IBM have recognised the skills gap of people unqualified to manage service-based institutions. So they created an acronym – SSME – Service Science, Management and Engineering. This is basically service design, but fascinating that a technocratic company like IBM have turned it into a science- based practice. If you were to go now and get a degree in service management – would you expect a Bachelor of Arts, or a Bachelor of Science? Does it matter? I’m an arts grad so to me, yes, it would. And also service is a creative activity, which relies on the service provider creating a good customer experience at every moment, tailored to specific customers. It’s not a science.
But let’s be honest – IBM’s expertise is in selling to their services, and they’re savvy enough to know that service “design” would be too fluffy for them to stomach. Make it a science, with predictable process and methods, and then you put your captain of industry clients at rest. But I doubt very much whether SSME could be transformational.
Oh – and they have a pretty good definition of service design. Perhaps we could all sign up to it before the next SD conference! Save ourselves a lot of debate.