Wednesday, 11 February 2009

small things make big changes

Last Friday, I had an interesting discussion about the gaps between strategic planning and the implement process and organisational learning. Somehow the conversation lead to the two dimensions in system implementation: a technical dimension and a social dimension. The technical implementation is often top-down, for example a new admin policy being introduced to the organisation internally. While the social system works bottom-up in terms of organisational culture, attitude change, learning motivation among the individuals. Marty Neumeier talks about how brand only exist in the minds of people, while I believe it is a turth to many other things. So in any system that involves human interactions, including service system of course, you only get one chance to have ++ situation. And in most cases, we naturally land in +-, or even worse --. If we say the technical problem can be solved by introducing new structure, new media, new technology, new strategic statement; then, in order to solve the social problems, we may need to look upon smaller changes - the 'tipping points'.

Interestingly, in another meeting last week, a very talented MDes student Lauren Currie, or kown as Redjotter in cyberspace, talked about her experience in working on a emploibility work she did in Amsterdam with DesignThinkers. She said it is often small changes you need to make to get the system work. For exampel employing a female driver for the shuffle bus, so that women can go to work without religious concerns from their husbands. Small change, big differences.

So is it possible that in Service Design, there are two processes going on in every project simultaneously? You have a tecnical top-down process with structures such as 'blue-print' and a bottom-up process with conversations among all the individuals who are involved in the design process, directly or indirectly. Wonder if anyone has any similar thoughts? it would be interesting to hear what kind of reflections you guys get from practice :-)

and...oh yes, I am still halfway through the Tipping Point , far behind all my hard-working students here ;-)