The Amsterdam Centre for Service Innovation (AMSI) opens it's doors

Last week I attended the opening of the Amsterdam Centre for Service Innovation (AMSI). ASMI is a joint effort between the Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam and the VU University. They will provide a course on “the management of service innovations” for “managers and professionals with substantial experience”.

A crowd flocked in the trendy Jamie Oliver restaurant Fifteen for two presentations given by Larry Hirst (CEO IBM EMEA) and Ian Miles (Manchester Business school).

I didn’t realize how normal the term “service science” is in the academic world. Even Larry Hirst kept on reminding the crowd that IBM has opened service science centers. While the presentation by Larry Hirst was interesting from the point of view that he had hard facts how important service are for IBM. For the first time in history more then 50% of IBM’s annual revenue came out of services. Also an interesting remark by Larry was that the biggest challenge for service innovation isn’t the lack of tools or processes, it’s getting middle-management to play along.
Ian Miles had a typical academic presentation! He definitely scored points on content but lost some on style (a slideument with animated bulletpoints…). He was able to clearly explain service innovation by first dissecting both and them merging them back together. What he ended up with was this definition “doing things better and doing better things“.

Although IDEO was mentioned briefly (for 5 sec.) none of the speakers talked about the role of design in service innovation. So I couldn’t resist the temptation to fire that question away at the speakers. Mark de Jong, one of the AMSI professors replied that design will be an important area of attention in their course but lacked to tell how. Larry Hirst replied that designers are key in service innovation and that they should stop hiding and step forward more often.

The opening attracted a crowd that you would expect just by reading the description. The ratio suits vs. jeans was about 25:1. I think service designers need to be present in these kind of surroundings. Like Larry said, they need to step forward to the playing-field. Being at these events also keeps you connected with the rest of the world (the non-designers). We truly need those guys who eat the business side of services for breakfast!

I really think the opening of AMSI is a great step. It will help to drive the awareness for service innovation in the Netherlands. And at some point they will cross paths with service design as a very effective approach to realize this. I’ll be ready for the phonecall ;)

Marc Fonteijn

Marc Fonteijn

Als medeoprichter van 31Volts houdt Marc zich bezig met het verleggen van grenzen binnen service innovatie. Marc helpt organisaties om waarde te creëren voor hun klanten door middel van design.

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  • Comment by Sarah Drummond


    I totally agree with you, service designers should be ‘infiltrating’ these type of events.

    Recently, working on I have had the ‘pleasure’ of attending official police conferences and finding again, that I am in the 25:1 ratio of wearing jeans (smart black ones but still it isn’t a 3 piece suit) and feeling like a bit of an alien.

    Service Innovation is talked about alot, but everytime they talk about survey questions, reaching users etc (but not very well) I am compelled to raise my hand and suggest that service designers should be involved within these organisations, and the response? Fantastic. Someone said to me the other day at a police conference in London, “We need more aliens like you” which is a compliment if read in context. She said we need people with a fresh pair of eyes, who understand how to engage with users, aren’t wrapped up in red tape of the organisation and can zoom in and zoom out. A large amount of people have also welcomed the idea of more creativity being involved in the service innovation part of their business.

    James Samperi on Twitter today said, “#Servicedesign should be core capability of any organisation & embedded within it’s culture, maybe it’s just currently called something else”

    My masters this year is about implementing the service design process at the heart of a public sector organisation and making sure that the solution is sustainable and workable by ‘non’ designers. They will also be employing service designers as part of a radical change in the company. It’s exciting to be part of this recognition of service design.

    Sorry, just some thoughts, let’s take over the world, yes?!!!!

31Volts [Service Design]