6 Lessons for Service Blueprinting

Learning about customer experience, and how to leverage the service blueprint as a research tool, is essential for researchers and designers, as this will help them stay ahead in this rapidly changing world. 

This March, I was lucky enough to facilitate a Thinkshop with 25 designers attending the AIGA Y Design Conference. We left with some interesting conclusions around how to build and use service blueprints as research tools. 

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Are You a Coconut or a Peach?

Do you have a coconut or peach approach to the services you provide?


  • Hard, defined exterior that intimidates newcomers 
  • Hollow core: once you break through to the center, there isn’t much there 


  • Soft, fuzzy, approachable exterior, low barrier to entry 
  • Contain a tough seed that provides support from the inside out

It’s not about the taste of the fruit - It’s about how it feels to customers and the considerations given to the behind-the-scenes service providers/employees. Don’t be a coconut. Be a peach.

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Do you have a coconut or peach approach to the services you provide?

A Brief History of Web Publishing

For you, this image may or may not conjure up intense feelings of nostalgia. For me, this was The Beginning of the Internet. It was a land accessed through a ritual of weird sounds, a tether of harsh but magical noise that made it possible for me to climb through the phone line into a realm of shared imagination. I had conversations with strangers and pretended to be someone different. I flew spaceships and fought dragons and hung around taverns quaffing ale and discussing the finer points of dagger combat with dwarves. My Nintendo became suddenly very lonely.

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The original model of the web was that of publishing interlinked pages. We take a look at how this model has worked, how the technology has changed and muse a bit on the future.

How to Design & Lead a Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

Most stakeholders aren’t versed in the language of branding. That’s dangerous because word of mouth and first-hand experience have more of an effect on user love than celebrity endorsements or well-toned advertisements. Branding is more important than ever. How do you get stakeholders into productive conversations about it?

Problem: Finding the brand through trial and error

You could take the trial-and-error tack: just make stuff to see how they react, and go through round after round of presentation and feedback, each time learning a little bit more about what the brand is supposed to be. But this is expensive, tedious, and demoralizing. It’s like hacking away at a beehive to make a sculpture. You end up with a lot of stings.

Solution: Get those brand attributes out and vetted with a Brand Experience Workshop

Cooper has faced this challenge with its clients head on for 5 years with a workshop to solve this problem. It’s fun and works like a charm. Here’s an introduction to how it works, followed by some tips and tricks to making them awesome.

A Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

The workshop should feel pretty magical to the participants, and of course that takes some work on your part, but it’s worth it. Find below the key six steps.

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Six (6!) new ways to push your practice

You asked. We answered. Bringing you SIX new workshops and courses in customer experience, brand strategy, leadership, product definition and design, research, ideation, personas and more—each chock full of skills for taking your professional game to the next level (and maybe even the level above that). Stay current, get smarter, make an impact, effect the bottom line, and teach your team a thing or two (or ten) about your new-found knowledge. We've saved you a seat.

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What does Pair Design look like?

If you’re trying to figure out whether Pair Design is right for you or your organization, it’s useful to have a model of what it looks like across an interaction design project. So, let me paint you a picture.

I’ve broken down our typical goal-directed design process into broad phases that should be relatively easy to map to your own. But, if this is your first time reading about Pair Design from Cooper, I recommend reading up on the distinctions between the generator and synthesizer roles I’ve written about before, as I’ll be referencing those terms

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Visual Design for White Labelled Products

Designing a product with the intention of being “white labelled” means that you are creating a software for a client to incorporate into their existing (visual language) system. Every now and then design consultants are hired by another consultant to work on a third party’s existing system. This what you call a super white label. Here, you not only have to consider your client’s needs, but your client’s client’s needs, too. It can be easy to start designing with everyone’s goals in mind and eventually lose focus, leaving no one satisfied in the end. These are some basic tips I’ve found that to help start and manage a white labelled project. 

It can be easy to start designing with everyone’s goals in mind and eventually lose focus, leaving no one satisfied in the end.

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Day 3: Interaction13

Notes, pictures, and recaps from the last day of Interaction15

Catch up with everything that went down on Day 1 and Day 2

Keynote: Design as Language

by Ayah Bdeir 

"The electronics are not the point. Technology is not the point. It’s about the poetry you can make."

Picture by Julie Celia, recap by Shahrzad Samadzadeh

The problem

Electronics are everywhere, yet their language is closed, cryptic, and ugly. We generally don’t know what our electronics are doing, and consider them consumable and disposable, yet we rely on them as a fundamental part of everyday life. This is a strange and dangerous state of things. 

The big shift

Instead of a closed discipline, how can electrical devices become a shared language? This is an extraordinary shift, and LittleBits made it happen by doing the following.

  • Make the language usable and accessible; “It’s not about the technology, it’s what you can do with it."
  • Make the language inviting and coherent, so users feel in control.
  • Define the alphabet, the grammar, and the context, then let users build a community around the new language. 

The outcome

The gap between defined market and one-off individual need is bridged, and users feel empowered to break down barriers and create new interactions in the world. 

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Let's Jam. 

What's a Service Jam?

The Global Service Jam is a 48-hour event that brings people from all backgrounds together to learn new approaches, tools, and methods for designing services. 

This isn’t a watch-and-learn kind of conference, the GSJ participants get their hands dirty, creating services, not slide decks. 

On the evening of the first night, a theme is announced, then for the next 48 hours jammers focus on exploring, iterating, and prototyping new service design ideas. All the Jams share the same starting themes, and publish their local results over a central platform.

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Come join us for the San Francisco edition of the Global Service Jam.

Day 2: Interaction15

Recaps, updates and information from the annual IxDA conference in San Francisco. 

Keynote: Tim Brown in conversation with Allan Chochinov

"Design is about people being intentional about what they do in the world."

Pictures and recap by Christina Beard and Emily Schwartzman

Here are some of the themes they talked about:

Advice for Designers  

  • Designers need to be sensible, cautious, and look ahead as much as possible. Designers also need to work with nice people. 
  • Our responsibility then is to search out places where we think we can make the most impact.
  • Search out places where you think you can make a difference or are interested in making a difference.
  • If you’re not feeling fulfilled with the problems you’re tackling - you’re probably not solving the right problems for yourself.

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