How strategic foresight may support Service Blueprint

Using strategic foresight in service design may help your organization choose better solution to address future market possibilities and challenges.

What is Service Blueprint?
Service Blueprint helps to solve business problems on service and process’s level. It is a tool to upgrade actual and design new services, find new opportunity, increase margins. By mapping process’s elements designers can better understand what exactly creates the value for customer. Supported by knowledge from Customer Journey Mapping we may know when customer struggles with fail points and for what is he eager to pay more.

How does Service Blueprint look like?
During workshop we map the chosen service by dividing steps into three groups: process’s steps visible to the customer, steps invisible to the customer and additional processes, partners etc. Based on the map, we identify potential fail points and design a subprocess to correct a possible error. Then we plan time frames for every action. This will be the base for KPIs. During evaluation standard execution time it is crucial to make profitability analysis. Then we may design process’s improvements, to take advantage of potential opportunities – maybe we can move one step from visible group to invisible one and in this way make the process easier to the customer. Suggestions how to improve the service was described by G. Lynn Shostack in her article “Designing Services That Deliver” from 1984, so Service Blueprint is not a new concept, but it is still important and helpful as a way of service design.

What is strategic foresight?
Strategic foresight is examination of drivers and trends that shapes the future, influences the organization and changes customer’s behavior and needs in the long run of 20 years and more. As a result of strategic foresight we get scenarios of possible future – basic information for building plans, politics and strategies. Strategic foresight helps to better understand possibilities and future risks and create a proper answer for them.
Strategic foresight is helpful for organization because it delivers orderly, logical way of thinking about the future. On the first step foresight requires collecting data and trends in industry. During workshop participants create plausible scenarios of the future. They start with description of base future, what is the most common and expect vision of the future. Then participants think what may cause the biggest challenge and change in organization, but is still likely to happen. In this way alternative futures are build. All scenarios should be analyze to understand how the organization should protect itself form potential problems and how to take advantage of market opportunities, even before competitors will see them. List of recommended actions is delivers and based on it managers are better prepared for future challenges.

How strategic foresight may support Service Blueprint?
When the process is mapped in its current form, there is a time to add modifications or transform the design. Based on outputs delivered from strategic foresight managers have wider understanding of visions of the future and suggested themes to think of. With better understanding of future context managers see what options of change in the service may be not only the most profitable in the short future, but also address a lot of challenges in the long run. Taking under consideration many scenarios of the future, some recommendations may seem more proper in future possible context, even if them have not been seriously discussed before.

How to organize the process?
It is important to remember that strategic foresight operates in the long run of 20 years and more. It seems unpractical to implement recommendation based on such a distant vision and put it into operational practice. So implementing all farseeing observations to every day work is not necessary. However because in nowadays world everything is changing so quickly, leaders should keep an eye on disruptive trends and keep in mind future opportunities and challenges. Choosing which direction of service design should be taken is the key.
Strategic foresight should be carry out before team will start blueprinting services and to recommend modification or changes in current design.

What are advantages of this approach?

Using strategic foresight to understand plausible vision of the future may help managers change design of the service in the way which brings the biggest profits in the long run. It may be especially helpful to design extensive, complex services that are designed for years and are hard to change quickly. Awareness of plausible scenarios of the future with their market opportunities and potential challenges are excellent foundation for service design workshops.

Ewa Hordejuk

CX Consultant

Business analyst with background as an entrepreneur and researcher in advertising agency’s strategy department. Educated in the field of sociology, management and business process engineering. She likes to think, read and write about the future and create scenarios of the future.

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