Prototyping services in AustraliaChris Smith:
When a new product comes onto the market, whether it's a car, a mobile phone, some fitness gear, furniture, it goes without saying that it would have gone through some extensive testing. Products are given all sorts of tests like being dropped, crashed, torn, split, just to make sure they're up to standard. But, have you ever given any thought to what the testing process is for services?
Australians I think have a high standard when it comes to services, whether it's a bank, public transport, booking a holiday. We expect our experience to be easy and simple. Well, that just doesn't happen by chance. Most people probably wouldn't know this, and I certainly didn't, but there are businesses which specialise in what's called service design.
Prototyping a new transport ecosystem for Sydney Metro
For example, a huge test recently took place on the Sydney Metro where 150 people were bused up to a prototype train station to see what would happen when it was flooded with people. Real transport staff were there. People went through the gates with tickets. Some had prams. They had to go down the lifts all to test and ensure that the process was smooth and the metro was being built to what it was required to do in times of heavy traffic.
Damian Kernahan is the founder of Proto Partners, a Service Design Consultancy. I picked up his story in Money Magazine. I thought it was fascinating. Damian, thank you very much for your time.
Hi, Chris. How are you?
Very well. In the case of Sydney Metro, obviously the trains and tracks are checked and tested, but this is more about delivering customers good service, right?
Creating a surprisingly easy end-to-end journey for Sydney's growing popluationDamian Kernahan:
Yeah, absolutely. It's a 24 billion dollar project, but the majority of that money goes into the product, and the tunnelling, and all the infrastructure. What Sydney Metro did on top of that, which hasn't been done a lot before, is ask, "How do we actually make this surprisingly easy from start to finish for customers?" Most of the time I think when they design these types of things they ask, "Well, how do I actually get from my house to my work, or where I need to go to?" The research we did, we went out and talked to people out in the Northwest, was yeah, that's all really interesting. I currently drive my car, which is really convenient and gets me to where I want to go. But, I might catch the Metro too, but if I can't get home then I won't catch it at all. So we actually needed to design from what we started calling from door-to door- to door (to the destination and back home again) so and that was a big breakthrough for Sydney Metro.
It wouldn't be an inexpensive exercise.
Listen, compared the 24 billion dollars it certainly is.
Good response. But, it is fascinating. How new is this kind of work?