Injecting service design capabilities into business innovation.
It is the second week of the proposal development unit, and it is time to disclose the topic I would like to work on for the next 6 months of my program.
And this is the status of my thoughts LITERALLY, not even kidding.
As a ‘designer’, I would like to solve all kinds of problems because that’s what I have been learning about. “No problem is a small problem” so don’t be bias. But for this unit, since we had to choose a topic, I chose “Business Innovation” and through this blog, I will try to reason out my choice.
What is Business innovation?
Business innovation is when an organization introduces new processes, services, or products to affect positive change in their business. This can include improving existing methods or practices or starting from scratch. Ultimately the goal is to reinvigorate a business, creating new value and boosting growth and/or productivity. (Cassidy, 2021)
Now, what business innovation is NOT
Innovation is the new “buzzword” and is quite often mistaken with the latest technology. That’s not it — the smallest change in the bigger system is also considered an innovation. Some of my favorite innovations:
Medium — making writing easy
iPod nano- carrying 1000 songs in your pocket
Netflix — transferring movie rental into an entirely streaming service
A dollar shave club — making it easy and cheaper to buys razors not forgetting their innovative advertisements
Why Business innovation?
With Covid 19 crisis, we will require companies to step up, and lead the charge on “building back better”. In this moment of transition lies a chance for businesses across every state to reimagine their purpose and role in creating the ‘new normal’ that we need to see.
Coming from India I have been raised around small businessmen. As I grew up I saw an era of digital transformation taking over the business of India. New Business models started coming in replacing the traditional ones like Uber -connecting people looking for a ride with people offering a ride, Airbnb, Netflix, etc. Startups started to gain importance Shark Tank became the new favorite and mobile applications delivered convenience in our lives. While things were radically changing around me, I asked what comes first for a startup — a user need? An idea of disruption? or a new business model? Well, I am still on the journey to figure this out.
With my enthusiasm in business and passion for design, I joined a small start-up as a User experience designer, where I worked on numerous banking projects trying to digitize their existing systems to bring efficiency. In some projects, I not only focused on delivering an experience for the end-users but also worked on backend workflow where I was introduced to a massive system of data flow, teams and role management, and hierarchy of decision making. Just when I realized the need to learn and understand systemic and service design which brought me to the MA Service Design program where I worked on projects that focused on social innovation and sustainability. Understanding new methodologies like Human-centered and speculative design. Here I figured that service design reframes new service development processes for value co-creation through a holistic understanding of user experience, co-designing practices, prototyping, aligning system actors with the user experience, and building long-term capabilities for supporting value creation. Basically creating value over creating products.
As a part of my next major proposal, I would like to focus on helping businesses create value and explore How can Service Design contribute to the business innovation model.
Identifying potential areas on the topic
Business innovation is a vast field and when I read more and more a lot of it focused on technology and software changes. However, as I had mentioned my passion lies in Design So I asked my self
How do I approach this topic through the lens of design?
How do I add an elect of sustainability to an existing business strategy?
Areas of interest:
Ups-killing — the new form of business innovation
With advancements happening in the field of technology, and the digital transformation of organizations there will be a constant need to up-skill people to maintain a balance between the employment rate and transformation. This was also one of the areas, I explored in my Design Futures unit where the concept revolved around a provocation of pushing professionals from the energy and construction industry to up-skill themselves so they are updated with the latest technologies to help lower carbon emissions.
Understanding post-pandemic business model
The pandemic has brought a wave of change in the form of how businesses have been operating so far. In education, the pandemic has amplified the existing challenges around the drop -out rates and inequalities especially for the lower-income group. Remote learning has brought a radical shift in the academic calendar for students and I feel there is a great opportunity to reconfigure this.
Business model innovation for circular economy
I was introduced to circular economy from the Student Service Design Challenge and have been keen on it since then. We as a team have chosen Sanitary products as our focus and trying to bring in some amount of circularity in them. While doing initial research for this challenge I came across a number of systems that require this approach looking at the consumerism we have encouraged and also been a part of. Adopting this approach might enable organizations to transition away from take-make-dispose linear production, towards business models that allow goods to be designed and produced for extended use, disassembly, reuse, and recycling from the outset. A model where organizations use the idea of the circular economy to create value.
Although my confused state still remains, I feel that companies are always looking for novel problems and solutions, synthesize ideas into business concepts and services. Lastly, without a proper innovation strategy, organizations might find difficulty in coping with constant changes and advancements even though they have a great business strategy. That’s where I want to play a role. I want to take up the lens of service design and approach innovation in existing organizations. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, I find some clarity.
Cassidy, F., 2021. Business Innovation: what is it and what could it do for you?. [online] Raconteur. Available at: <https://www.raconteur.net/business-strategy/business-innovation-guide/#:~:text=Business%20innovation%20is%20when%20an,practices%2C%20or%20starting%20from%20scratch.> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
World Economic Forum. 2021. 6 ways the pandemic has changed businesses. [online] Available at: <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/covid-19-innovation-business-healthcare-restaurants/> [Accessed 12 May 2021].