by Thomas Brandenburg
I’ve also been surprised at how entrepreneurial we’re able to be—we still have to balance what makes our hearts sing with what pays the bills, but we get a lot of leeway to explore the blue sky outside of project work.
1. What are a couple of the key ways you go about training or educating the rest of the organization in service design?
Within Fjord we have a dedicated global team called Fjord Evolution that teaches Fjord/Accenture employees and our clients about service design thinking and methods. They do this through talks, workshops, a digital repository of knowledge and tools that is accessible to any one of Accenture’s 400,000 employees. At the studio level, I find that the best way to educate our clients and Accenture colleagues about service design is to work very collaboratively with them. We often have them working alongside us in the studio - something I rued in past jobs. But the effort is usually worth it, as we build partnerships based on mutual respect for our diverse areas of expertise that way.
2. What are couple of important factors needed in order to successfully set up and integrate an in-house service design practice?
The first thing you need is the top tier of leadership to recognize that there is value in an autonomous design entity. The amount of recognition that design gets as a bona fide profession is often diluted the further away you get from the champion who brought it into the company. If a group of people with a lot of authority are the champions, the in-house SD practice is more likely to succeed.
A second success factor is autonomy - which can sometimes be perceived as preciousness. But without this precious autonomy, I think in-house design studios are probably doomed.
3. As we know, at the heart of service design is collaboration and co-creation—how do you go about finding allies in-house?
Fjord Evolution’s efforts make finding allies a lot easier. To date they have introduced tens of thousands of Accenture employees to service design. I find that open-minded non-designers and young employees (particularly those right out of school) naturally gravitate to Fjord and SD once they know it is there.
4. Tell us about the metrics that your team works toward?
We talk a lot about the impact of our work and I think that for the moment, most of that impact is measured in financial terms. I co-lead the social impact community of practice for Fjord and the way that we talk about impact for our public sector and non-profit clients is quite different.
5. What myth about (in-house) service design would you like to dispel?
That we have been gobbled up by the corporation. The Fjord brand is really strong and 5 years in, we are still able to exist within Accenture as an entity with a distinct identity. I’ve also been surprised at how entrepreneurial we’re able to be - we still have to balance what makes our hearts sing with what pays the bills, but we get a lot of leeway to explore the blue sky outside of project work.
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