Category

Service Design

Smollan and DYDX win at the 2020 Bookmarks Awards

By | In the news, Research, Service Design | No Comments

The COVID-19 led to the collapse of eventing worldwide and South Africa was no exception. While most events have just been cancelled, IAB Bookmark Awards joined educational institutes, musicians and niche interest meetups by creating a whole new online experience in almost no time at all.

We proud to announce that, together with the team at Smollan, DYDX ‘took home’ two Bookmark Awards. The judging panels awarded a Silver Craft Award for Excellence in Research and a Gold Pixel for Emerging Digital Technology: The Internet of Things (IoT).

“We believe the best way to fight poverty and environmental issues is to build inclusive, profitable businesses; this changes the mindset from dependent to independent, from despondent to engaged,” says David Smollan, CEO of Smollan.

“The two Bookmarks showcase our commitment to being a business with a purpose that serves our clients and the communities we work in. It is also indicative of our commitment and the quality of work achieved as a team with DYDX,” adds Smollan.

Excellence in Research Bookmark

The Bookmark was awarded to DYDX for the development of the innovative, iterative research process that enabled the rapid discovery and testing of insights into the South African informal market.

“Despite the size of the informal market (35% of all retail sales) there is very little data available and most of the data and estimates are enormously contradictory. Therefore, we needed an innovative research plan that supported the company’s ideation and experimentation flexibly and quickly,” says Smollan.

Templar Wales, Partner at DYDX, says that a hackathon was hosted as part of the research process before the final ideation session. “After weeks of ideation and further research a prototype, ‘Gcwalisa’, was created,” says Wales.

“‘Gcwalisa’, meaning ‘Fill up’ in Zulu, is an IoT product dispenser that allows customers to buy everyday products in whatever amounts they can afford, using their own containers and thereby eliminating the need for single-use packaging,” Wales adds.

“The solution was a sustainable, scalable business with a positive social and environmental impact while gathering valuable, granular purchase data for the brands,” Wales concludes.

Excellence in Emerging Technologies Bookmark

Smollan and DYDX also received a Bookmark for ‘Gcwalisa’ in the Excellence in Emerging Technologies: The Internet of Things (IoT) category, in which atypical Internet devices (not phones or computers) are used to achieve marketing and communication goals.

Case study: Vodacom – Agile Marketing Transformation

By | Agile Marketing, Case Study, Digital Transformation, Service Design | No Comments

Background

Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, has been undergoing an agile transformation, accelerating not only the impact and innovation in its business but also on its agencies. As one of the largest advertisers on the African continent, the volume of work generated by it is immense. Co-ordination across multiple agency partners, internal approvers, and marketing specialists became a key factor in the smooth running of the system.

Our Challenge

Vodacom marketing needed to prepare its marketing suppliers to increase both the pace and volume of work while staying within the existing budgetary constraints. With over 300 people involved in the ecosystem between internal stakeholders and suppliers, this was no small task.

People, Process, Systems

For any new system to take hold, people need to buy into it. This means that before you can re-engineer the processes, you have to create a behavioural change within the teams that enables the new to replace the old. While many leaders speak about change, few are willing to change. Vodacom’s leadership team drove the change and championed the initiatives.

Creating Agile Processes – “Agile Marketing”

Agile, was not developed with marketing in mind. The first phase of the project required understanding how we implement agile with the different agencies and Vodacom through a series of workshops and immersions. Using service design methodologies, we mapped out the existing process flows to identify points of friction and emotional distress both at the agencies and at Vodacom.

It quickly became apparent that there were challenges on both sides of the table and the teams came together to identify process solutions to improve their ability to work together. A hybrid KANBAN process was developed clearly identifying handover and quality requirements to simplify interactions.

Service Design – from interviews to prototypes

With this understanding, the processes were mapped and revisions made to ways of working. The volume of work however quickly outstripped any physical board and a digital platform was required to support this volume of work. Choosing between a series of vendors by prototyping the process. Pipefy was selected as a technology platform due to its functionality and ease of deployment.

Prototyping Change – Unique-unique but the same

From working with one agency, we moved into all of the agencies. All we had learned by working with Ogilvy (the lead agency), was transferred into an onboarding program. This took all of the agency teams through an agile marketing immersion, service design to reimagine processes and systems customisation, enabling each agency to work in their preferred way to meet their objective but still provide a unified overview for Vodacom.

Systems Development – “It looks great on paper”

The challenge with process development is that it often looks great on paper but doesn’t work as expected in the real world. Working closely with the Pipefy teams in Brazil and the agencies, the system development followed an agile methodology with weekly iterations being developed, tested by users and modified based on their feedback.

Support and Change Management

A support and change management process was put in place to make rapid changes as issues were discovered in the process and new ideas were developed. A steering committee of users was identified to give ongoing feedback on new changes to ensure that fixes did not create new challenges.

Outcomes – From inception to live in 6 months. 

From inception to live, the project encompassed 6 months. While implementing new systems is never easy, the results have been impressive. The number of active jobs managed by the system rapidly grew to almost 100% of the total jobs delivered, over the first 3 months, and as the teams settled into the new ways of working, the increased visibility has benefited all the parties.

Learnings – You cannot change systems without changing behaviours

Behaviour change is an adaptive problem (i.e. has no obvious solution) vs a technical problem (i.e. known solution) because each team and its leadership dynamics are different. Without allowing the users to feel a sense of mastery and control over the new systems, you won’t get adoption – so having an inclusive process is key.

Inclusion, however, does not mean death by committee and facilitating a strong plan of action with short term momentum (i.e. weekly reviews, decisions and changes based on decisions) drives the project to completion. The ability to prototype and test the process on the new system quickly was critical to the success of the project. Post-implementation support and change management ensure ongoing utilisation.

DYDX and Creative Academy Offer Practical Service Design Course

By | Courses, Service Design | No Comments

At DYDX, we busy ourselves with the digital transformation of businesses. But we also take a direct interest in the education and training of new voices within that process of transformation.

We’ve co-developed a Service Design course with Creative Academy in Cape Town. We designed it with an eye to help participants improve efficiency, products, services, customer experience and profits.  They will also come to better understand and apply Design Thinking to actively engage roleplayers to reach practical solutions. Ultimately, this is about developing an advantage in the new world of business.

Who should participate in this Service Design Course?

If you are a business owner or work in UX and product development, or if you want to foster a different way of working within your organisation, this course offers excellent practical value.

The course runs from 11 February 2020. It is designed for anyone who wants to expose themselves to the fundamentals of Service Design in practice – from design practitioners to business owners and professionals in both the private and public sector.

Duration: 9 Weeks
Application deadline: 7 February 2020
More information and registration: https://creativeacademy.ac.za/short-courses/practical-service-design/

Smollan and dY/dX Transforming Informal Retail

By | In the news, Research, Service Design | No Comments

Retail innovation can increase revenue, reduce plastic and serve consumers’ unmet needs.

Leading international retail solutions company Smollan and dY/dX, a global product and service design practice, partnered to deliver an innovative solution for the informal market that could both change how FMCG products are sold and reduce the use of single-use plastics.

The combined informal market represents 35% of all retail sales in SA. This market, however, is notoriously difficult for brands, as the unstructured distribution channels mean very little effective data can be gathered. Furthermore, due to low levels of affordability, brands have resorted to smaller packaged units to reach this market, mostly single-use plastics. This has created a gap between affordability for customers and brands’ responsibility to the environment.

The Gcwalisa dispensers, created by Smollan and dY/dX, allow customers to purchase food and home care products in values from as little as R1. Spaza owners can provide the amount requested by customers quickly, thanks to onboard computers with IoT sensors measuring volume while dispensing.

Goods are dispensed into reusable containers, allowing brands to deliver bulk into the informal channel and for the shop-owners to distribute in micro sizes without single-use plastics. This takes significant costs out of the channel and creates new opportunities for consumers to purchase their preferred brands, even at very low volumes.

The dispensers are connected IoT devices, providing brands with detailed sales data from each shop, giving data granularity and insight that could revolutionise distribution, understanding of buying patterns and price points.

Using a structured design thinking and innovation process, the joint team, headed by Rudi Nienaber, Innovation Executive at Smollan, supported by dY/dX, created a new way to sell products through the informal channels. “Innovation requires asking different questions and lots of on-the-ground research and prototyping.” said Nienaber, “Our starting point was to turn products into services which led to a series of new ideas, of which Gcwalisa was the best one.”

“We know that people have real affordability challenges, and price is often linked to distribution constraints of minimum-sized packaging. We wanted to change how pricing worked, allowing people to purchase FMCG products like they do airtime.

Another key factor is a positive social impact. By eradicating single-use plastic and packaging, we not only save brands and consumers money but also benefit the environment, which is critical. With major brands looking to reduce plastic usage but not impact sales this approach makes perfect sense,” says Mike Smollan, Chief Growth & Innovation Officer at Smollan.

Revealed at Smollan’s Inspire Evolve event, the project already has interest from a number of brands.  “Distribution into informal markets is not a “one size fits all” approach. While we can re-use the technology and approach, we are working with brands to understand both the unique dynamics of their market and the technical properties of their products to optimise the solution for them.” says Nevo Hadas, Managing Partner at dY/dX.

 

DYDX speaks to SABC News about Smollan’s innovative new retail solution

By | Case Study, Design Thinking, Human Centered Design, In the news, Product Development, Research, Service Design | No Comments

DYDX collaborated with retail solution company Smollan Group to create an innovative solution for the informal market.

The Gcwalisa dispenser provides a cost-effective solution for buying products, potentially changing how FMCG products are sold and helping to reduce the previous impact of the plastic packaging on the environment.

DYDX’s Templar Wales speaks to SA Today on SABC News about the dispenser, the process behind creating the solution, and how this has impacted on the community and the environment.

 

Vodacom boosts the pace of marketing through digital transformation

By | Future of Work, In the news, Service Design | No Comments

While digital marketing is changing the way we advertise and communicate, some marketing and advertising processes seem stuck in the ’50s. Many agencies still use physical job bags and processes that resemble the industrial age rather than digital age ways of working, including more collaborative approaches and video conferencing replacing face-to-face meetings. As more tools, automation, and bots impact marketing departments, those that don’t adopt a future way of working will not only be left behind but become alarmingly less effective as they waste time doing tasks that can be done more efficiently.

As Vodacom SA continues its digital transformation drive, a key goal is to increase the pace of commercialisation of ideas into revenue-generating products. An important component of this is the faster turn-around of marketing from brief to campaigns deployed in market.

Knowing that a new agile marketing approach would increase demands on their marketing eco-system, the Vodacom marketing team identified the need to transform their systems and processes to increase the pace of work. Partnering with DYDX, a global product, and service design practice, a human-centered design approach was taken to reimagine how marketing could operate.

“New tools and ways of working are often scary even though they may have great benefits,” says Nevo Hadas, Partner at DYDX.  “Behavioural psychology shows that due to loss aversion, people are very sensitive to what they will lose, even if what they will lose is not really solving their problem well. We designed the onboarding and training processes to be iterative and support change management so that the users felt they had mastery over their changing environment.”

Within six months, seven agencies and four internal teams were on-boarded. The results have not only enabled better communication and faster issue resolution with agencies but are also providing key benchmarks for how efficiently the eco-system works, wastage reports and managing key SLAs. Marketers and product managers have better control over the process and save significant time from automated status views and exception reporting. Compliance also improves, reducing audit complexities.

“By mapping out the processes using service design, we saw a significant portion of time was lost in briefing, scheduling, coordinating and approving of creative work. Our new processes centered around reducing this waste.” Said Lana Strydom, Executive Head of Online and Self Service at Vodacom. While the new systems have a number of objectives and outcomes, most important is to achieve a better creative outcome by enabling agencies to spend more time in the creative processes and less time in admin or waiting for approvals. Delivering a better creative product to the market quicker.

DYDX moves Susu from concept to customer within 18 months

By | Case Study, In the news, Pricing, Product Development, Research, Service Design | No Comments

Rapid innovation in healthcare.

DYDX, a digital transformation practice based in Cape Town, partnered with Beninese-French visionary Ms Bola Bardet to create and launch Susu Healthcare. This first-of-its-kind full-service digital healthcare company was taken from concept to launch in less than 18 months with the help of the experts at DYDX.

Susu, that recently won the Sanofi in Africa Health Challenge at the Vivatech 2019 Conference in Paris, provides a combination of insurance coverage and medical services to the families of the African diaspora in Europe.

“DYDX used a service design process to develop Susu’s products and services,” said Nevo Hadas, managing partner at DYDX. “We focused on the different needs of the customer in Europe and the beneficiary in West Africa to design a system that delivers on both.”

Rolling out in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, Susu is meeting a real need for the Ivorian community living in France. “The African diaspora takes pride in providing financial support to their families left in their home countries, predominantly ageing parents and those with chronic diseases,” explained Bola Bardet, Susu’s founder and chief executive “Money sent back to Africa for healthcare amounts to US$8 billion per year, yet quality healthcare, medication, and insurance is still unavailable in many African countries.”

With this problem in mind, Bardet approached DYDX (then &Innovation), to support her to understand this problem better and co-design a solution.

“Susu healthcare is a game-changer in the world of healthcare services and health insurance,” Hadas concluded. “We built a cutting-edge digital platform to enhance all its operations and customer experience, but this is just the enabler. Its strength isn’t in superior artificial intelligence or crypto currency, but in its dedicated focus on the markets and people that insurance companies ignore or overcharge.”

Are you designing a feature or a service? – why persistency matters in SaaS

By | Product Development, Service Design

One of the by-products of a connected world is that the services (SaaS) we choose to use, having a greater value for us the more connected they are to other services/products. We are shifting from a product & platform (OS-centric) world to an ecosystem world. This has a huge impact on how you design products for success.

Take Slack as an example, Slack grew rapidly even though there were a number of competing services available at the same time. Slack did two things really well

  1. They designed the sales process to be focused on product qualified leads vs sales qualified leads (this is a topic for another post)
  2. Slack’s strategy was to be connected to as many other services in the User’s ecosystem as possible, and to become the launching point of interaction between these services.

Slack’s strategy was not just a customer experience, but also a simple API (even the their bot is an API) that enabled them to accelerate their importance in the user’s ecosystem.

Products/services that want to be truly engaging, need to aim at persistence. This means designing beyond user usability into a background connected data stream that feeds into other services. In a SaaS world, you need to think beyond your user interfaces to your application programming interfaces (APIs).

A Persistent user’s behavior is often invisible to them. Once you have the users engaged and using your service, your key aim must move to designing services that other services can consume in the background – thus deeply ingraining yourself into the user/customers ecosystem, which reduces the risk of switching and increases your power/value in the user’s ecosystem.

This means not only designing for simplicity of integration, it means having a strategic view of what the total ecosystem could look like, and where you fit into it.

This strategic analysis needs to consider whether you are a feature, a platform or a service.

A feature in the SaaS sense solves a very specific set of problems but does not own the data, i.e. it does not originate it, nor does it own the endpoint where the data is transformed into something else. Data includes users, source files, logs/analytics etc. a feature is continuously in danger of being designed out by its partners i.e. services upstream and downstream add the feature into their service and thus reduce the need for your offering.

A platform provides a base for others to develop services or features with it, traditionally they are technology-based, encapsulating a wide variety of reusable functionality that is generic but complex enough that recreating it is too hard to undertake on a project by project basis.

A  service owns either the input or exit points of data and undertakes a key set of transformations to increase its value via bespoke functionality. Sometimes, this data can be proprietary increasing its value, sometimes it can be connectors or integration points. Licenses, like banking & telecoms or preferential/exclusive access like Oracle’s data cloud, provide these services with long-term market power – even while they may seem to be becoming utilities.

While you could monetize at any point along this continuum, the drive should always be to increase market power through asymmetry of access to data you control. In a world where connection to other services is a key benefit – controlling this as tightly as possible becomes a strategic requirement. Where does this leave you?