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My colleague Mandisa Makubalo recently talked about the opportunities of using service design principles to include more people and benefit from diversity and inclusion. This article is recap, adding more practical tips for any business seeking respectful, engagements with a diverse customer base.

Mandisa starts with a notable example of the opportunities lost when businesses fail to understand diversity or act inclusively. The power of this example is in its simplicity and Mandisa uses it to show how the business in question fell down at every stage of the design process:

The design process
With thanks to

Our networks like this model and support Mandisa’s premise. Matthew Daspher-Hughes told us:

Inclusivity has a positive bottom-line impact that even the bean counters cannot ignore. It is the route to avoiding group think, confirmation bias, and the acts of self-sabotaging idiocy that many boards are guilty of, purely because when you look around the board table everyone looks, thinks, and acts the same and comes from the same background. If you want a strong company: recruit and think inclusively.

We agreed understanding diversity and acting inclusively makes sense. We have a moral obligation and a responsibility to our employees and stakeholders to make the most of the commercial opportunities opened by inclusion.

To build inclusive services

You must set out to overcome biases and lack of understanding. We recommend three activities during the empathise stage:

  1. Create or update your customer avatars. Include every segment of your customer base and uncover key information about them (like which bank branch they use!). Look for biases and assumptions in your data, analysis and decision making.
  2. Go further into customer personas, building a full understanding of their jobs to be done, pains and gains. Again, look out for biases.
  3. Build a value proposition that recognises your customer, the value you can deliver and how they will reward you.
    (You can use an empathy map in place of the personas and value proposition, this shorter process is helpful when you have several segments or stakeholders in a business customer).

Armed with this understanding, you will enter the design process with a clear understanding of what your service must deliver.

Of course, all the tools we have mentioned work whether you are making incremental change or wholesale transformation. Choosing the right approach is key and if you are not sure, please look out for next month’s article.

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