Can Service Design help Small Enterprise?

John Lynch
4 min readJan 23, 2021
A sign reading “Open Shop” on a glass doorway.
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

(I’ve been asking some folks here in Ireland what’s the key things they’d like to understand about Service Design. This is the first of a few posts to help answer some of those questions.)

If you own or run an SME, it’s likely that your business occupies your every spare moment. Whether it’s checking accounts late on a Saturday night when the kids are in bed, or going over and over some proposal, menu options, tender document, or business plan before you sleep at night.

You know your own business, and it’s not for anyone to tell you otherwise.

Whether your business delivers a service, whether that be click-and-collect dinners, tax consulting, nutrition tracking, car sharing, or childcare — a lot of your thinking time is spent considering intangible things like customer experience, training of employees, retention of loyal business, or grasping an opportunity afforded by new technology.

You’ve probably had even more things to consider since COVID-19 entered our world.

Mapping the Madness

What Service Design helps businesses do, first and foremost, is to make the invisible visible. How can we “see” customer experience? We speak to customers, and we capture what we learn in a Customer Journey Map. Want to understand how we’re processing customer data? We research all the systems and people involved, and create a Systems Map to help us find our way around.

Want to figure out where our systems are impeding a great customer experience? We put the these two maps together — highlighting opportunities for innovation and improvement of the customer experience that were perhaps not visible until now.

Working Together

Once you know where change is needed, why should you alone have to come up with what’s next? Sure, you run the business, but your trusted team know the business too, and there are probably parts of the business they might even know better!

Service Design means bringing all the important stakeholders together so that the knowledge of the entire team combines to offer new ideas to address priority challenges.

Seeing the Future

John Lynch

Design is my job. I'm Irish, ex Copenhagen/London, now back in Dublin. Founded Context Studio to improve life in Ireland through Service Design.