to a more strategic marketing focus. The latter is about how to build up fundamental new marketing routines of sensing & experiencing, resource integration, value creation and learning.
Why is service design an emerging topic within the digital business?
– Service design fits best to digital solutions as we live in a world of omnipresent interactive screens today. This is the ideal platform to build on for designing useful, desirable and distinctive services. At SinnerSchrader we apply service design principles and tools in two different ways. The first applies to our ‘usual’ design projects, such as the development of platform or ecommerce solutions. The iterative, user-centered and collaborative methods help us to strongly focus on the end user experience and to take multiple touchpoints into consideration. The second is about value-focused service developments within open innovation projects. Here we make use of the full range of methods and processes that service design offers. With due regard to brand strategies we develop services that – in the best case – disrupt markets by uncovering future business-potentials that boost long-term relationships with customers.
Axel, you are one of the curators of Next Service Design conference 2013 in Berlin, what’s the core theme of this year’s conference?
– The conference last year was more or less about basic theory. At this year’s conference, the focus lies on impressive real-life case studies, that demonstrate the success of service design and that provide performance-related insights into methods and processes. In this sense attendees will profit from having a look behind the service design scenes of companies like BMW, Deutsche Telekom and General Electric. Moreover, we have a range of excellent speakers from Scandinavia – the place where service design seems still to be much more developed. The NEXT Service Design conference will take place on September 16th in Berlin, Germany.
At last, please share a brief look into the future with us. How will service design change industries, which developments and trends are you looking forward to?
– I think it’s not service design that changes industries. It’s the changing user demands that shift the (digital) business to a ‘marketing with’ approach since ‘marketing to’ logic doesn’t appeal anymore. Following this trend, Service Design takes a leading role as gasoline for this new marketing engine. I am looking forward to excellent new digital services that build on these developments as we find almost virgin territory in a range of industries.
Axel Averdung has been working since 2008 as research assistant for the Chair of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Hamburg. His scientific focus lies in the fields of strategic marketing and communication management, the service-dominant logic as well as co-creative business model innovations. At University and working as a freelance management consultant he proved his expertise in transferring scientific knowledge, methods and data into management practice within several projects for agencies and consumer goods industries. Axel joined SinnerSchrader during fall 2013 in the fields of service design, digital ecosystem development and strategic marketing. After finishing an apprenticeship as retail salesman in a trading enterprise in Hong Kong, Mr. Averdung earned a double degree at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main in 2006. He graduated in Business Administration (main focus on marketing; Diplom-Kaufmann) and in Ethnology (main focus on economic anthropology; Master of Arts). His professional career started a.o. in the marketing department of the Deutsche Börse AG before he was engaged as management consultant at Adesso AG (formerly SITAGE AG) giving corporate advisory especially in the fields of service management.