Sometimes I feel that technology blinds our perspective of the world. If in one hand technology provides us tools of great importance on the other hand in certain contexts technology isn't the best tool - developing countries that need to provide every kind of jobs in order to provide economical power to the community and the obvious lack of technological devices or expertise.

This makes me wonder: As a MS student of Service Engineering and Management, would I be able to design a good service without technology? Because apparently sustainable services don't need IT's: Dabbwala

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Comment by Inês Carvalho on September 15, 2009 at 11:34
thank you all for your comments and inputs, I appreciated them very much and I hope that the "illconsidered use of technology" doesn't overcome us and that we can address real social needs.
Comment by rufflemuffin on September 13, 2009 at 1:30
I think you hit the nail on the head, that technology needs service design.

Especially those business' who jump on the social media bandwagon. It's about why we use that technology, what it does that is important to 'service' design/design thinking and what possibilities it can provide.

bang on fergus,
"Is it perhaps not 'the use of technology' but rather the 'illconsidered use of technology' that we are discussing here. As the wonderful Val Casey says in a video Arne has posted elsewhere on the site "We are not in the business of designing objects (or services), we are in the business of creating consequences"
Comment by Meena Kadri on September 12, 2009 at 22:56
Hi Ines

In case you're interested there was an article sometime back in the New York Times on Dabbawallahs which has a slide show also. Plus I covered them briefly for Monocle magazine a couple of years back and you can check out the article here.

One of the important factors of the Dabbawallah system is that it is intensely localised and has continued to adapt to local challenges. Its a brilliant example of bottom-up innovation that has attracted attention on business schools worldwide. I sometimes think that some of the more top-down technology-led 'social innovations' in less affluent countries are just a new kind of imperialism that don't actually address real social needs.
Comment by ayana baltrip balagas on September 12, 2009 at 22:16
Thanks for posting a great and provocative question.
Comment by ayana baltrip balagas on September 12, 2009 at 22:16
As RuffleMuffin says, in the basic sense, services don't need technology, and as you say, technology certainly needs services. A project that comes to mind for me is HandUp Congo. The need to help create a micro-finance structure in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drove the need to apply technology-the creation of a website that would extend the voice of the project globally, and serve to connect individuals and agencies.
Comment by Inês Carvalho on September 12, 2009 at 21:57
@ayana baltrip balagas: I believe that technology enhances the design of a service. What I'm questioning is: if I had to design, develop and implement a service in a tech-free context, would I be able to do it? Because I believe that I am "framed" - and this is a global trend - to design services supported by technology.

@rufflemuffin: that's what I think: services don't need technology... but technology sure needs services! Thanks for the example... Loved it!
Comment by rufflemuffin on September 12, 2009 at 21:47
In terms of service, and straight to the point, services don't need technology.

Although, ever more so, service providers are having to think very carefully about their offline and online services and how they link up, think public the other day posted a link about Halfords which discusses, albeit briefly, about their reserve and collect service.

You are right, perhaps in developing countries we are more likely to find services that don't use technology but it still exists not everything needs a computer or the internet.

For example, although I haven't seen the designs yet for the service delivery, are looking at using the existing infrastructure of the cola delivery vans, which having lived in Africa myself, run like clockwork. The project is looking at how medicine and re hydration salts can be delivered to the public through this network, and I don't see them using any specific technology to do so. Perhaps a timetable and a checklist, probably on paper.

In fact some services can be so simple they only need a piece of paper. I was going to say take for example, but I've drawn a blank, perhaps this might be a good opportunity to ask designers out there for examples.
Comment by ayana baltrip balagas on September 12, 2009 at 21:44
I'm not sure about your statement, "Because apparently sustainable services don't need IT's." What do you mean here?

I feel technology most certainly can enhance the design of a service, good service, as you say.


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