International Journal of Design Vol.5 No.2 2011
S. Clatworthy
Use Context 5: Touch-point Addition or Removal
This challenges today’s situation by removing important touch-
points. Based upon the touch-point mapping, the main touch-
point at each stage of the service journey is removed, and idea
generation is used to find a better replacement. If it cannot be
replaced, then the team has gained a deeper understanding of the
touch-point’s importance and role. An alternative to this is to pick
a random card at each step of the service-journey and discuss
how it could be used to improve the service. We have added
some specific touch-points for this, such as "service integrated
into a product" or "smart phone". This can be a useful task in
many ways, particularly to help challenge today’s situation, which
might have deep historical roots and need updating.
Use Context 6: Forced Association to Create New
In this task, participants are asked to select random cards (two
or more) picked from the pack and then to use them to design
a service based only on the cards. Forced association is an idea
generation technique to force you away from logical thinking.
Doing this with the touch-point cards forces the team to break
with pre-conceived understanding. It’s a fun and challenging
way to look at touch-points and often unearths useful reflections
regarding a service.
Evaluation of the Touch-point Cards
The evaluation of the touch-point cards employed multiple
methods. This included semi-structured interviews with selected
workshop participants, discussion sessions with workshop
participants, and participative and non participative observation.
The questionnaires were filled out by workshop participants at
the conclusion of touch-point workshops in which the cards were
Evaluation of the toolkit took place during 2010, the final
year of the project. The toolkit has been utilised during five
workshops, each of a minimum three-hour duration. Participant
numbers in the workshops have varied from six people to 24
people. The evaluation data all relates to the final version of the
touch-point cards.
The interview guide was informed by observation of several
workshops combined with the insights gained from the literature
review of touch-points in service innovation. The questionnaire
was a standard questionnaire developed for the evaluation of the
AT-ONE workshops by the project team. It consisted of open
questions requesting information about positive and negative
aspects of
the workshop itself, and multiple choice questions
related to the innovation potential of the workshop at a project
level. These questions were developed from literature regarding
innovation metrics in companies (Perrin, 2002; Brusoni, Prencipe,
& Salter, 1998; Andrew, Haanæs, Michael, Sirkin, Taylor, 2008).
Furthermore, the questionnaire and interview guide drew on
discussions within the projects cross-disciplinary validation team.
Participants at the workshops were primarily project
participants in commercial service innovation projects at the
fuzzy front end of a project in the telecom field or within public
health services. Since these workshops have been at the fuzzy
front end of large innovation projects, the evaluation process has
not been able to follow the ideas and concepts from the workshops
through to market. However, a separate validation activity has
evaluated the effect that the AT-ONE workshops have had upon
participating organisations. This work is close to completion and
will be described in future articles.
The following section describes the evaluation of the cards
in relation to their intended function. Additionally, a finding is
described that relates to their tangibility and how the cards
afford cognitive and social support through cognitive-gestural
Assistance with Team Building in Cross
Functional Teams
Molin-Juustila (2006) discusses the five critical elements that
together create team cohesiveness during the fuzzy front end:
personality barriers, different cultural thought worlds, language
barriers, organisational responsibilities and physical barriers.
Similar elements are identified by Persson (2005) and Pei (2009).
Of these, the cards (used as part of collaborative workshops)
have had positive effects on four of these five elements. The fifth,
physical barriers due to geographical location, is not addressed by
co-located workshops.
It is difficult to distinguish between the role of the cards
themselves and the role of collaborative workshops in these
positive team building results. The cards assist with the reduction
of cultural thought worlds by giving a common context for
collaboration within a customer-centric service innovation
framework provided by the AT-ONE process. In terms of language
barriers, the toolkit establishes common terminology through
clearly defined tasks. Additionally, the use of images on the cards,
together with clear texts makes understanding of card content
unambiguous. Organisational responsibilities are a specific focus
for one of the tools, such that organisational roles for touch-point
development are specifically identified.
Comments from participants support the relevance of the
cards for team building.
They were reported to be “very useful as
a common point of reference” and that the participants “quickly
developed a common understanding” and that “the use of visual
tools simplified the process and created a common understanding
in the group.”
Analysis and Mapping
The cards were found to be effective when it comes to their
ability to assist the analysis and mapping of existing situations.
They were seen to assist the holistic understanding of a service
by allowing a visual overview of all touch-points along the
whole customer journey. They also allow the team to focus
upon individual touch-points. This seems to be aided by the
combination of clear images and texts which allows them to be