Final Thoughts On Service Design

The past eight weeks have flown by, and as our work for service design comes to an end Conner and I have been looking back over the course to reflect on what we did well, and where we missed opportunities. Although we didn’t test our prototypes yet due to missed opportunities on our part, we learned a significant amount going through the process. Mostly that service design is both challenging and exciting. The tangible result of the work speaks volumes to what we have learned over the past four months at AC4D. We have an ongoing conversation with We Are Blood, so the future is still hopeful for the final result of the project, and we are hoping to continue with them sometime in the new year.

 
When we received this project, we had no idea where we wanted to go, and through canvasing businesses and organizations in Austin, we decided to partner with We Are Blood. We chose to work with We Are Blood because their mission is to help the community, and because they were going through a rebrand at the time and were very open to help on their journey to reach as many people as possible.

 
Our first days at We Are Blood were spent researching, talking to donors to understand why they donate, where they started, and what keeps them coming back. We also spoke with the phlebotomists of We Are Blood to learn about their point of view. Most of what we heard from our participants is this: they like to know they are helping people with their work and their time.

 

When we were working with donors at the donation center on South Lamar, we met John, who is the poster child for blood donation. He sees himself as a part of the organization and knows he is providing life for someone at the end of the day. He donates platelets every two weeks unless he’s sick. He works towards making the maximum 24 donations per year as a personal goal. He told us it’s a small action and a small commitment to make such a huge difference in another person’s life. John really helped to solidify our mission, and helped give us the motivation to work through all of the details.
After research, we worked on creating a customer journey from our donors plotting their feelings and thoughts on the map to see where pain points exist in the donation process. Creating a journey map was in my opinion the most effective synthesis we have done so far. Seeing people’s actions mixed with their feelings within a journey very tangibly shows where opportunities arise for the organization. We found nine areas where people either felt uncomfortable, or were largely not considered when the service was designed. The main points we decided to focus on were the lack of understanding donors have during the donation process, the misperception on the donor’s part of how continuous the need for blood is, and the opportunity We Are Blood has to create an empathetic connection between the donor and the recipient.

 

When we spoke with our donors, we asked them what would make donation better, or what would make donation more tangible for them. We heard they didn’t have any idea what happened to their blood when they left the organization. When we saw all of the steps and tests the blood goes through, we wondered why there wasn’t more transparency into this process. The organization does so much to make sure people who need blood get clean and processed blood to help them heal. And the employees know where the blood goes and know that it is used to help people, but donors are unaware of what happens once they leave.

 
Getting to these insights was easy once we had met John, and felt the connection to the organization and their mission to make a community of blood donors in central Texas. While we were focused on creating empathy for the donors, we began to feel empathy for the mission and became more connected to the problems they were experiencing. During our meetings with We Are Blood, they found our insights to be valuable to what they are doing and the direction they’re heading in now. Having a client tell us our work was valuable was the first step to feeling like we were providing genuine value. Our work was not over yet, however. We thought of many different ways we could deliver the value we promised (connecting donors to the recipient of their blood) and created an email that would help us to show when their blood was at a hospital waiting to be used.

 
Unfortunately, this is where our journey has ended to this point. Due to our later than planned delivery of our prototypes, coupled with a lack of forethought on their potential obligations caused us to not be able to test our solutions. Though we have been unable to test, we think what we have proposed would create the value promised to We Are Blood, and help to connect a larger potion of the community to their cause, and hopefully increase their blood and platelet donations.

 
Overall the project feels successful. We accomplished most of what we set out to do. We established ourselves as designers and provided valuable insights into an organization’s service offering. We found the breakdowns and created simple and effective solutions to help resolve the pain points existent in the system. Most importantly, Conner and I walk away from this project knowing we did our best to help an organization better reach their clientele and make a more tangible connection to them.

 

Our final presentation deck can be found here, and our other design briefs that detail our process and findings are in the previous posts for this class.