Monday, 23 March 2009

Very quiet for too long

My last post is over a month old. Far too long to still call this a blog I'm afraid. And the reason is also of  the wrong type: doubt.

My last three posts were about frontstage-tools, KEBS and safe-fail experiments. All three share a common trait that I call "distributedness", the fact that the frontstage, operational activities in knowledge-extensive organizations and safe-fail experments do occur in multiple locations and often timewise uncorrelated from each other.

Realizing that made me question a model I had coined around 2002 for Services Innovation. I call it SIM (Services Innovation Method) and here it is:


SIM, as you can see, is a circular model wherein (in my view) the red arrow tagged operation is the most important phase in the services innovation lifecycle. After all, it the service is not, or does not become operational, no service exists!

But let's say we have an operational situation at a certain customer and that customer shows signs (stimulated or not by the providor) that there is a need for a new service, or that the current services are becoming less fitting to the customers' needs.  Clever services operations managers together with services sales and or business development will at least start an investigation on what is going on, what has changed, etc. Some form of business or document consultancy: 


In some cases, a project will start specifically for that customer leading to the implementation of a new service. As I strongly believe one implementation cannot count as an innovation I have named the green arrow Inception, indicating that the one-off implementation of the service is comparable to a baby, a little helpless creature in dear need of nurturing before it will mature.

An so the SIM method continues and takes the process into the Elaboration phase where two pilots put more experience to the bones of our baby service, making it stronger to stand on its own feet. Next, a few test-implementations are done to get the toddler service into adolescense after which it is - with great effort of the parent(s) - plunged into adultness via a Productizing and Transition phase.

Sounds good? Well partly, I still like the Productizing and Transition phases, but Inception and Elaboration are no longer music to my ears as the distributedness mentioned above means that there is no single point of origin for a new service, but there are multiple, often not even correlated changes in the services operations (and the customers they serve) that eventually lead to the emergence of a new service.

So for today I leave you with my favourite picture of a services field, to which I will only add tha one (a) never knows where the conception starts, (b) will only know later on how many newborns will emerge and (c) that it is all a matter of sense-making to discover these early signals:


So, I did it. I dropped a bomb on my own model. Lets see what will emerge in the coming days.

I'll be back, hopefully sooner this time.

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