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Change the way you change: how design can transform your ability to address complex challenges

A Dutch government department. In the recovery process of a high profile welfare payments scandal citizens who were severely harmed by the government were offered financial compensation. Yet the recovery process was in itself often traumatic for this group of people. By integrating a deep understanding of the needs and perspectives of the parents, the legal perspective of our government, and the abilities of the executing organization(s) we were able to come to a shared reframe of the recovery process. The shared new perspective was that recovery is not solely a financial matter, but a recovery of a relationship. Any change that would happen after this was through balancing these integrated perspectives and working from this frame. 

One of the largest health providers in Brazil wanted to explore a radical change to its core business model: What would care look like if the focus was on helping clients pursue healthy lifestyles instead of treating diseases and medical conditions? For this specific challenge, the shape quality of Design was activated right from the beginning. We visualised a person’s ecosystem with activities, motivations, people, establishments, and others that improve or treat their health during their lives. This map showed us where our client was active and where it could be present to foster a healthy-oriented way of living.Our team then moved on to imagining a new relationship journey and materialised the initiatives needed to take place using an analogy of the table of elements. Specifically in strategic and service change projects, the ability that Design has to give shape to concepts through artefacts is what allows employees from many different areas to understand and engage with invisible and intangible constructs, taking them further.

A central, and very old, UK institution was struggling to modernise. Its underpinning processes and systems were not meeting the needs or expectations of a modern workforce and inhibiting business. Technology upgrades had failed to deliver and change management efforts had floundered leaving a fractured workforce. 

Employing design led change principles we took a highly inclusive approach and integrated the perspectives of the whole workforce and their users. We reframed their operating model around the services they provided. This service model provided a shape and a vision for the transformation to strive for. It also enabled us to orchestrate the services. We defined how they were run and how they would change as a whole portfolio, rather than disconnected parts, providing a way for the overall change to be governed. The organisation successfully moved from a three year change program into a new operating model of ongoing management and change.

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Joe Trainor Commercial & Marketing Director

I’m a believer that Service Design is vastly more than designing services. It is the systemic understand of your whole company through the lens of your customer. It is the catalyst for change and the north star that marries your customer, talent, operations and technology. For those in the know, SD is the happy path on which you will pivot from ESG to regenerative strategies – building a sustainable future for your corporation. I’m our chief ambassador to engage customers in SD.

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