Monday, 28 June 2010

ExSer HQ Sessions - growing to maturity

Last Thursday I attended an ExSer XQ session in Almere. This one was titled "does better customer insight lead to better service innovation". See here for info in Dutch.

ExSer is a Dutch organizations that attempts - since halfway 2009 - to increase the interest and knowledge about Services Innovation in the Netherlands. The XQ sessions are aimed at improving the knowledge of Services Innovation as a profession. Each HQ session features lectures from business, academics and consultants so that these groups learn to from each other. At least that is the idea.

I won't discuss the details of the presentations here as my focus for today is that I noticed that the public that comes to these types of events is maturing fast. An ever growing crowd of practitioners from business shows up and has lively discussions. Considering the three blood groups separately I noticed the following:
  • As said, the business community is growing and maturing. They tell practical stories about pragmatic projects - in this case from KLM - that illustrate very well that companies, especially larges ones, are actively seeking ways to improve customer experience, which starts with ... understanding it. Naturally, this often starts from marketing, but there are participants from e-business and government and financial/insurance organizations front and back-offices too.
  • The consultancy community seems to fall apart in two parts, the pragmatic service design community that focuses on designing experiences and the psychology/subconscious/anthropology/sociology based consultants that often base their approach on the ideas of a their specific theory/guru and follow their method.
  • The university representatives thus far seems to come from a design background. They focus on the experiences part of product usage, but seems to find it very hard to loose the product completely.
So how mature can we say the ExSer community is today. Well, I'll leave you today with two observations:
  1. On the positive side, I notice that the Services Innovation public has moved on from IT-based services, to human-related/centered/experiences focused. That is good news, as this means most have moved on from the idea that software and web-functionality are services and embrace the idea that for services there need to be humans involved.
  2. On the negative side, I notice that universities are still unable to shed their design/product/statistiscs/engineering past and move on into the services realm of interaction/co-creation/complexity and pattern. It will be interesting to see when the first one makes the jump into the unknown.
This leaves us with the consultants. Well, I think I said almost enough about them above. Let me finish with the observation that the consultants seen to get along well with the business community. That's natural and good don't you think?

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