The first thing you wonder about Ben Reason is whether his surname really is Reason, it almost feels too perfect given his choice of profession. Perhaps it is pure nominative determinism and he was always destined to apply logic to our complex world.
Ben’s background was in web design but nowadays he specialises in service design. He believes that to be successful we need to apply a design approach to the service industry and took us through some case studies to explain why.
Ben talked about the introduction of contactless debit/credit card payments for Transport For London and how it becomes really complex when you look at potential customer issues. He encourages us to think about more scenarios; what happens when everything goes wrong or what happens after the initial service delivery is done? He mentioned looking at individual user studies to help understand how people behave and what service delivery needs to address. His advice is to widen the brief with detailed scenarios before tackling the obvious tasks.
Ben briefly mentioned an idea of a digital wallet for mobile phones and showed us their funky packaging where pictograms explain the concept without words.
He also talked about Vivo, the largest mobile provider in Brazil, and their introduction of a new online payment platform. Using QR codes (Ben isn’t normally a fan) they encouraged people to move from paper billing to digital. They realised that people are more likely to adopt new services when their device is still new; this honeymoon period is a crucial time to introduce a new service model and so packaging was an obvious place for their message.
As is often the way with case studies, Ben’s examples were an interesting insight into the inner workings of a company, rather than being advice to be directly applied when back in the office. This didn’t detract from my enjoyment; hearing Ben speak about the design of service models was something I’d never heard about before and was well worth attending.