Design Thinking: From Shareholders To The 5 Why’s

Published on:

Though design thinking may imply more thought than physical action it offers a big toolbox for motivated entrepreneurs. Read more on how to implement it!

After reading about the Service Design Thinking, you got that it’s awesome but most perhaps you wonder what to do, what methods and techniques to use and how to become the Service Designer. After the book I came to the evident conclusion – “Nobody knows”. There is a bunch of different tools but no manual or clear guidelines. Everything is up to us. So let’s have a look through the Service Design Toolbox and decide what tools or their combination to use. So, here are the first eight techniques we have in our hands:

Stakeholders Map

This map is a visual and/or physical representation of different groups of people like customers, staff, partners, etc. and the relationships among them within the scope of the service. Firstly, you reveal the comprehensive list of the stakeholders with all their interests and motivations. Then you link these groups of stakeholders with regard to what their relationships are and how they interact. Consequently, you have a clear overview of different groups with similar pains and gains; you can cluster them and identify the most important or influential ones.

Shareholders map

Service Safaris

Safaris are one of the easiest ways of putting developers and marketers in the shoes of the customer. Safaris require going out and exploring examples of good and bad service experiences. To conduct the service safaris the limited number of tools is necessary. You only need to have something like a small camera or an audio recorder, a notebook or a tablet to fix the service experience, insights or inconveniences.


Shadowing puts the researchers in the lives of customers, salespeople, service desk clerks or other people important for the service to be provided. It allows them to stay unobtrusive and almost invisible for the sake of spotting the moments when the problem occurs or the customer is delighted with the service. Shadowing helps to develop a truly holistic overview of the service flow and the incongruences between what is said and what is done.


Customer Journey Maps

The customer journey map is the integral part of the service design as it provides a vivid and structured visualization of a customer experience of the service. The map presents the crucial service touch points and their relationships. Typically, the customer journey is multi-channel, time-based and highly personalized. It shall include not only the series of touch points but also the customer stories about the interests, motivations or simply why the interaction with the service shall take place.


Contextual Interviews

Contextual interviews shall be conducted in the real environment, in which the service takes place, with the major stakeholders. It’s crucial to be unobtrusive and make people feel comfortable while you are documenting or recording audio or video materials. The major benefit is to explore and probe the behaviour, figure out some specific details or insights, and gain an understanding of the physical or social service surrounding.

The 5 Whys

The principle of 5 Whys is well known in management and self-development. Moreover, it’s also applicable to the service design thinking as it helps to dig deeper into the problem or the symptoms of a user experience and find out the root cause. Limiting the problem-solving pathway to only 5 stages or questions prevents the process from losing the relevance but still provides the anticipated insights. The tactic behind the 5 Whys is to keep digging deeper into the underlying motivations for a specific action, behaviour or opinion and triggering each new question to the answer for the previous one.


Persona is a fictional profile of the target group of customers presenting their socio-demographic characteristics, shared interests and motivations. The most common way of creating personas is to collect as much as possible information about the real people, conduct the interviews or simply to take all the information from stakeholder map, shadowing and so on and so forth.

Expectation Maps

Making an expectation map involves the investigation and representation of what the customers want and expect when they interact with the service. It is a good diagnostic tool to enlighten the areas of a service in need of attention from a customer perspective. The more in-depth information you get and chart it, the better it is.


Before getting to the costly development of a new or improved service, low fidelity models are often used to prototype and test the ideas quickly and cheaply. The first eight tools presented above give you the possibility to investigate thoroughly the customer. Through the next tools we would dig deeper into the service environment. Let’s continue our investigation. See you in the next article.



Sharing is caring so please share this post. Thank you!