Hey guys, let's share here some common pitfalls that we face when pitching for a new project/customer.
My proposal is that we co-create a list on what we know it should be avoided. Things we could Say differently or even don't say it at all when pitching for a Service Design project.
Let's use this group to help improve the service design business for everyone.
Here goes some pitfalls we've found:
1) We are avoiding saying "Design" too often. We now change it for "to project" or similar. Like in "We need to design the service for...", we changed for "we need to project the service for...". Somehow it feels more concrete to the business oriented heads we are talking to.
2) We recently changed our slogan from Design Loyalty - Experience Design , to Design Loyalty - Service Innovation. I loved the other one... but this new one seems to better convey the idea of "WHAT" we do, what is the outcome, more quickly and we can focus on showcase the "HOW".
- Service design is not a thing on its own. It is so easy to just 'design services by applying service design methods for better designed services...' Focus should be more on the effectiveness of the proposed approach to solve the identified issues at hand, not so much on trying to apply design methods for service development. This was more of an issue, when the whole service design thing was just beginning to take form. So, focus on solving the right issues, not on making it look like a service design project :)
- What makes your proposed solution unique? Couple of years ago, you were probably the only 'service design agency' pitching the project, but now there are many other agencies offering similar services. They may not call it service design, but they are getting it. Keep it tight and concrete. e.g what's the REAL value of contextual insight and how that will transfer into tangible business benefits.
A few things that have caused me trouble in the past.
1/ Too much description of the design process - clients told me they cared far more about the deliverable and the results it would bring them.
2/ Reframing the problem without giving due credence to the client's initial statement of their need or situation (usually expressed as the solution they'd like you to create).
3/ Words like - iteration, context, prototype - from my experience these kinds of words don't seem to hold a lot of meaning for most clients.
I think Tennyson's strategy of avoiding saying 'design' too often is a good one. I wonder whether to most clients 'design ' (as a verb) means something more like 'conceive of' and gives the impression of there being no tangible deliverable at the end of the project...
One thing I would like to hear more about is that many service design projects cut widely across organizations - so how do you pitch in a siloed business unit that can't say yes on behalf of others affected? It seems like the service design pitch (and execution) will be particularly challenging in those situations.
Where we've been successful with service design projects it has been where there has been clear ownership, or we are only taking on part of the service instead of trying to go end-to-end. And I've never used the phrase service design with a client.