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Co-Creating through Conflict: The hidden power of service design

Co-Creating through Conflict: The hidden power of service design

Presented as closing keynote for the SDN Next Gen Conference, May 2023

In a world marked by complexity and division, we'll delve into how service design can bridge divides through co-creation. As service designers, we are facilitators, balancing the needs, interests, and motivations of diverse stakeholders. However, in our design practice we are not taught the skills to navigate this complex landscape of conflict. In this enlightening keynote, we'll explore how recognizing and embracing the inherent position of service design to mediate conflict can be the key to unlocking its hidden power. Our speaker will share how developing conflict mediation and facilitation skills can amplify the impact of our work and empower us to successfully engage diverse viewpoints in collaborative innovation. We’ll learn practical tips for accelerating the impact of our service design practice and embracing a human-centered toolkit that acknowledges the challenges of working with others. Join us as we uncover the transformative potential of service design for 2025 and beyond.

Megan Erin Miller

May 27, 2023
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  1. @meganerinmiller
    Co-Creating
    through Conflict
    Megan Erin Miller
    Senior Director of Service Design, Stanford University
    Co-Founder, Practical by Design
    @meganerinmiller
    The hidden power of
    service design
    SDN Next Gen Conference
    May 27, 2023

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    Being human has not
    changed, though the world
    around us has.
    3

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    Service design puts us in a
    position to mediate conflict
    5

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    What are the
    financial
    implications?
    This will cost
    too much…

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  14. @meganerinmiller 14
    It should be the
    city’s
    responsibility to
    address this…

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  15. @meganerinmiller 15
    It’s a consumer
    problem. We need
    better waste
    sorting…

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    Conflict

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    Service design requires
    engaging in complexity

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  19. @meganerinmiller 19
    Values
    Beliefs
    Identities
    Power
    Influence
    Motivations
    Interests
    Positions
    Personalities
    History

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  20. @meganerinmiller 20
    Values
    Beliefs
    Identities
    Power
    Influence
    Motivations
    Interests
    Positions
    Personalities
    History

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    Conflict is natural.
    21

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    The brain in conflict
    22
    Realistic threat
    Perceived threat
    triggers
    Fight, Flight,
    Freeze, Appease

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  23. @meganerinmiller
    Perceived threats
    23
    Symbolic threats
    Ingroup vs. outgroup
    Identity threat
    Stereotype threat
    Uncertainty
    Potential risk
    Inner critic

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  24. @meganerinmiller
    SCARF model
    24
    Status – our relative importance to others
    Certainty – our ability to predict the future
    Autonomy – our sense of control over events
    Relatedness – how safe we feel with others
    Fairness – perception of fair treatment
    I am valuable
    I feel certain
    I have a choice
    I belong
    I am treated fairly
    Source: ʻSCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating with and Influencing Othersʼ by David Rock (2008)

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  25. @meganerinmiller
    Conflict is present in any
    space there are people.
    25

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    Conflict is not
    inherently bad.
    26

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    Benefits of conflict
    27
    ✓ Encourages diverse perspectives
    ✓ Stimulates critical thinking
    ✓ Enhances creativity
    ✓ Promotes deeper understanding
    ✓ Strengthens decision making
    ✓ Builds stronger relationships

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  28. @meganerinmiller 28
    How conflict
    shows up in
    service design

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  29. 29
    Service design requires
    navigating levels of zoom
    🔎
    Business
    Strategy
    Service
    Strategy
    Service
    Experience
    User
    Experience Usability &
    Accessibility
    @meganerinmiller

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  30. 30
    Service design requires
    navigating levels of zoom
    🔎
    Business
    Strategy
    Service
    Strategy
    Service
    Experience
    User
    Experience Usability &
    Accessibility
    @meganerinmiller

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  31. 31
    Service design requires
    navigating levels of zoom
    🔎
    Business
    Strategy
    Service
    Strategy
    Service
    Experience
    User
    Experience Usability &
    Accessibility
    @meganerinmiller

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    Conflict scenarios in service design
    32
    Discovery Design Implementation
    User research Co-creation Decision-making

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    Discovery
    User research puts us in a position
    of mediation and advocacy
    between people in positions of
    power (sponsors), and those in
    positions of lesser power (the
    impacted audiences).

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  34. @meganerinmiller 34
    Design
    Co-creation brings diverse roles
    together and requires that we
    effectively facilitate through
    potentially conflicting needs and
    perspectives.

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  35. @meganerinmiller 35
    Implementation
    Decision-making during
    implementation is a negotiation
    between what we desire to create,
    and what is feasible to deliver. We
    become advocates for the service
    experience, negotiating with the
    sponsors on behalf of impacted
    audiences.

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  36. @meganerinmiller 36
    But how
    can conflict
    mediation
    help us?

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    @meganerinmiller

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    Service design is hard.

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    Embrace conflict
    in your practice

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    Build trust and shared
    understanding
    1

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    Building trust and shared understanding
    43

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    A team is not a group of
    people who work together.
    A team is a group of people
    who trust each other.
    — Simon Sinek

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    Trust is… choosing to risk making
    something you value vulnerable to
    another personʼs actions.
    45
    Source: ʻThe Thin Book of Trustʼ by Charles Feltman

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    Care
    Weʼre in this together, I have
    your interests in mind, as well
    as my own
    Reliability
    You can count on me to
    deliver what I promise
    Sincerity
    I mean what I say, say what I
    mean, and act accordingly
    Competence
    I know I can do this.
    I need to learn to do that.
    Source: ʻThe Thin Book of Trustʼ by Charles Feltman
    Four ways to build trust

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    Building trust in service design work
    ● Make time for understanding,
    connection, and relationships
    ● Participate in research
    ● Have them present the otherʼs
    viewpoint

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    Separate the people
    from the problem
    2

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    Separate the people from the problem
    Source: ʻGetting to Yesʼ by Fisher and Ury
    We must…
    This is…
    Positions
    Statements of where a person
    or organization stands
    Interests
    Underlying reasons, values or
    motivations that explain why
    someone takes a certain position

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    Separate the people from the problem

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    Separate the people from the problem
    Source: TRIP framework – Hocker & Willmot (2013)
    Topic
    Relationship
    Identity
    Process

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  52. @meganerinmiller 52
    Employ your design research toolkit
    Why?
    ● Inquiry
    ● Active listening
    ● Empathy
    ● Five Whyʼs
    ● Problem Tree Analysis

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    Design and facilitate the
    process like a mediator
    3

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    Design the process like a mediator
    1 Agree on approach and roles
    Gather points of view
    Identify issues and interests
    Develop options
    Evaluate options
    Create agreement
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    Project initiation
    Discovery
    Problem framing
    Ideation
    Testing, analysis
    Implementation plan

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  55. @meganerinmiller 55
    Facilitate like a mediator
    ● Do your homework
    ● Stay neutral
    ● Help all be seen and heard
    ● Use 1:1, small group settings
    ● Establish ground rules
    ● Lead with gracious authority

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    Leverage co-creation to
    bridge the divide
    4

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    Leverage co-creation to bridge the divide

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    You canʼt just framework your
    way out of conflict.
    59

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    Have courage
    to engage the
    whole human

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  64. @meganerinmiller
    Letʼs connect and
    grow together.
    Megan Erin Miller
    LinkedIn @meganerinmiller
    www.practicalbydesign.co

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