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Using maps as part of discovery – Simon Wilson

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Using maps as part of discovery - Simon Wilson

We all know that discovery is important — but how it’s done is just as critical. Randy had the chance to collaborate with service design consultant Simon Wilson on a project recently, where mapping formed the basis for much of the discovery work. We invited Simon onto the podcast to talk about this approach.

Featured Links: Follow Simon on LinkedIn and Twitter|Simon’s Website|Learn the Wardley Mapping Strategy|Sarah Drummond feature ‘What Is Service Design?’

Discover more: Visit The Product Experience homepage for more episodes.

Episode transcript

Randy Silver:
Hey Lily. It’s half-term here in the UK. The schools are going on holiday and lockdown has eased up a bunch. Are you going to get a chance to leave the house?

Lily Smith:
Absolutely. Yes. We are going away for a few days and I cannot wait. How about you?

Randy Silver:
Well, by the time people actually hear this episode, I’ll be away somewhere where there’s no internet for 10 days in Scotland. I mean, they have internet in Scotland, just there’s no real reception where we’re going to be.

Lily Smith:
Nice. So, how are you going to get there?

Randy Silver:
Well, we’re driving. And as I’ve never been there, we need a map.

Lily Smith:
Oh, I see what you did there. That’s very old school using a map, but anyway, you’re discovering a new place and you’re using a map to guide you, kind of like how today’s guest approaches things. We’ve got service design consultant extraordinaire, Simon Wilson, telling us how he uses mapping as a core part of his work.

Randy Silver:
Yeah. I was lucky enough to do a project with Simon last year and I loved this approach. So no more blathering, let’s get right to it.

Lily Smith:
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Randy Silver:
Simon, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Simon Wilson:
Oh, thanks. Hi Randy. Thanks for having me. Thanks as well, Lily.

Randy Silver:
So for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to work with you or talk to you or more just hang out with you, can you give us a quick intro, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you’re doing these days, and how you got into this entire product racket?

Simon Wilson:
Oh God. Yeah. So at the moment I’m working for a government department, I’m a service design consultant. So I’m working for the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, which is a mouthful and the acronym, because there’s always an acronym, it’s a government department. Whenever I say it, people just look at me and think it’s a pharmaceutical company or something. So if I ever say, MHCLG, I don’t work for big pharma, I work for a government department. And it’s the department that’s supposed to be about place, so it looks at housing, how we can make new houses, it looks at communities, the places where we live as people, and then local government as well, so councils and stuff like that all come under its remit.

Simon Wilson:
I’ve been doing service design as a job maybe full time, dedicated since about 2014. And I mean my journey into this is, I won’t bore you with all the details, but in the first 10 years of this century, it makes it sound like so much longer ago, doesn’t it? I’ve worked-

Randy Silver:
Man and boy.

Simon Wilson:
Oh, yeah. Look at you with your English references. You feel like you’re naturalised. For the first nine years or so of this decade, I worked at a design and communications agency and back then, they just all was just about making websites. UX, user experience, was quite a young discipline at the time. But I worked in a place where they really valued the ideas of design, but also effective communications as well. So it’s nice to be in a place where I think a lot of the stuff that we look for, like understanding how something works, the performance or something, I learned a lot of that in probably a side avenue.

Simon Wilson:
And when I left there after about nine years, I knew a lot about UX, but again, there weren’t a lot of opportunities out there. So I spent a couple of years in the wilderness as a project manager because you got to pay the bills, haven’t you? And if you like spreadsheets, then welcome to the world of project management. So a couple of years doing that, but it also gave me an opportunity to look around and read a lot, self-develop.

Simon Wilson:
And around that time, about 2010, we’d launched, because back then you launched websites. It’s not [inaudible 00:04:36] you just do a release and then we’re continually iterating. There was a big launch for a leading housing developer here in the UK. And I toured the country, I spent two weeks going around the country, going to all their different regions and talking to their sales people there. And the salespeople were talking to me about how service, the service they offered, wasn’t just the buildings, but talking to customers, actually spending time with them, understanding what were pain points, putting them in touch with local solicitors, stuff like that, how that provided the better service.

Simon Wilson:
And around the same time in Leeds, there was these regular meetings around service design which Matt Edgar and Catherine Grace were running. I went along to those and I felt like, I know a lot of this stuff, I’ve just been doing it in different places. So for the next couple of years I had a couple of bigger roles at agencies. There were projects I worked on where we were starting to tap into this. We were doing “UX” jobs, but we were really also crossing, how can we use the web to make the business better? Make the customer experience better? So you’re into customer experience.

Simon Wilson:
And just from there, I’ve just really focused on that and been doing my own thing since 2014. And I’ve been, I think, really lucky that I’ve had lots of opportunities where, one, I’ve learned from those as well. I think two, they’ve not been easy either. I think there’s been difficult stuff within that. And three is, I mean, we all say it’s an emergent discipline now, but service design does go back a long time. I think it’s just the popularity and uptake of it there at the moment as well.

Simon Wilson:
So I think, although I feel like I’ve been doing it a long time, to say I’ve only been focused on it for six years or so, it’s difficult to place yourself as being an elder statesman. I think I would never say that, but I think I do have a lot of experience about a lot of stuff, like how you knit the experience of a customer or a service user to the business side of it, which I think is a big missing chunk within that. And I’ve got that from my earlier experience in agencies at the start of the century. So, it’s just a nice where I floated to, to be honest. I didn’t plan it much.

Randy Silver:
I’ve got to say, well done on getting the acronym MHCLG out, because we actually worked together on a project late last year and you told me you were going to go work with them and you could not get that acronym straight for the first two weeks. So, well done.

Simon Wilson:
Yeah. I need to admit, I still have it on a post-it on my monitor though. So when people say, I do, I look down and I can get it, I can get it, but I always look at it just to make sure I’ve got it right.

Randy Silver:
Okay. But the reason we asked you on today was actually stemmed from that project we did, because we were doing a lot of discovery work. And with your service design background, you came to it with a different perspective than I’d seen before where you used mapping as one of the core parts of it. So, how did you get started with mapping? Is that just part and parcel with service design? Or was that an element of it that you just gravitated towards?

Simon Wilson:
So mapping, I think service design is generally seen as the mapping thing, isn’t it? But mapping isn’t exclusively a service design thing. There’s lots of management stuff that I’ve done and I’ve read about as well. And you use mapping to understand the trajectory of your company, where we’re going to go. You do it, you use mapping for strategic reasons really. I think one of the things that service design brings really strongly is that using mapping as a tool allows you to tangibly bring together and show the whole range of different things.

Simon Wilson:
So when we worked together, Randy, I think one of the first things we said, “We want to understand the organisation, don’t we? What’s the best way of doing that?” Well, different people work in different ways, but the most common approach to getting everyone in the same place is to do something that’s visual, and that’s clear as well in that visuality that allows people to, one, look at it and understand, two, see what’s missing, what needs to be changed, and three, just add to it as well. And I think one of the things that I really like about mapping, it’s not the only service design thing, I think it’s just a perfect collaborative tool.

Simon Wilson:
And also, maps are a thing that as humans, we’ve used for, well for all eternity. Finding our sense of place, he says as a person working at the department for place, but knowing where we are and where we’re going, I think a strong compulsion that we have as people, isn’t it? It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to go out for the weekend.” Where are you going to go? How are you going to get there? You look at a map. Some people are really into planning their careers, how are they going to do that? They’ll have the whole thing mapped out.

Simon Wilson:
I think it’s quite a human thing to use maps as, one, a planning tool, but to get to that degree where you’re planning, you’ve got to have that cartography mapped out in the way you look at that landscape. So I think using mapping when we were working on that project together just instantly felt like as well a great way for me and you to just start working together, get something down together, talk about something. And it’s not a particularly alien concept as well. I think it’s a great balancer, it’s a great leveller. And I think as well you can have a little bit of, I’m going to say this, I don’t say it often, I think you can have a little bit of fun while you’re doing it as well.

Lily Smith:
So, when you come up to a project or a thing that you’re attacking at work and you’re like, “Right, I need to map this out,” how do you decide how you’re going to map it out and what information needs to go down?

Simon Wilson:
Yeah. This is the bit where the pregnant pause comes in that we have to edit out later. I read this question earlier and usually you have a discussion with a client around this sort of stuff and you understand where it is. So when I’m going to be looking at what we want to map, I think one of the key points there is the trying to understand, what’s the problem that we’ve got in front of us? I think usually in my experience, I go into organisations and businesses where they have an idea of there’s a problem or there’s a situation. So, that sort of stuff is like, we’ve got a modernization programme or we want to do some digital transformation.

Simon Wilson:
This is sounding like he works for Deloitte for a second, but I think you start by getting something down, but I think what I always try and look for is the thing about the mapping in a service design approach is we’re trying to put the customers or the users of the service, we’re trying to bring them forward into people’s thoughts. And I’m going to balance this in another way. If I went back maybe 10 years ago, there were decisions that were made on some of the projects I worked on where we’d done research and we were getting strong pressure from powers above in an organisation. They were designing it effectively.

Simon Wilson:
I think you jump forward 10 years now, there’s a definite stronger understanding that out there it’s a market. The better services, the services that work better for the people who use them, that help them better, all these other positive affirmations, they’re the ones that work better and they will draw people more to it.

Simon Wilson:
I remember saying four or five years ago on a stage, I think we were just about to enter I think a key first five years of services and we were starting to gain traction and you could see a number of companies realising that providing a better service would actually be their USP in some way and they would be able to use that in some way to market that. I mean, you look at what BT are doing now. BT are really, really going for it. They’re really looking at how service design can just change their whole organisation, not just change a little arm fit. And I think that, I mean, I would’ve that’d be there in another five years’ time, but to have an organisation that size that technically does provide public services, it’s not a government service, but provides public services, that for me sets an interesting [inaudible 00:12:45].

Simon Wilson:
And you hear stories of how bringing this thinking and bringing this approach to work, I’ve heard electricity companies spinning little teams up and saying, “What if we were to redo our dashboard for customers?” They go and just start right back at the beginning so, “Let’s understand our customers. Let’s understand who our customers could potentially be as well. And let’s understand the journeys that they go through in their lives and where we would complement that and where we would supplement that.” I think bringing that straight away to the fore really helps.

Simon Wilson:
When Randy and I worked together, to move quickly we spoke to some of the staff that actually were at the front line, that were on the phones, that were manning the emails, and we said to them, “Talk to us about the people that come to you, tell us what works for them, and also tell us what doesn’t work for them.” And it’s easy to distil off the back of that a user journey and understand where the organisation is succeeding, but also where the organisation could be better as well.

Simon Wilson:
And you start to then peel back the layers of the organisation as well. You want to understand things like the organisation, what’s its approach? What’s its tone? All organisations have a tone. It’s usually representing in the brand. It’s a reflective brand. What’s the structure of the organisation? Is it flat? Is it dictator led? What are the people like within there? Is there biases? Is there equality? Are there business goals, for example?” Is it actually this arm of the business that we’re looking at actually has to increase its profit and off the back of that, we need to….

Simon Wilson:
That financial side of it is a big part of it. What can we do to make the service we’re working on sustainable financially, but also capability wise? Do we have the people with the right skills? Do we need to bring in the people with the right skills as well? And then looking further field, because I’ve used the word sustainability, what does it actually take to run this service in terms of resources? And I don’t mean that in a people sense, but in terms of electricity, servers, what’s the cost on the environment? All these sort of other things.

Lily Smith:
So, that’s an awful lot of questions and information to get into one map, just thinking about the where to get started.

Randy Silver:
See Lily, this is why he’s a consultant. He’s able to make it sound like it’s really complicated and we need him for a long time.

Simon Wilson:
Usually I’m only there for two or three months, but I always go out to [inaudible 00:15:20] first thing is it’s like, if you can only do one thing, go and speak to front line staff and understand the things that work and the things that don’t work, speak to them. And I always feel like that’s the best place to start because off the back of that, you can then start to build out the successes and the failures of the organisation, and you can start to piece together, I think some user journeys. I think with those two components, I think it’s a really compulsive start to start building all these other layers around it as well, and you’re not going to solve it all in one day. But I think once you get a really strong thread off the back of those conversations, get that sort of understanding, you can draw more people into the conversation, you can start building more around it.

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Lily Smith:
So, should you be doing that with the rest of your team or on your own? Or who should be finding that information from the front line staff or from whoever and how do you then get it into a visualisation?

Simon Wilson:
Yeah. First thing is to just go and speak to people. I always find whenever I join somewhere, you’ll have someone who’s an ally, it’s the person who you’ll turn to them and say like, “We need to talk to some people who deal with customers, who deal with users, who are the best people to talk to?” And they will always have someone they point you to, they’ll either point you to like, “This is the Head of our Customer Service Team.” It could be that they point to, “I know the three people in the team that does that.” They’ll always give you that first point, and it’s not a case of, I’ll just talk to that one person, that’s it. I think you need to talk to several people, get that stuff down.

Simon Wilson:
At the moment being remote, like we are, actually has its advantages because we can arrange chats through video and through phone a lot easier. We can use digital canvases. I know we all say we’re sick of them, but the thing is that the work I’ve been doing recently has been incredibly sped up by that. It’s easier to put a video appointment into someone’s calendar or the same into mine. We can do a canvas on screen when we can do that sort of thing. The visual side of it, I sometimes worry about the post-it-ization of our sector really. I think at the very least, using digital tools has reduced our horrible scruffy handwriting down, so we’re actually reducing it using genuinely nice fonts on these canvases.

Simon Wilson:
But depending on how much time you’ve got, you can start to dig into, not just journeys and visualising them using pictures if we can do that. I mean, working with councils, they usually have stock pictures that you can bring out if you want to do that. Illustrating’s a really good example of doing that as well. But for most places, most people I talk to, just creating a left to right journey where you’ll show some journey stages. So, usually you start with someone wants to, they’re looking for something, they discover your service, they choose to do your service, there’s that engagement, you’ll follow that way through.

Simon Wilson:
It might be that you lay on top of that, there’s some sort of phases within that to group together some of those journey stages. It might be that you had 18 journey stages and you can represent those in five or six, which makes it a little bit easier to pull down. And then I’d always supplement that underneath that with, what’s the customer experience at each of those stages as well? If someone is going through this journey, what can we do to embellish that with real-life stories off the back of that?

Simon Wilson:
I’d always want to, if we’ve got a chance, speak to some of the people using the service as well. I mean, that’s always got to be the goal to doing it. So talking to front line staff is definitely the first stage and you want to find those doors that they can open where, can they put us in touch with some customers? It might be that the next time that they’re talking to some customers on the phone, could we actually plant a couple of questions for them to ask as well? Step back a little bit, is there a possibility that we could actually go to someone within the organisation and find out if we’ve got any relationships with any potential users or customers as well?

Simon Wilson:
And the other side to that is that engaging some wider recruitment. So, cast the net out or engage with a recruitment company to bring it in. But I think once you’ve got that very sketchy, those phases, those stages, and you’ve got some experiences that have been passed to you by the front line staff, I think then you’re in a position where you can start seeing, right now we want to keep building around this. And yeah, you just keep going down and down and down to the point where you start organising stuff and saying like, “We’ve spoken to 10 people and at this point of the journey, they’re hitting this problem.” And you’d pull that out and say, “There’s an opportunity there for us to explore something.” And you go through the whole thing.

Simon Wilson:
To flip it as well, because I do think you should talk about the things that are working, because it helps you prioritise what you want to focus on and not focus on. This thing over here is really working. What’s that? It’s an email, that’s working at the moment. Well, that’s fine, let’s leave that over there for the time being. I think it helps you work through what are the actual problems you need to solve? And I think within that is also gives you the opportunity to do some analysis, to break down, if we were to solve this problem, what would be the advantages? And I think that goes into some of the business and organisational structure stuff I was saying before. Sometimes we look at a problem and say, “That’s the most important problem to solve,” but because of business reasons, it might be there’s a huge cost against it, we can’t do that straight away. But then that’s the point where the whole map becomes a tool that the team uses together to work through what they need to do, what they can do, and what they should do.

Randy Silver:
Okay. You’ve shared an awful lot, Si. So I’m going to try and ring you back in, and let’s just tackle some of this in a slightly simpler way, because you talked about customers, talking to customers, talking to staff, and looking at lots of other things. Where do you start? You said you probably start with talking to staff maybe, but how many staff? How many people do you need to talk to? How deep do you go into this? How many personas do you create? Let’s try and do some of the simple starting points at the end, the overall ethos.

Simon Wilson:
Depends on the size of the organisation. And it depends on your focus. If we were going in to work at a council and they had a service and there was a team of say, five staff within that team and they were all customer facing, then I’d start with just those five staff and I’d go no further than that, because why would we go any further? That’s a clear barrier around that.

Simon Wilson:
Always start small. I don’t think there’s anything where you’d want to go really, really wide, but I think one of the things around discoveries you want to do, and I say this in a vague way, you want to do just enough research where you understand not just the good stuff, but I think you’ve got to understand the scope and shape of the problem and the risks associated with those.

Simon Wilson:
I think you’re only in a position where you can say you understand enough when one, you understand the problem, two, you understand who that problem affects, three, you understand how that problem affects the organisation, and I think four, you understand the risks that are associated with those problems as well. And I think they would be my four main criteria for anything.

Lily Smith:
And what about… I’ve got so many questions, but I’m just going to ask this one. So actually I’m going to ask two at the same time. So firstly, it sounds like such a detailed lengthy process. I mean, I guess it probably depends as well, but how long does it really need to take to go from nothing to a useful map with stuff that you can use on it? And then also, once you have that, how do you share it with other interested parties in the business? Do you just pull out the information that you need or is there value in sharing the whole thing in its entirety and walking people through all of that?

Simon Wilson:
Yeah. So, I always view a map that feels it tells enough of a narrative is where you get to. And I feel that, particularly on small to medium-sized services, I generally think you could do that in a week as a starting point. I think there are times when, if you have the “right people” in the room, you could do that in a day or two. With a focus, no distractions, you could do that, because it’s a case of working through the stages that a user go through. You want to just peel that through. You can make it a collaborative experience where every hour you’re just adding to it, you’re adding to it, and you’re adding to it. And then having some reflection on the second day, and then again, going through like, “Have we missed anything? Is anything wants to embellish off the back of it?”

Simon Wilson:
I generally feel that the thing that stops the most progress is that we’ll have those conversations a bit over here and a bit over here and a bit over here. Design sprints have their pros and cons, but I think one of the things they do allow is they give people a focus, don’t they? And they remove a lot of the distractions. And I think if you were to have a go at doing a service map is get people that represent different parts of the service in the same room.

Simon Wilson:
And I think you could do that with five or six people. Say to everyone that there’s no stupid questions here, everyone can contribute to this, and just allow people to put stuff through. I’ve been in situations where the most empowered people are the people who sit at their desks usually, not the managers, because they’re having an opportunity to share their experiences, which are actually the experiences we want to draw out.

Simon Wilson:
On sharing it, I would always look to pull out some sort of summary. Okay? I think it’s like, if you really wanted to learn about a subject, you’d read a thin book and then if you really liked it, you’d find a thicker book. And my map, the map that we’ve all done, that’s the thicker book. I think you need to pull out some analysis and some slides off the back of it that get people that top line view. And in that you’d probably want to include some little grabs of, “These are some things that we spiked in the map,” and then you’d link off to it. And again, it goes back to the thing, people are more used, particularly after the past year of getting access to these things, IT departments have lowered restrictions so people can get access to things like [inaudible 00:27:06] as well.

Simon Wilson:
So, those things are there. I think the thing that gets missed a little bit is taking people through the map, rather than just linking them through to it is, yeah, if they’re curious, link them to it, but follow it up with like, “Right, we’re going to have a walk through of this as well.” I think that’s a harder thing to do digitally strangely, because if you’d go back our own offices, we would have printed it out on a plotter or something, or it would be a big sheet of brown paper with post-its, and we’d just start on the left and work our way through.

Simon Wilson:
So I think that’s definitely one of the more tiring things that we do is walk people through, but it’s like anything, it’s like if you were going to show someone some advertising campaign you’d worked on, anything like that, the context of what you’re doing and providing your commentary and allowing people to ask questions as they’re going through it, allowing them as well to update it as you go along. I think they’re all really valuable things, but the visuality of it really helps.

Randy Silver:
So Simon, you’ve talked about a lot of different things that go into the maps and I’m curious, is it just person A did this, then person B did that? What other kinds of information do you capture? Do you capture duration? Who’s the actors in the steps? What their moods are? What’s important to help communicate the real insights?

Simon Wilson:
Yeah. So you always start with a basic journey of, these are the steps someone will go through in a journey, and it’s always your starting point. The stuff you add on top of that would be stuff like time, duration, delays, and stuff like that, but I mean you’d only add that as an embellishment afterwards. It’s always about, I always think of it like if you were to ask someone to show a map of England, draw a map of England and share where Liverpool and Grimsby are, they’d easily be able to, as long as they know the geography of Britain, put Liverpool on the left hand side of a piece of paper and Grimsby on the right-hand side.

Simon Wilson:
If you were to ask them about, what’s in the middle? I’m sure they’d be able to put somewhere like Sheffield and Manchester and Leeds and places like that as well. I think that’s it, those are the general sites. I think it gets a lot more interesting when we ask people to say what other paths they would take. So if I wanted to get from Liverpool to Grimsby, the roads I would generally go along would be the ones, the main motorways that go into that. But if I zoom in, what I find is that around tea-time, for example, around Leeds if I was doing that, the motorway gets really, really busy. So you start to understand there’s loads of little roads off the back of that that I could take.

Simon Wilson:
Those back roads, those are like the additional details I think that you add, as you start to zoom in, once you start to add things like time, and once you start to add things like the services and the channels that an organisation has, those are the details that you start to get into there. And time, for me, is the biggest player in this. I think a lot of work that people do misses it out. As someone going through a journey, my experience is based on one forward movement, which is time, that’s my relationship with any service. So if at any point I have a delay and I’m not expecting that, that feels like a pain point.

Simon Wilson:
A really common example is, you all do two-factor authentication, don’t you? And yeah, it’ll say, “I’m sending you a text message,” and there’s been times when I’ve been waiting like three minutes and I’ve probably hit resend code three or four times. That’s a big pain point in a service for that as well. And I’d want to note that down. In some cases like that, that will be because of a technological issue. That’s not because of a situation I’m going through.

Simon Wilson:
Sometimes there are other things around that that delay service as well. So I had a blood test last week. That’s a service and I’m not a medical professional and I need the help of a medical professional. So I went for a blood test and if I’d gone for that blood test on the Tuesday, I would’ve got the results on the Wednesday and have had a chat with my doctor on the Wednesday, but because I went on a Friday and they don’t work on the Saturday and Sunday, on the Monday when I get the test results back and that’s when I get the thing.

Simon Wilson:
So, if I was doing a map, I would consider that in some way, this organisation does not work on a Saturday and Sunday, so you need to factor that in. Working days is how an organisation will think itself, but to me as a person, that’s two days of waiting that I’ve got to factor into that. And I think those are the human sides of journeys that I’d want to embellish onto a service map onto someone’s journey.

Randy Silver:
You’re making me feel very old Simon, because you started talking about the delay of three minutes for two factor. And yes, I totally have gotten frustrated with that as well, but all of a sudden I flashed back to being a kid and having to send a self-addressed stamped envelope and wait six weeks. Now I feel like just shouting get off my lawn and things like that.

Randy Silver:
Anyway, totally moving on. We think we have time for one more question. And so we’ve talked a lot about maps and the information that goes onto it. And you also talked a lot about communicating the information and pulling out things and how you shared and give people walk through and pull things out. I’m curious, in the end, what is the most important thing? Is it the map itself? Is it the artefact? Or is it the conversation that you have about the artefact?

Simon Wilson:
It’s definitely the conversation. One of my big fears around service design is people will talk about maps. And we were talking about this earlier. Maps for me are a thing that you use for movement. They help you to get to places. It’s about service designing. I feel that too much we use the maps just to basically reflect our current situation. What we should be doing is using those maps as a catalyst for conversation to work out what it is we need to do and then, this is it for me, this is the other half of the work, we then get on and do that work.

Simon Wilson:
I think a lot of the stuff that comes up with service design is too much in the research and analysis area. And it needs to move on to use the maps to show how we can do movement. And [inaudible 00:33:11] maps for me are a really great example of that. You can show, this is where something currently is, this is where we want to move something towards. And I think service maps should be a part of that.

Simon Wilson:
As a service designer, more people need to be doing more of that designing. We’ve recognised a problem, what are we going to do to help make that problem work? And that catalyst for conversation is then, you get the right people together, or the best people you can get together to recognise, what can we do to change this situation? And then get on doing the designing, but also get on with solving that problem really. So, maps push us to do better. They’re not just there as an artefact to reflect a situation. They’re just a starting point.

Randy Silver:
Fantastic. Simon, thank you so much for everything. Lily, you were going to do that part. Sorry, I’ll let you. I’m going to shut up.

Lily Smith:
And that is the quote of the episode. Thank you very much, Simon. It’s been so nice talking to you this evening. You can say thank you too, if you like.

Simon Wilson:
Oh, do you want me to say thank you? Yeah, thank you. I’m not saying thanks to Randy though.

Randy Silver:
Story of my life. This is what it was like working with him all the time.

Lily Smith:
[inaudible 00:34:25].

Lily Smith:
So much information in that episode, but all of it very inspiring and it’s definitely making me want to dust off my Sharpies and my post-it notes and get drawing.

Randy Silver:
Yeah, I actually had whiteboard cravings during that conversation. Is that weird? It’s been a while since I sat with the team around a board plotting stuff out, and I miss it.

Lily Smith:
Me too. And I can’t believe you’re craving whiteboards, but that’s okay. I have one big question for our listeners today. Has this episode made an impact on you? And will you do anything new or different as a result of listening?

Randy Silver:
Lily, that’s two questions, but yeah, it would be great to know if we’re having a positive impact on your work. Do let us know. You can get us on Twitter, you can get us all over the place, and we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, we’ll see you next week.

Lily Smith:
Our hosts are me, Lily Smith and…

Randy Silver:
Me, Randy Silver.

Lily Smith:
Emily Tate is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor.

Randy Silver:
Our theme music is from Humbard Baseband Pau. That’s P-A-U. Thanks to Arne Kittler, who runs ProductTank and MTP Engage in Hamburg and plays bass in the band, for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via ProductTank, or regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide.

Lily Smith:
If there’s not one near you, you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more, go to mindtheproduct.com/producttank.

Randy Silver:
ProductTank is a global community of meetups driven by and for product people. We offer expert talks, group discussion, and a safe environment for product people to come together and share [inaudible 00:36:22] and tips.

Using maps as part of discovery - Simon Wilson [buzzsprout episode='8711788' player='true'] We all know that discovery is important — but how it's done is just as critical. Randy had the chance to collaborate with service design consultant Simon Wilson on a project recently, where mapping formed the basis for much of the discovery work. We invited Simon onto the podcast to talk about this approach. Featured Links: Follow Simon on LinkedIn and Twitter|Simon's Website|Learn the Wardley Mapping Strategy|Sarah Drummond feature 'What Is Service Design?' Discover more: Visit The Product Experience homepage for more episodes.

Episode transcript

Randy Silver: Hey Lily. It's half-term here in the UK. The schools are going on holiday and lockdown has eased up a bunch. Are you going to get a chance to leave the house? Lily Smith: Absolutely. Yes. We are going away for a few days and I cannot wait. How about you? Randy Silver: Well, by the time people actually hear this episode, I'll be away somewhere where there's no internet for 10 days in Scotland. I mean, they have internet in Scotland, just there's no real reception where we're going to be. Lily Smith: Nice. So, how are you going to get there? Randy Silver: Well, we're driving. And as I've never been there, we need a map. Lily Smith: Oh, I see what you did there. That's very old school using a map, but anyway, you're discovering a new place and you're using a map to guide you, kind of like how today's guest approaches things. We've got service design consultant extraordinaire, Simon Wilson, telling us how he uses mapping as a core part of his work. Randy Silver: Yeah. I was lucky enough to do a project with Simon last year and I loved this approach. So no more blathering, let's get right to it. Lily Smith: The Product Experience is brought to you by Mind The Product. Randy Silver: Every week we talk to the best product people from around the globe about how we can improve our practise and build products that people love. Lily Smith: Visit mindtheproduct.com to catch up on past episodes and to discover an extensive library of great content and videos. Randy Silver: Browse for free, or become a Mind The Product member to unlock premium articles, unseen videos, AMAs, round tables, discount store conferences around the world, training opportunities, and more. Lily Smith: Mind The Product also offers free product tank meetups in more than 200 cities, and there's probably one near you. Randy Silver: Simon, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. Simon Wilson: Oh, thanks. Hi Randy. Thanks for having me. Thanks as well, Lily. Randy Silver: So for anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to work with you or talk to you or more just hang out with you, can you give us a quick intro, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you're doing these days, and how you got into this entire product racket? Simon Wilson: Oh God. Yeah. So at the moment I'm working for a government department, I'm a service design consultant. So I'm working for the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, which is a mouthful and the acronym, because there's always an acronym, it's a government department. Whenever I say it, people just look at me and think it's a pharmaceutical company or something. So if I ever say, MHCLG, I don't work for big pharma, I work for a government department. And it's the department that's supposed to be about place, so it looks at housing, how we can make new houses, it looks at communities, the places where we live as people, and then local government as well, so councils and stuff like that all come under its remit. Simon Wilson: I've been doing service design as a job maybe full time, dedicated since about 2014. And I mean my journey into this is, I won't bore you with all the details, but in the first 10 years of this century, it makes it sound like so much longer ago, doesn't it? I've worked- Randy Silver: Man and boy. Simon Wilson: Oh, yeah. Look at you with your English references. You feel like you're naturalised. For the first nine years or so of this decade, I worked at a design and communications agency and back then, they just all was just about making websites. UX, user experience, was quite a young discipline at the time. But I worked in a place where they really valued the ideas of design, but also effective communications as well. So it's nice to be in a place where I think a lot of the stuff that we look for, like understanding how something works, the performance or something, I learned a lot of that in probably a side avenue. Simon Wilson: And when I left there after about nine years, I knew a lot about UX, but again, there weren't a lot of opportunities out there. So I spent a couple of years in the wilderness as a project manager because you got to pay the bills, haven't you? And if you like spreadsheets, then welcome to the world of project management. So a couple of years doing that, but it also gave me an opportunity to look around and read a lot, self-develop. Simon Wilson: And around that time, about 2010, we'd launched, because back then you launched websites. It's not [inaudible 00:04:36] you just do a release and then we're continually iterating. There was a big launch for a leading housing developer here in the UK. And I toured the country, I spent two weeks going around the country, going to all their different regions and talking to their sales people there. And the salespeople were talking to me about how service, the service they offered, wasn't just the buildings, but talking to customers, actually spending time with them, understanding what were pain points, putting them in touch with local solicitors, stuff like that, how that provided the better service. Simon Wilson: And around the same time in Leeds, there was these regular meetings around service design which Matt Edgar and Catherine Grace were running. I went along to those and I felt like, I know a lot of this stuff, I've just been doing it in different places. So for the next couple of years I had a couple of bigger roles at agencies. There were projects I worked on where we were starting to tap into this. We were doing "UX" jobs, but we were really also crossing, how can we use the web to make the business better? Make the customer experience better? So you're into customer experience. Simon Wilson: And just from there, I've just really focused on that and been doing my own thing since 2014. And I've been, I think, really lucky that I've had lots of opportunities where, one, I've learned from those as well. I think two, they've not been easy either. I think there's been difficult stuff within that. And three is, I mean, we all say it's an emergent discipline now, but service design does go back a long time. I think it's just the popularity and uptake of it there at the moment as well. Simon Wilson: So I think, although I feel like I've been doing it a long time, to say I've only been focused on it for six years or so, it's difficult to place yourself as being an elder statesman. I think I would never say that, but I think I do have a lot of experience about a lot of stuff, like how you knit the experience of a customer or a service user to the business side of it, which I think is a big missing chunk within that. And I've got that from my earlier experience in agencies at the start of the century. So, it's just a nice where I floated to, to be honest. I didn't plan it much. Randy Silver: I've got to say, well done on getting the acronym MHCLG out, because we actually worked together on a project late last year and you told me you were going to go work with them and you could not get that acronym straight for the first two weeks. So, well done. Simon Wilson: Yeah. I need to admit, I still have it on a post-it on my monitor though. So when people say, I do, I look down and I can get it, I can get it, but I always look at it just to make sure I've got it right. Randy Silver: Okay. But the reason we asked you on today was actually stemmed from that project we did, because we were doing a lot of discovery work. And with your service design background, you came to it with a different perspective than I'd seen before where you used mapping as one of the core parts of it. So, how did you get started with mapping? Is that just part and parcel with service design? Or was that an element of it that you just gravitated towards? Simon Wilson: So mapping, I think service design is generally seen as the mapping thing, isn't it? But mapping isn't exclusively a service design thing. There's lots of management stuff that I've done and I've read about as well. And you use mapping to understand the trajectory of your company, where we're going to go. You do it, you use mapping for strategic reasons really. I think one of the things that service design brings really strongly is that using mapping as a tool allows you to tangibly bring together and show the whole range of different things. Simon Wilson: So when we worked together, Randy, I think one of the first things we said, "We want to understand the organisation, don't we? What's the best way of doing that?" Well, different people work in different ways, but the most common approach to getting everyone in the same place is to do something that's visual, and that's clear as well in that visuality that allows people to, one, look at it and understand, two, see what's missing, what needs to be changed, and three, just add to it as well. And I think one of the things that I really like about mapping, it's not the only service design thing, I think it's just a perfect collaborative tool. Simon Wilson: And also, maps are a thing that as humans, we've used for, well for all eternity. Finding our sense of place, he says as a person working at the department for place, but knowing where we are and where we're going, I think a strong compulsion that we have as people, isn't it? It's like, "Oh, I'm going to go out for the weekend." Where are you going to go? How are you going to get there? You look at a map. Some people are really into planning their careers, how are they going to do that? They'll have the whole thing mapped out. Simon Wilson: I think it's quite a human thing to use maps as, one, a planning tool, but to get to that degree where you're planning, you've got to have that cartography mapped out in the way you look at that landscape. So I think using mapping when we were working on that project together just instantly felt like as well a great way for me and you to just start working together, get something down together, talk about something. And it's not a particularly alien concept as well. I think it's a great balancer, it's a great leveller. And I think as well you can have a little bit of, I'm going to say this, I don't say it often, I think you can have a little bit of fun while you're doing it as well. Lily Smith: So, when you come up to a project or a thing that you're attacking at work and you're like, "Right, I need to map this out," how do you decide how you're going to map it out and what information needs to go down? Simon Wilson: Yeah. This is the bit where the pregnant pause comes in that we have to edit out later. I read this question earlier and usually you have a discussion with a client around this sort of stuff and you understand where it is. So when I'm going to be looking at what we want to map, I think one of the key points there is the trying to understand, what's the problem that we've got in front of us? I think usually in my experience, I go into organisations and businesses where they have an idea of there's a problem or there's a situation. So, that sort of stuff is like, we've got a modernization programme or we want to do some digital transformation. Simon Wilson: This is sounding like he works for Deloitte for a second, but I think you start by getting something down, but I think what I always try and look for is the thing about the mapping in a service design approach is we're trying to put the customers or the users of the service, we're trying to bring them forward into people's thoughts. And I'm going to balance this in another way. If I went back maybe 10 years ago, there were decisions that were made on some of the projects I worked on where we'd done research and we were getting strong pressure from powers above in an organisation. They were designing it effectively. Simon Wilson: I think you jump forward 10 years now, there's a definite stronger understanding that out there it's a market. The better services, the services that work better for the people who use them, that help them better, all these other positive affirmations, they're the ones that work better and they will draw people more to it. Simon Wilson: I remember saying four or five years ago on a stage, I think we were just about to enter I think a key first five years of services and we were starting to gain traction and you could see a number of companies realising that providing a better service would actually be their USP in some way and they would be able to use that in some way to market that. I mean, you look at what BT are doing now. BT are really, really going for it. They're really looking at how service design can just change their whole organisation, not just change a little arm fit. And I think that, I mean, I would've that'd be there in another five years' time, but to have an organisation that size that technically does provide public services, it's not a government service, but provides public services, that for me sets an interesting [inaudible 00:12:45]. Simon Wilson: And you hear stories of how bringing this thinking and bringing this approach to work, I've heard electricity companies spinning little teams up and saying, "What if we were to redo our dashboard for customers?" They go and just start right back at the beginning so, "Let's understand our customers. Let's understand who our customers could potentially be as well. And let's understand the journeys that they go through in their lives and where we would complement that and where we would supplement that." I think bringing that straight away to the fore really helps. Simon Wilson: When Randy and I worked together, to move quickly we spoke to some of the staff that actually were at the front line, that were on the phones, that were manning the emails, and we said to them, "Talk to us about the people that come to you, tell us what works for them, and also tell us what doesn't work for them." And it's easy to distil off the back of that a user journey and understand where the organisation is succeeding, but also where the organisation could be better as well. Simon Wilson: And you start to then peel back the layers of the organisation as well. You want to understand things like the organisation, what's its approach? What's its tone? All organisations have a tone. It's usually representing in the brand. It's a reflective brand. What's the structure of the organisation? Is it flat? Is it dictator led? What are the people like within there? Is there biases? Is there equality? Are there business goals, for example?" Is it actually this arm of the business that we're looking at actually has to increase its profit and off the back of that, we need to.... Simon Wilson: That financial side of it is a big part of it. What can we do to make the service we're working on sustainable financially, but also capability wise? Do we have the people with the right skills? Do we need to bring in the people with the right skills as well? And then looking further field, because I've used the word sustainability, what does it actually take to run this service in terms of resources? And I don't mean that in a people sense, but in terms of electricity, servers, what's the cost on the environment? All these sort of other things. Lily Smith: So, that's an awful lot of questions and information to get into one map, just thinking about the where to get started. Randy Silver: See Lily, this is why he's a consultant. He's able to make it sound like it's really complicated and we need him for a long time. Simon Wilson: Usually I'm only there for two or three months, but I always go out to [inaudible 00:15:20] first thing is it's like, if you can only do one thing, go and speak to front line staff and understand the things that work and the things that don't work, speak to them. And I always feel like that's the best place to start because off the back of that, you can then start to build out the successes and the failures of the organisation, and you can start to piece together, I think some user journeys. I think with those two components, I think it's a really compulsive start to start building all these other layers around it as well, and you're not going to solve it all in one day. But I think once you get a really strong thread off the back of those conversations, get that sort of understanding, you can draw more people into the conversation, you can start building more around it. Lily Smith: Are you struggling to find the answers to your product questions, keen to learn from others in the community, and want to know where to go next in your career? Mind The Product can help. Randy Silver: Mind The Product Membership will help you to level up your career, build better products, and lead successful product teams. And as the world's largest professional network for product people with decades of product management experience, you won't find this anywhere else. Lily Smith: As a member, you'll get exclusive access to premium editorial, product experts, and product peers tackling similar challenges, plus brand new, self-paced online training modules that cover core product skills like goals alignment, prioritisation, hypotheses, and testing, and more. Randy Silver: For more info and to become a member today, visit mindtheproduct.com/join. Lily Smith: So, should you be doing that with the rest of your team or on your own? Or who should be finding that information from the front line staff or from whoever and how do you then get it into a visualisation? Simon Wilson: Yeah. First thing is to just go and speak to people. I always find whenever I join somewhere, you'll have someone who's an ally, it's the person who you'll turn to them and say like, "We need to talk to some people who deal with customers, who deal with users, who are the best people to talk to?" And they will always have someone they point you to, they'll either point you to like, "This is the Head of our Customer Service Team." It could be that they point to, "I know the three people in the team that does that." They'll always give you that first point, and it's not a case of, I'll just talk to that one person, that's it. I think you need to talk to several people, get that stuff down. Simon Wilson: At the moment being remote, like we are, actually has its advantages because we can arrange chats through video and through phone a lot easier. We can use digital canvases. I know we all say we're sick of them, but the thing is that the work I've been doing recently has been incredibly sped up by that. It's easier to put a video appointment into someone's calendar or the same into mine. We can do a canvas on screen when we can do that sort of thing. The visual side of it, I sometimes worry about the post-it-ization of our sector really. I think at the very least, using digital tools has reduced our horrible scruffy handwriting down, so we're actually reducing it using genuinely nice fonts on these canvases. Simon Wilson: But depending on how much time you've got, you can start to dig into, not just journeys and visualising them using pictures if we can do that. I mean, working with councils, they usually have stock pictures that you can bring out if you want to do that. Illustrating's a really good example of doing that as well. But for most places, most people I talk to, just creating a left to right journey where you'll show some journey stages. So, usually you start with someone wants to, they're looking for something, they discover your service, they choose to do your service, there's that engagement, you'll follow that way through. Simon Wilson: It might be that you lay on top of that, there's some sort of phases within that to group together some of those journey stages. It might be that you had 18 journey stages and you can represent those in five or six, which makes it a little bit easier to pull down. And then I'd always supplement that underneath that with, what's the customer experience at each of those stages as well? If someone is going through this journey, what can we do to embellish that with real-life stories off the back of that? Simon Wilson: I'd always want to, if we've got a chance, speak to some of the people using the service as well. I mean, that's always got to be the goal to doing it. So talking to front line staff is definitely the first stage and you want to find those doors that they can open where, can they put us in touch with some customers? It might be that the next time that they're talking to some customers on the phone, could we actually plant a couple of questions for them to ask as well? Step back a little bit, is there a possibility that we could actually go to someone within the organisation and find out if we've got any relationships with any potential users or customers as well? Simon Wilson: And the other side to that is that engaging some wider recruitment. So, cast the net out or engage with a recruitment company to bring it in. But I think once you've got that very sketchy, those phases, those stages, and you've got some experiences that have been passed to you by the front line staff, I think then you're in a position where you can start seeing, right now we want to keep building around this. And yeah, you just keep going down and down and down to the point where you start organising stuff and saying like, "We've spoken to 10 people and at this point of the journey, they're hitting this problem." And you'd pull that out and say, "There's an opportunity there for us to explore something." And you go through the whole thing. Simon Wilson: To flip it as well, because I do think you should talk about the things that are working, because it helps you prioritise what you want to focus on and not focus on. This thing over here is really working. What's that? It's an email, that's working at the moment. Well, that's fine, let's leave that over there for the time being. I think it helps you work through what are the actual problems you need to solve? And I think within that is also gives you the opportunity to do some analysis, to break down, if we were to solve this problem, what would be the advantages? And I think that goes into some of the business and organisational structure stuff I was saying before. Sometimes we look at a problem and say, "That's the most important problem to solve," but because of business reasons, it might be there's a huge cost against it, we can't do that straight away. But then that's the point where the whole map becomes a tool that the team uses together to work through what they need to do, what they can do, and what they should do. Randy Silver: Okay. You've shared an awful lot, Si. So I'm going to try and ring you back in, and let's just tackle some of this in a slightly simpler way, because you talked about customers, talking to customers, talking to staff, and looking at lots of other things. Where do you start? You said you probably start with talking to staff maybe, but how many staff? How many people do you need to talk to? How deep do you go into this? How many personas do you create? Let's try and do some of the simple starting points at the end, the overall ethos. Simon Wilson: Depends on the size of the organisation. And it depends on your focus. If we were going in to work at a council and they had a service and there was a team of say, five staff within that team and they were all customer facing, then I'd start with just those five staff and I'd go no further than that, because why would we go any further? That's a clear barrier around that. Simon Wilson: Always start small. I don't think there's anything where you'd want to go really, really wide, but I think one of the things around discoveries you want to do, and I say this in a vague way, you want to do just enough research where you understand not just the good stuff, but I think you've got to understand the scope and shape of the problem and the risks associated with those. Simon Wilson: I think you're only in a position where you can say you understand enough when one, you understand the problem, two, you understand who that problem affects, three, you understand how that problem affects the organisation, and I think four, you understand the risks that are associated with those problems as well. And I think they would be my four main criteria for anything. Lily Smith: And what about... I've got so many questions, but I'm just going to ask this one. So actually I'm going to ask two at the same time. So firstly, it sounds like such a detailed lengthy process. I mean, I guess it probably depends as well, but how long does it really need to take to go from nothing to a useful map with stuff that you can use on it? And then also, once you have that, how do you share it with other interested parties in the business? Do you just pull out the information that you need or is there value in sharing the whole thing in its entirety and walking people through all of that? Simon Wilson: Yeah. So, I always view a map that feels it tells enough of a narrative is where you get to. And I feel that, particularly on small to medium-sized services, I generally think you could do that in a week as a starting point. I think there are times when, if you have the "right people" in the room, you could do that in a day or two. With a focus, no distractions, you could do that, because it's a case of working through the stages that a user go through. You want to just peel that through. You can make it a collaborative experience where every hour you're just adding to it, you're adding to it, and you're adding to it. And then having some reflection on the second day, and then again, going through like, "Have we missed anything? Is anything wants to embellish off the back of it?" Simon Wilson: I generally feel that the thing that stops the most progress is that we'll have those conversations a bit over here and a bit over here and a bit over here. Design sprints have their pros and cons, but I think one of the things they do allow is they give people a focus, don't they? And they remove a lot of the distractions. And I think if you were to have a go at doing a service map is get people that represent different parts of the service in the same room. Simon Wilson: And I think you could do that with five or six people. Say to everyone that there's no stupid questions here, everyone can contribute to this, and just allow people to put stuff through. I've been in situations where the most empowered people are the people who sit at their desks usually, not the managers, because they're having an opportunity to share their experiences, which are actually the experiences we want to draw out. Simon Wilson: On sharing it, I would always look to pull out some sort of summary. Okay? I think it's like, if you really wanted to learn about a subject, you'd read a thin book and then if you really liked it, you'd find a thicker book. And my map, the map that we've all done, that's the thicker book. I think you need to pull out some analysis and some slides off the back of it that get people that top line view. And in that you'd probably want to include some little grabs of, "These are some things that we spiked in the map," and then you'd link off to it. And again, it goes back to the thing, people are more used, particularly after the past year of getting access to these things, IT departments have lowered restrictions so people can get access to things like [inaudible 00:27:06] as well. Simon Wilson: So, those things are there. I think the thing that gets missed a little bit is taking people through the map, rather than just linking them through to it is, yeah, if they're curious, link them to it, but follow it up with like, "Right, we're going to have a walk through of this as well." I think that's a harder thing to do digitally strangely, because if you'd go back our own offices, we would have printed it out on a plotter or something, or it would be a big sheet of brown paper with post-its, and we'd just start on the left and work our way through. Simon Wilson: So I think that's definitely one of the more tiring things that we do is walk people through, but it's like anything, it's like if you were going to show someone some advertising campaign you'd worked on, anything like that, the context of what you're doing and providing your commentary and allowing people to ask questions as they're going through it, allowing them as well to update it as you go along. I think they're all really valuable things, but the visuality of it really helps. Randy Silver: So Simon, you've talked about a lot of different things that go into the maps and I'm curious, is it just person A did this, then person B did that? What other kinds of information do you capture? Do you capture duration? Who's the actors in the steps? What their moods are? What's important to help communicate the real insights? Simon Wilson: Yeah. So you always start with a basic journey of, these are the steps someone will go through in a journey, and it's always your starting point. The stuff you add on top of that would be stuff like time, duration, delays, and stuff like that, but I mean you'd only add that as an embellishment afterwards. It's always about, I always think of it like if you were to ask someone to show a map of England, draw a map of England and share where Liverpool and Grimsby are, they'd easily be able to, as long as they know the geography of Britain, put Liverpool on the left hand side of a piece of paper and Grimsby on the right-hand side. Simon Wilson: If you were to ask them about, what's in the middle? I'm sure they'd be able to put somewhere like Sheffield and Manchester and Leeds and places like that as well. I think that's it, those are the general sites. I think it gets a lot more interesting when we ask people to say what other paths they would take. So if I wanted to get from Liverpool to Grimsby, the roads I would generally go along would be the ones, the main motorways that go into that. But if I zoom in, what I find is that around tea-time, for example, around Leeds if I was doing that, the motorway gets really, really busy. So you start to understand there's loads of little roads off the back of that that I could take. Simon Wilson: Those back roads, those are like the additional details I think that you add, as you start to zoom in, once you start to add things like time, and once you start to add things like the services and the channels that an organisation has, those are the details that you start to get into there. And time, for me, is the biggest player in this. I think a lot of work that people do misses it out. As someone going through a journey, my experience is based on one forward movement, which is time, that's my relationship with any service. So if at any point I have a delay and I'm not expecting that, that feels like a pain point. Simon Wilson: A really common example is, you all do two-factor authentication, don't you? And yeah, it'll say, "I'm sending you a text message," and there's been times when I've been waiting like three minutes and I've probably hit resend code three or four times. That's a big pain point in a service for that as well. And I'd want to note that down. In some cases like that, that will be because of a technological issue. That's not because of a situation I'm going through. Simon Wilson: Sometimes there are other things around that that delay service as well. So I had a blood test last week. That's a service and I'm not a medical professional and I need the help of a medical professional. So I went for a blood test and if I'd gone for that blood test on the Tuesday, I would've got the results on the Wednesday and have had a chat with my doctor on the Wednesday, but because I went on a Friday and they don't work on the Saturday and Sunday, on the Monday when I get the test results back and that's when I get the thing. Simon Wilson: So, if I was doing a map, I would consider that in some way, this organisation does not work on a Saturday and Sunday, so you need to factor that in. Working days is how an organisation will think itself, but to me as a person, that's two days of waiting that I've got to factor into that. And I think those are the human sides of journeys that I'd want to embellish onto a service map onto someone's journey. Randy Silver: You're making me feel very old Simon, because you started talking about the delay of three minutes for two factor. And yes, I totally have gotten frustrated with that as well, but all of a sudden I flashed back to being a kid and having to send a self-addressed stamped envelope and wait six weeks. Now I feel like just shouting get off my lawn and things like that. Randy Silver: Anyway, totally moving on. We think we have time for one more question. And so we've talked a lot about maps and the information that goes onto it. And you also talked a lot about communicating the information and pulling out things and how you shared and give people walk through and pull things out. I'm curious, in the end, what is the most important thing? Is it the map itself? Is it the artefact? Or is it the conversation that you have about the artefact? Simon Wilson: It's definitely the conversation. One of my big fears around service design is people will talk about maps. And we were talking about this earlier. Maps for me are a thing that you use for movement. They help you to get to places. It's about service designing. I feel that too much we use the maps just to basically reflect our current situation. What we should be doing is using those maps as a catalyst for conversation to work out what it is we need to do and then, this is it for me, this is the other half of the work, we then get on and do that work. Simon Wilson: I think a lot of the stuff that comes up with service design is too much in the research and analysis area. And it needs to move on to use the maps to show how we can do movement. And [inaudible 00:33:11] maps for me are a really great example of that. You can show, this is where something currently is, this is where we want to move something towards. And I think service maps should be a part of that. Simon Wilson: As a service designer, more people need to be doing more of that designing. We've recognised a problem, what are we going to do to help make that problem work? And that catalyst for conversation is then, you get the right people together, or the best people you can get together to recognise, what can we do to change this situation? And then get on doing the designing, but also get on with solving that problem really. So, maps push us to do better. They're not just there as an artefact to reflect a situation. They're just a starting point. Randy Silver: Fantastic. Simon, thank you so much for everything. Lily, you were going to do that part. Sorry, I'll let you. I'm going to shut up. Lily Smith: And that is the quote of the episode. Thank you very much, Simon. It's been so nice talking to you this evening. You can say thank you too, if you like. Simon Wilson: Oh, do you want me to say thank you? Yeah, thank you. I'm not saying thanks to Randy though. Randy Silver: Story of my life. This is what it was like working with him all the time. Lily Smith: [inaudible 00:34:25]. Lily Smith: So much information in that episode, but all of it very inspiring and it's definitely making me want to dust off my Sharpies and my post-it notes and get drawing. Randy Silver: Yeah, I actually had whiteboard cravings during that conversation. Is that weird? It's been a while since I sat with the team around a board plotting stuff out, and I miss it. Lily Smith: Me too. And I can't believe you're craving whiteboards, but that's okay. I have one big question for our listeners today. Has this episode made an impact on you? And will you do anything new or different as a result of listening? Randy Silver: Lily, that's two questions, but yeah, it would be great to know if we're having a positive impact on your work. Do let us know. You can get us on Twitter, you can get us all over the place, and we'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, we'll see you next week. Lily Smith: Our hosts are me, Lily Smith and... Randy Silver: Me, Randy Silver. Lily Smith: Emily Tate is our producer and Luke Smith is our editor. Randy Silver: Our theme music is from Humbard Baseband Pau. That’s P-A-U. Thanks to Arne Kittler, who runs ProductTank and MTP Engage in Hamburg and plays bass in the band, for letting us use their music. Connect with your local product community via ProductTank, or regular free meetups in over 200 cities worldwide. Lily Smith: If there's not one near you, you can consider starting one yourself. To find out more, go to mindtheproduct.com/producttank. Randy Silver: ProductTank is a global community of meetups driven by and for product people. We offer expert talks, group discussion, and a safe environment for product people to come together and share [inaudible 00:36:22] and tips.