(Below is the abstract of the book I’m writing, titled “Thinking in Services”, to be published in June 2018 by BIS Publishers, Amsterdam. Please let me know what you think).

Services are part of the daily life of individuals and organizations. A day without paying for or providing them is inconceivable. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some we don’t even notice until something goes wrong. [With this book you can create your own field guide]. Too small to notice, or too big to fail, changes in technologies and societies are making the universe of services expand faster than ever before, and with it the challenges and opportunities for design. [This book is the Hitchhiker’s Guide].

New kinds services and new modes of failure expose customers and service providers to new kinds of costs; the unexpected, unpredictable, and unacceptable kind. [The book shows how to cope with the uncertainty and risk embedded in design]. That’s why, more than ever before, we care about the design of services we pay for or provide.

But perhaps we don’t understand services as much as we think we do. That limits our understanding and appreciation of their design. [Imagine physics before Niels Bohr’s atomic model]. Even simple services are complex in nature because of the way supply dynamically meets demand, in physical and digital spaces, across which humans and machines try and have meaningful dialog and interactions. And, while discipline of interaction design is more advanced than ever before, the thinking is still limited to the surface layers of touchpoints and interfaces. [This book helps you go beyond, with systems thinking for service design]. This book provides a universal model for services, and a new way of explaining their structures and behaviors through the language of design [Design thinking for services].

This book introduces a simple and elegant framework [based on a 4×4 grid called ‘a 16x frame”] for developing news ideas and concepts for services; for critically evaluating their designs; and for developing today’s solutions that don’t create tomorrow’s problems. So, whether developing a customer journey map, that could be particularly complex, or negotiating a billion dollar service contract, that somehow must leave all parties better off, this book shows how with bit of creativity and imagination, we can systematically get it done, frame by frame. [The book teaches you how to “read and write” a 16x frame, and provides 16 examples from across industry and government].

Design implements policy and strategy. Therefore, it requires effective collaboration between functions and disciplines that (unfortunately but understandably) speak different dialects of engineering, finance, and operations. Not just that, most projections of the future suggest humans and machines need to communicate with each other about design. Therefore, with inspiration from biology and computer science, this book introduces [what could be] a basic language for service design.

Posted by:Majid Iqbal

TL;DR I bring clarity to the concept of a service.