The respective “flight altitude” with which you consider an aspect of your service design is also decisive. Who doesn’t know this: You come to a kick-off meeting and the CEO gives a monologue about how important the project is and that we absolutely need an app. And suddenly a design screenshot flickers on the wall that someone from marketing has painted. And we service designers sit there and ask ourselves: “How do we know that an app is really the key to success?”

Many companies are feature-driven through and through. Before thinking about what the customer needs are and what business goals are being pursued, they all have very concrete ideas for features and details. This has been proven to lead to inefficient projects and moderately successful results.

Now imagine you would talk to an architect about your future house and want to talk about the color of the doors before it is even clear how the house should look like. He or she would raise an eyebrow and listen out of decency, but then quickly explain that maybe you should talk about the floor plan first. One of the most important conceptual principles in architecture is thinking in scale. The design process begins with the discussion in the urban planning context. On this small scale, the issues are reduced to the abstract volumetry of the building. Iteratively, you work your way up to larger scales. This increases the level of detail and the questions change accordingly in their complexity. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

This way of thinking has inspired us to Lean Service Design. The canvases guide you step by step through the “standards” of the service design process. LSD does not ask for solutions when it is not clear what the customer needs or business goals are. Each canvas has a specific question, which is aimed at a certain scale. In the first two steps, “People” and “Purpose”, you deal with basic questions in a wide context. Through the Experience Flow, you move up to a more complex level of detail. And only in the Ideation phase solutions and features are first looked at.

In this way LSD ensures that the team is not distracted from the essential question by too detailed discussions. Therefore it is important to always bring the participants to the appropriate “flying altitude” (back) when working in a team. This is your task as service designers and moderators.