5 x 5, In-house Service Design, Ann Hintzman

Interview with Ann Hintzman, Innovation Director at Salesforce Ignite

by Thomas Brandenburg

Both the nature of our team and the nature of our work mean that we need to be pushing our practice. After every project we have a formalized process to understood what worked and didn't. Indirect mechanisms like case-studies also help us know which projects people feel proud and excited to share.

1. What are couple of the key ways you go about training or educating the rest of the organization in service design?

We are big on learning-by-doing. That happens in a couple ways. First, our projects are made up of both people from Ignite and people from the account team (i.e., account executives, solution engineers, architects, business value). They participate in every aspect of the work and leverage it to take their own work further. We also do explicit training about how to Work Differently. These are generally workshop based and explore the mindsets necessary to do this work. We've found that mindsets can be a more useful framing than specific methods because it helps people focus more on the why, less on any specific what.

2. What are couple of important factors needed in order to successfully set up and integrate an in-house service design practice?

Senior leadership support. I feel lucky that I joined Ignite 5 years into its development because I have the luxury of already being perceived as an amazing, valuable service we can provide our customers. Many of our engagements come directly from our CEO talking to our customer's CEO and deciding we want to do something transformative together.Space. How we work is different and needs the space to support collaboration, tangibility and project cycles. It doesn't have to be fancy or even cool, but it does need to foster sharing and critique of ideas. It's the second one, critique that I feel is often overlooked and the work can suffer for that. Oh, and these needs hold for physical and virtual spaces.

3. As we know, at the heart of service design is collaboration and co-creation—how do you go about finding allies in-house?

It's about helping people see how this work enhances their own work. Ignite explicitly “doesn't talk product”. (We focus on the user experience and customer business need). We work with people who make their living by talking product. When I ask them what they see as valuable, it's often about the conversations we open up that helps them understand our customer's needs and communicate more effectively with them.

4. Tell us about the metrics that your team works toward.Did our customer do something? 

We have an ongoing relationship with customers, so from a technology standpoint we know if they are making the changes necessary for transformation. If all we made was a great vision, demo and business case but nothing is done, then we probably missed the mark somewhere.Did our teams learn/develop? Both the nature of our team and the nature of our work mean that we need to be pushing our practice. After every project we have a formalized process to understood what worked and didn't. Indirect mechanisms like case-studies also help us know which projects people feel proud and excited to share.

5. What myth about (in-house) service design would you like to dispel?

Hmmm...I don't think of Ignite as in-house service design. We work with our account teams to serve our customers so it feels more like consulting with a broader set of stakeholders/teammates. With that caveat, I'd say that I used to think that working at a big company meant going slower. That is certainly not the case. When a project kicks off, it's moving at the same pace as life did when I was consulting just with more people to coordinate

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