Unveiling the impact: Witnessing service design drive business success

Adam Barker,

User Experience and Service Design Consultant

Published: November 28, 2023

Service Design can be a hugely transformational tool in the ever-changing business landscape. It's not simply about adapting to change and is more about driving change for your clients and uncovering the minor details that have a significant impact. Design thinking is the engine that powers service design, bringing together siloed departments of stakeholders and solving complex problems. This blog post explores the transformative impact of service design on business success, highlighting how it reframes problems, validates solutions, and uncovers hidden opportunities. We'll delve into how service design can revolutionize your business through real-world examples and practical techniques like problem statements, value propositions, journey mapping, and blueprinting.

The initial challenge: Misunderstood problems

One of the first challenges a service designer encounters when embarking on a new project is the stakeholders' limited understanding of the problems. Projects are often already in progress with UX designs underway, leaving you little room for a deep problem assessment. Therefore, there's a need for reframing to ensure that what is being built is solving the problem.

Pressured by tight deadlines, stakeholders you work with will naturally push themselves into starting production immediately without the time or space to think through the problem. As a result, the final product may only solve 30% of the problem with the feature sets they have or, in extreme cases, not address it. This is where the concept of 'Failing fast' becomes invaluable. In these circumstances, by getting the business and its stakeholders to reframe with problem statement workshops and developing value propositions, service designers can reframe the problem and even guide the project toward a necessary pivot. Failing fast allows the project to validate itself continually, saving time and resources.

The hidden complexities: Narrow problems with many unknowns

The second problem a service designer may experience is where the business assigns a specific problem to be solved, but the landscape is filled with unknowns. In such scenarios, blueprinting is your friend. Detailed AS IS process mapping is essential to unraveling the intricacies of the existing workflow. 

Service designers can uncover previously unacknowledged or glossed-over processes through multiple iterations of the AS-IS process with stakeholders. They may identify underutilized business channels with single points of failure or outdated processes. Often, these AS IS journeys reveal time-consuming, paper-based operations. You will find that these AS IS journeys reveal time-consuming, paper-based operations. These revelations are the foundation for hypotheses and solutions to improve outdated processes. 

Small changes, Big impacts

The power of Service Design becomes evident when it focuses on the seemingly insignificant details that, when improved, yield substantial benefits. In one instance, Virtusa worked with a client to optimize a back-office task. What seemed like a small change resulted in thousands of person-hours saved, making it an obvious choice for the client to invest in improvements. This streamlined process was then handed over to UX Design and Prototyping to test with users, ensuring the client's success through both efficiency gains and cost savings.

However, the impact of Service Design can't just be limited to saving money. Reducing paper-based processes can save lives in some sectors, like healthcare and incarceration. This underscores how even seemingly unrelated aspects can have a profound impact on safety and well-being.

Beyond the bottom line: Ambiguous success criteria

Most businesses tend to focus primarily on their bottom line when evaluating success. However, service design can highlight these ambiguous costs by employing design thinking techniques, such as problem statements, value proposition canvases, journey mapping, and blueprinting to think about the project's revenue generation in a different way and pursue new revenue streams. 

For instance, in healthcare, focusing on end-users' preparedness for donating blood, considering factors like health, rest, and alcohol consumption, significantly improves the efficiency of the blood donation process. Further efficiency gains are achieved by excluding ineligible donors early in the process. Service Design reframes the problem from a decline in donations to ensuring users are adequately prepared, demonstrating how it can impact the bottom line by optimizing processes and generating additional revenue. 


In conclusion, Service Design is not just a method for adapting to change but a powerful force that drives positive change in businesses. By employing design thinking tools and techniques (Problem Statement, Value Proposition Canvas, Journey Mapping + Blueprinting), service designers can reframe problems, improve processes, and discover innovative solutions that impact the bottom line- this can even save lives. As businesses continue to evolve, the role of Service Design becomes increasingly critical in achieving success. It's about uncovering the minor issues that have enormous impacts and substantial cost savings, a strategy that every forward-thinking business should embrace.

Transform your business with the hidden power of Service Design. Learn how it reframes problems, drives innovation, and uncovers significant opportunities.

Adam Barker

Adam Barker

User Experience and Service Design Consultant

Adam is a versatile professional with experience in many sectors, such as entertainment, healthcare, insurance and financial services, logistics, and fashion. With a skillset covering user experience, service, and production, he has collaborated with notable clients like Rovio, Zeptolab, Peanuts, Hasbro, Yodel, NHS, Talk Talk, and BT. Throughout his career, Adam has prioritized understanding and enhancing client processes and products, consistently applying Design Thinking principles. Currently, he serves as a User Experience and Service Design Consultant at Virtusa, where he continues to bring his expertise to the forefront of creating impactful and user-centric solutions.

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