Last year, I left my peaceful full-time job, became a freelance design consultant, and eventually, among other things, had found myself designing and delivering workshops on design thinking, customer journey mapping, and service design. At a certain point, I was asked to curate a short four-day course, which meant thinking through everything from overall curriculum to daily agenda and roles of invited lecturers and tutors.
List are confusing, maps are clear and awesome!
Having never done this before, I started planning the whole thing by writing down a bulleted list. I had seen other people do it that way and naturally assumed that it was the way to go. Turns out that planning a four-day event was a little bit more complicated than it sounded (what a surprise!) and, after the first couple of iterations, I realized that something wasn’t working. There were too many things to grasp — interconnected student activities, teachers’ actions, and artifacts to produce. A bulleted list was simply not enough for that. That was the moment when I thought, “Hey, the course that I’m working on is actually a service! I teach other people to use service blueprints to design services, so why am I not using one here?!”
Rows represent students actions, artifacts, outcomes and teachers actions
I really like the anatomy of a service blueprint by Adaptive Path, which they explain in their awesome guide. I use it as a starting point for all my projects and adjust as I go. So did I here working on my course blueprint, I first mapped out the “Action” row — class & student activities across 4 days. Then one by one I filled in service moment columns — “Staff actions”, i.e. what teachers were to do during each activity; and “Touchpoints” — i.e. which artifacts, such as templates, we needed to facilitate the activities and which outcomes would be produced by students.
Columns represent service moments — i.e. students’ and teachers’ actions and resulting outcomes at any one moment of a time
It worked like a charm — a complete picture of the intended experience came together, which is kind of like the point of service blueprinting, right? I had the visualization of the program end-to-end, which I could easily communicate, discuss with, and update everyone involved in bringing it to live. The invited teachers could see the parts they were responsible for and understand how they contributed to the greater whole. Finally, I had a complete list of the artifacts (e.g., slide decks, templates, posters) that needed to be produced.
Four-day workshop service blueprint
Since then, whenever I have to prepare a workshop, I jump right into the realtimeboard and get mapping!